We Think We Want a King
Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.
The authorities that exist have been established by God... Everyone is under someone else’s authority. Everyone. This is what God has established. Some people use this passage to complain about God. They express it this way: How can a loving God put Hitler in power? But Hitler rose to power by the will of people. So did Obama. But, so did Reagan. That’s the thing. People have free will. If God had created robots to do his bidding then it would be God’s fault that Hitler was ever a leader. God gave everyone free will because he wants to be our Leader, and he wants us to want him to be our leader. But, very long ago one nation chose very unanimously for God NOT to be their Leader.
So all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah They said to him, “You are old, and your sons do not follow your ways; now appoint a king to lead us, such as all the other nations have.” But when they said, “Give us a king to lead us,” this displeased Samuel; so he prayed to the Lord. And the Lord told him: “Listen to all that the people are saying to you; it is not you they have rejected, but they have rejected me as their king. As they have done from the day I brought them up out of Egypt until this day, forsaking me and serving other gods, so they are doing to you. Now listen to them; but warn them solemnly and let them know what the king who will reign over them will claim as his rights.”
Samuel told all the words of the Lord to the people who were asking him for a king. He said, “This is what the king who will reign over you will claim as his rights: He will take your sons and make them serve with his chariots and horses, and they will run in front of his chariots. Some he will assign to be commanders of thousands and commanders of fifties, and others to plow his ground and reap his harvest, and still others to make weapons of war and equipment for his chariots. He will take your daughters to be perfumers and cooks and bakers. He will take the best of your fields and vineyards and olive groves and give them to his attendants. He will take a tenth of your grain and of your vintage and give it to his officials and attendants. Your male and female servants and the best of your cattle and donkeys he will take for his own use. He will take a tenth of your flocks, and you yourselves will become his slaves. When that day comes, you will cry out for relief from the king you have chosen, but the Lord will not answer you in that day.”
But the people refused to listen to Samuel. “No!” they said. “We want a king over us. Then we will be like all the other nations, with a king to lead us and to go out before us and fight our battles.” When Samuel heard all that the people said, he repeated it before the Lord. The Lord answered, “Listen to them and give them a king.”
(From 1 Samuel 8)
The neat thing about God is that he lets governments exist because that’s what people with free will freely choose. Ironically, these governments have only made these citizens less free. Thankfully, God has made a way for me to be free regardless of who’s in charge, and no one is able to take it away (Romans 8:38-39). And that freedom lasts literally forever and long after all the leaders of the world are long gone.
Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.
(2 Corinthians 3:17)
I find myself praying this all the time: Thank you for keeping me safe from other people’s free choices. Thank you for making me free in every way because of your Son. Thank you that no decision of action of a person can take away your love or salvation. Thank you for being my Leader. I love you so much and pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.