Like the Israelites, Americans wanted a king
“The only thing we learn from history is that we learn nothing from history.” Friedrich Hegel didn’t get much right in his life. But he was right about that.
It’s a story as old as the prophet Samuel, before David slew Goliath and before Solomon was a twinkle in Bathsheba’s eye. The people wanted change.
They wanted to be like all the other nations — presided over by a king. They rejected selfgovernment with accountability directly to God. The Israelites pleaded with Samuel: “Make us a king to judge us like all the nations” (1 Samuel 8).
Samuel was greatly distressed by this popular uprising. So he asked God about it. Here’s what God advised Samuel: “Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee: for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them.”
God recognized that His special, beloved, disobedient, chosen people didn’t appreciate what they had — probably the freest, safest society on the face of the Earth. They were envious of other nations that were ruled by a king.
So He was inclined to grant them their wish. But, before doing so, He issued a warning to the people about what life would be like under the rulership of an earthly king:
He would take their sons for his own purposes: making war, working for his government.
He would take their daughters to do his bidding.
He would take their property and redistribute it as he saw fit.
But the people didn’t listen. “Nay; but we will have a king over us; That we also may be like all the nations; and that our king may judge us, and go out before us, and fight our battles,” they said instead of heeding the warning.
Do you get the picture? Not only did the people not understand that the king was going to rip them off and oppress them, they actually thought the king was going to fight their battles for them.
Does this sound familiar to us today living under the junta of King Obama?
Just like the children of Israel, who didn’t know how good they had it, Americans decided they wanted to be like all the other nations — all those with nationalized health care programs, command-and-control economies, the rule of men rather than the rule of law.
We fell for one of the oldest temptations in the book. That’s how we became the Obama nation. God never wanted us to be ruled by kings — not His people. He wants us to govern ourselves with accountability to Him and His laws.
And here we are in the Obama nation subjecting ourselves to the whims of an earthly ruler who doesn’t even obey the established laws of the land that give him authority, while he scoffs at God’s eternal laws as outdated, anachronistic, homophobic, racist vestiges of a paternalistic, chauvinistic, false deity.
Just like the children of Israel, we got our collective wish. It was a costly lesson for the children of Israel, and it will be a costly lesson for us as well. But if we want to learn a lesson from history, we ought to make sure it’s the right lesson.
It’s not just about good economic policies. It’s not just about following the law of the land. It’s not just about the will of the people.
It’s about being set apart, not about being like the rest of the world. It’s about remembering there is one true God in heaven to whom we are all accountable. It’s about having no other false gods before us — including the false god of government, generally, and the false gods of men, specifically.
You can organize. You can protest. You can sign petitions. You can rally. You can vote — all good things to do.
But ultimately, there is one real solution found in 2 Chronicles 7:14: “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”
Joseph Farah is a nationally syndicated columnist.