Freedom isn’t free.  We are reminded of that by the current events unfolding in Iraq these past days.  But what we may also be overlooking is the high cost of our freedom in the operation of our government.  While royalty isn’t the same as a democratic society, the principles laid down by the Lord to His people through Samuel in 1 Samuel 8:10-18 are very much evident in any government operating in the world today.

God’s design for man was for man to serve God as his king.  Unfortunately, that was not acceptable to those who rebelled against God and set up their own societies outside His guidelines and continue to do so even today.  When the children of Israel became tired of being overrun, plundered and oppressed by surrounding nations they demanded a king just like those nations around them.  They failed to see that their being overrun was a result of rebellion against their One True King.

God told Samuel to listen to them, but He also gave them fair warning as to what it would cost them… read the text for yourself and then reflect on what our levels of government “costs us”.  It would be much simpler, albeit impossible I realize, if we could only accept the “government of our God.”  This would only be possible with all submitting to the authority and sovereignty of God.  That will only occur in heaven, after the judgment and punishment of those in rebellion to God.

When you consider this episode in Israel’s history, it is rather ironic to note that in their effort to throw off or avoid the oppression of neighboring nations, they placed themselves into self-imposed oppression.  In addition to everything God had levied on them, a physical kingdom would extract that much more for their king!  And in His warning God told them they would regret it and call out to Him, but He would not answer.

Isn’t it amazing what the wisdom of man leads us into?  The correct response is to “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.” (Proverbs 3:5) Won’t you seek to follow God today?

Copyright © 2003, Nolan P. Rutter

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