“Then all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah and said to him, “Look, you have grown old, and your sons do not walk in your ways. Now appoint us a king to judge us [and rule over us] like all the other nations.” But their demand displeased Samuel when they said, “Give us a king to judge and rule over us.” So Samuel prayed to the LORD. The LORD said to Samuel, “Listen to the voice of the people in regard to all that they say to you, for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me from being King over them. Like all the deeds which they have done since the day that I brought them up from Egypt even to this day—in that they have abandoned (rejected) Me and served other gods—so they are doing to you also. So now listen to their voice; only solemnly warn them and tell them the ways of the king who will reign over them.”
1 Samuel 8:4-9 AMP
Ever heard the phrase “be careful what you wish for?” Israel was about to walk into that trap. The grass always looks greener on the other side. We always think we’re missing out, when we have no idea what the consequences of our desires will cost. As believers in Jesus we have to weigh our human desires against God’s best for us. His yoke is easy and His burdens light. Sounds like an oxymoron? How can a yoke be easy and burden light?
We’ll get to that later. But Israel was about to learn some hard lessons about rejecting God as their King.
“The people served the LORD all the days of Joshua and all the days of the elders who outlived Joshua, who had seen all the great work of the LORD which He had done for Israel.
Also, all [the people of] that generation were gathered to their fathers [in death]; and another generation arose after them who did not know (recognize, understand) the LORD, nor even the work which He had done for Israel. Then the Israelites did evil in the sight of the LORD and worshiped and served the Baals, and they abandoned the LORD, the God of their fathers, who brought them out of the land of Egypt. They followed other gods from the gods of the peoples who were around them, and they bowed down to them, and offended and provoked the LORD to anger. So they abandoned the LORD and served Baal [the pagan god of the Canaanites] and the Ashtaroth.”
Judges 2:7, 10-13 AMP
If you follow the accounts from Judges 1-21 we read; “and Israel did evil in the eyes of the Lord.” Then the last verse of the final chapter we read these fateful words. “In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as they saw fit.” God, tried though He did, to raise up Judges to lead them back to Him, still they walked in open rebellion against Him. They had rejected every attempt by Jehovah to be their faithful King. People often blame God for their or the world’s predicament. But you can’t help people who refuse to change. For 91 years of punishment at the hands of their oppressors, Jehovah God gave them Eleven judges over a 296 year period, a period of undeserved rest. The evidence of God’s pure love and grace, because as soon as those judges died they reverted back to their sinful behavior. Don’t tell me God isn’t merciful! His grace abounds over our rebellion. (Romans 5:20) What a lopsided display of grace! 91 years of total disregard for God and His laws, compared to 296 years of mercy, provision and love. Truly, I’ve never known a love like His! So Samuel, feeling rejected, had no idea that this wasn’t about him.
God had been rejected by His people since the days of Adam and Eve. Israel was a continuation of the rejection. They’d cry out when the pressure was on, and faithful Jehovah would send deliverance. They wanted to be like the other nations, not realizing just how good they’ve had it. Sometimes God has to allow us to face the consequences of our decisions to help us realize how blessed we are. We have been rejecting Him in this nation for years now. Yet at the rate we’re going, eleven prophets couldn’t help us. We’d better be careful about what we’re hoping and praying for in this season. If the agenda rejects God’s Righteousness, holiness and His Word, we’d better reject them and their deceptive lies.
The sad part of this is that the rejection continued for generations. Never underestimate the importance of passing on your faith in Jehovah to the next generation. This has proven to be Israel’s downfall and will be ours as well. Fast forward to our current text in 1 Samuel 8. After all God had done for them, they insulted Him by requesting a king. I can’t imagine how this must’ve broken the heart of God. He even tried to warn them about what rejecting Him would cost. Let’s listen to the heart of the Father.
“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.”
1 Samuel 8:10-20 NIV
God has been fighting their battles since the day they left Egypt! Did they forget?
If you will listen closely you’ll hear their voices in our current generation. Secularism and anti religion, anything but Jesus. They call us religious bigots if we don’t support their agendas. They call us narrow minded, if we refuse to embrace their godlessness. But we need not take it personally like Samuel. It’s not us that they’re rejecting but our God. When Jesus tried to introduce the people of His day to a better way, pointing out that the yoke and burden He was offering was easier and lighter, the message was rejected. He laid out parallels after parallels, still they stuck their fingers in their ears, demanding to be like everyone else. They hated the Romans, but when given the opportunity to wear a different yoke they rejected Him. Jesus spoke these words so we wouldn’t make it about us, but instead focus on Him. Reminding us that it’s nothing strange or new.
“Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”
Matthew 5:11-12 NIV
“If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. Remember what I told you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also. They will treat you this way because of My Name, for they do not know the One who sent Me. If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not be guilty of sin; but now they have no excuse for their sin. Whoever hates Me hates my Father as well.”
John 15:18-23 NIV
Based on these verses we should be prepared to be maligned, despised, scorned and rejected. We have been warned so we won’t take it personally. It’s Him not us that they’re after. Karl Marx said these famous words; “ God I hate you! And I’ll hurt you by destroying the people you create for Your glory.” Friends we’re on the brink of a revival of Marxist propaganda. Our young people are being indoctrinated by all manner of evil ideas in our nation’s classrooms. The church of Satan is now giving scholarships to college age kids who are interested in opposing what we consider normal. Here’s a quote of the objective behind the “Devil’s Advocate Scholarship” The Satanists contend that they’re trying to promote a “scientific understanding of the world” and to “preserve and advance secularism and individual liberties.” Did you get what you just read? There’s more; The scholarships “serve to reward those who embrace individualism, empathy, free-thought, and skepticism toward the oppressive institution they were forced to endure,”
Did you my friends, know about this? The more a society rejects God, the more susceptible we become as a nation to these lunatic actions. They’re after our young impressionable children. And they’re relentless in their pursuit as Hitler was before them to indoctrinate our most vulnerable. If we refuse to wake up to what’s going on around us the battle is lost. We have to defend what we believe, all the while, understanding that if our message is being rejected, it’s not us they’re after but they’re wanting to silence God. We can’t and we won’t let them! We will suffer for the choices we make that outright rejects everything holy and righteous. But God, will still be on His throne. Israel learned that hard truth. Rejecting God to set up a earthly king, will not produce the results we want. This is not the time for ignorance or complacency. To reject God and His ways, is to give Satan carte blanche to do whatever he wants.
As our Father sadly told Samuel, it’s not you they’re rejecting, it’s Me. Even so His Spirit echoes that to us and every persecuted Christian around the world. Take heart dear friends, the apostle Paul said these words centuries ago and it certainly applies now.
“Therefore, since through God’s mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart. Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God. And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For what we preach is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ.”
2 Corinthians 4:1-6 NIV
Keep shining as bright lights in this dark world. Keep sharing the gospel message of Jesus Christ. Rejection in any form is hurtful, but consider Jesus and how much He suffered for us. My friend Dean uses this phrase “it may make you feel some kind of way” yes, being rejected doesn’t feel good, but it will be worth it in the end. Remember the servant isn’t greater than his Lord. It’s not us, it’s Him.
Father in the Name of Jesus, what a privilege we have to share Your truth with the world today. This is our finest hour. Help us to have the right perspective on the things we’ll face for our faith in You. Our brothers and sisters around the world are showing us how to stand during times of adversity. We pray for them today, that you’ll continue to give them and us the boldness and faith to never faint or give up. We’ve learned through our study today that it’s not about us. Therefore, we will not shrink back from standing up for righteousness in Jesus Name. Amen
Written by permission of the Holy Spirit