Acts Devotionals

Kings of Israel

There are many eventful days in your life. We experienced one today. Our shipment arrived from South Africa. The truck was to arrive between 9 and 10am … it was here before 8.30am. The crew removed all our goods from the container, placed it in the driveway, checked it, carried it into the house, had coffee and were on their way just after 10am. We are so excited … perhaps me more than Jenny because it means I now have access to the library.

Another exciting day for some British people is the day of Charles III’s official coronation as king of Britain. In his case, he does not really rule. He is the sovereign head of state, but his role is largely ceremonial and includes appointing a Prime Minister, members to the House of Lords, supreme-court justices, each year he opens and closes parliament and legitimizes laws amongst other things. Kings or queens in some other countries have power and authority over politics, administration, defense, finances, etc. As we move forward with Paul’s sermon we come to the place where in him recalling Israel’s history he comes to the appointment of kings. We shall spend at least two days on this Note.

Ac 13:21 Then the people asked for a king.

God ruled His people, in their place using Joshua and the Priesthood. Then He ruled through Judges only to find the people wanting a king. How did the kingship come about? Why did God allow kings to be appointed?

1) The people asked for a king.

1Sa 8:1 When Samuel grew old, he appointed his sons as judges for Israel. 2 The name of his firstborn was Joel and the name of his second was Abijah, and they served at Beersheba. 3 But his sons did not walk in his ways. They turned aside after dishonest gain and accepted bribes and perverted justice.

There was much fear in the hearts of godly people because Samuel’s sons were wicked.

1Sa 8:4 So all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah. 5 They said to him, “You are old, and your sons do not walk in your ways; now appoint a king to lead us, such as all the other nations have.”

Somehow Samuel’s focus could have been so much on leading the nation that he did not lead his family according to Deuteronomy 6 … as many parents fail to do these days! The spiritual leaders of the nation (elders) read the situation correctly … Samuel being so old and his sons being so wicked. What would become of them? The problem for Samuel was them wanting a king to be like all the pagan nations around them.

1Sa 8:6 But when they said, “Give us a king to lead us,” this displeased Samuel; so he prayed to the LORD. 7 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. 8 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. 9 Now listen to them; but warn them solemnly and let them know what the king who will reign over them will do.”

Samuel misunderstood what was happening. He thought the people rejected his leadership … but the real issue was they rejected God’s leadership. They wanted to be their own people in their own place under their own king’s rule. They did not want to be God’s people, in the place God gave them, under God’s rule! This was fearful, yet God would permit it because a king would foreshadow and point to God’s true King, the Lord Jesus. Royalty is expensive! Charles the Third is aware of this and seems to be making changes to lessen the tax burden on the British people. God told Samuel to explain (warm) to the people the costs of having an earthly king!

1Sa 8:10 Samuel told all the words of the LORD to the people who were asking him for a king. 11 He said, “This is what the king who will reign over you will do: He will take your sons and make them serve with his chariots and horses, and they will run in front of his chariots. 12 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. 13 He will take your daughters to be perfumers and cooks and bakers. 14 He will take the best of your fields and vineyards and olive groves and give them to his attendants. 15 He will take a tenth of your grain and of your vintage and give it to his officials and attendants. 16 Your menservants and maidservants and the best of your cattle and donkeys he will take for his own use. 17 He will take a tenth of your flocks, and you yourselves will become his slaves. 18 When that day comes, you will cry out for relief from the king you have chosen, and the LORD will not answer you in that day.”

Extremely costly … but few count the cost when they want their will fulfilled.

1Sa 8:19 But the people refused to listen to Samuel. “No!” they said. “We want a king over us. 20 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.”

Here they declared their reason. It is exactly as God said … They no longer wanted God as their Sovereign, leading them into battle and winning wars for them. They wanted to be like the pagan nations all around. They wanted a human king to lead their military into battle … whatever the cost. Look at verse 19 … they said “no! … we want a king over us.” No … we don’t want God as our King anymore, we want a human king that can be seen. This was tragic because they rejected their history of how God created them as a nation, provide for them, protected them, won their battles and blessed them with a land of milk and honey.

1Sa 8:21 When Samuel heard all that the people said, he repeated it before the LORD. 22 The LORD answered, “Listen to them and give them a king.”

Are we not like this? Rather … are you like this? You know how good God has been to you throughout your life and more especially in your salvation … and you want to dump Him as King for some idol king! Before we proceed tomorrow, may I call you to review your attitude towards Kingship? Is Jesus your King or have you appointed another king your made as your king?

O God, Eternal, Glorious, Loving, Providing, Protecting and Caring King, we are so ashamed at how we have created little kings to rule over us. At times they are people, at other times they are shaped as materials, money, substances, personal image or being swayed towards other religions’ gods. Graciously forgive us for being so stubborn and ungrateful. Forgive us for the way we have minimized the value of Jesus’ sacrifice for our pardon and eternal salvation. Receive us again, indwell us and reign freely over our hearts and souls as we pray to You in Jesus’ name. Amen.

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