Today’s reading is 1 Samuel 8:1-9:27, John 6:22-42, Psalm 106:32-48, Proverbs 14:34-35.
In our passage today, we are entering a new phase in the history of the Israelites. We have been studying the period of time—maybe around 350 years—in which Israel was ruled by a series of judges. There are 12 judges listed in the book of Judges. Then, in I Samuel we have added Eli and Samuel. Later, we will find in 1 Chronicles another name listed. So, there were around 15 judges, not including Samuel’s sons, who were rejected as judges because they were corrupt. How sad that must have been for godly Samuel to see his sons unable to accept the baton passed to them because they were greedy for money, wealth, and power and were willing to pervert justice for unlawful gain. The result was that the people no longer wanted a judge. Now, they wanted a king. But, they wanted a political king to reign over them, not a spiritual king who would have changed everything. This is a reflection of the coming Savior who was rejected, though He fulfilled every prophesy. In those New Testament days, the attitude was the same. They wanted an earthly, political king or ruler, not a King who would conquer their hearts. This passage made me feel sad as I read it:
6 Samuel was displeased with their request and went to the Lord for guidance.7 “Do everything they say to you,” the Lord replied, “for they are rejecting me, not you. They don’t want me to be their king any longer. 8 Ever since I brought them from Egypt they have continually abandoned me and followed other gods. And now they are giving you the same treatment. 9 Do as they ask, but solemnly warn them about the way a king will reign over them.”
I Samuel 8:6-9
I think the reason this passage conjured up feelings of sadness is because I love the Lord. I have experienced His love, presence, healing, strength, and comfort. He is my King. I feel sad for the rejection that He must have felt–the rejection throughout history, the rejection resulting in the crucifixion, the rejection that I have at times displayed toward Him. I feel sad for the rejecters, and understand that they are blind, or maybe just bent on not seeing. I can hear the Lord saying, “Forgive them, Father, for they know not what to do.” I feel sad for the voice of the martyrs all over the world, in every generation, whose blood cries out and testifies to the world’s rejection of the King of kings. And there have been mild rejections that I, too, have felt at times because of my King. But, we were never given a false sales pitch in the Bible. This is what Jesus said:
“Whoever listens to you listens to me; whoever rejects you rejects me; but whoever rejects me rejects him who sent me.”
18 “If the world hates you, remember that it hated me first. 19 The world would love you as one of its own if you belonged to it, but you are no longer part of the world. I chose you to come out of the world, so it hates you. 20 Do you remember what I told you? ‘A slave is not greater than the master.’ Since they persecuted me, naturally they will persecute you. And if they had listened to me, they would listen to you. 21 They will do all this to you because of me, for they have rejected the one who sent me.
Those are sobering words. And, thankfully, I do know that there are times we can walk in favor with man, all for God’s glory. But, if you are walking through a season of rejection, if you are feeling like a puzzle piece that doesn’t quite fit in this world, take heart. You are walking in the shoes of the heroes of faith. More importantly, you are walking the path of the Savior, the One who took all the rejection on Himself and by His stripes you are healed, you are safe, you are adored, you are chosen. Rest in the fact that the King of all kings loves you very much and one day you will hear those blessed words, “Well done, my good and faithful servant!”