As the election approaches I am getting more and more uneasy. This uneasiness is not because of the vote, as much as it is because of what I see. The divide between us is greater than ever. I have friends on both sides of aisle and the rhetoric is heating up, but even that isn’t what has me squirming. I have a sinking feeling that we are looking for a king, demanding one even. And if you remember, that didn’t go so well for the children of Israel.
They approached Samuel, God’s prophet at that time, and asked him to appoint a king to lead them. They wanted a king like all the other nations had. They saw themselves as different because they followed God instead of a man and they wanted an easier way. They wanted someone to just tell them what to do, instead of having to seek God about every issue. In 1 Samuel 8, it tells us of Samuel’s response to their request. He wasn’t pleased, so he prayed.
The Lord told him, “Listen to everything the people are saying to you. You are not the one they have turned their backs on. I am the one they do not want as their king. They are doing just as they have always done. They have deserted me and served other gods. They have done that from the time I brought them up out of Egypt until this day. Now they are deserting you too. Let them have what they want. But give them a strong warning. Let them know what the king who rules over them will expect to be done for him.”1 Samuel 8:6-9
God reminded Samuel that this was nothing new, and that in fact, it was the normal way of things for his children to abandon him and bow down to idols instead. It happened during their time in the desert with the golden calf.
The people saw that Moses took a long time to come down from the mountain. So, they gathered around Aaron. They said to him, “Come. Make us a god that will lead us. This fellow Moses brought us up out of Egypt. But we don’t know what has happened to him.” Aaron took the gold they gave him and made it into a metal statue of a god. It looked like a calf. Then the people said, “Israel, here is your god who brought you up out of Egypt.”Exodus 8:8
Even way back in Babylon, all but a few bowed down to the golden statue King Nebuchadnezzar had made.
“When you hear the music, you must fall down and worship the gold statue. That is the statue that King Nebuchadnezzar has set up. If you don’t, you will be thrown into a blazing furnace right away.” All the people heard the sound of the horns and flutes. They heard the zithers, lyres, harps and other musical instruments. As soon as they did, they fell down and worshiped Nebuchadnezzar’s gold statue. They were people from all nations no matter what language they spoke.Daniel 3:5-6
It has always seemed to me, reading about the children of Israel, that they were a stubborn people set on doing things their own way. They repeatedly chose wrongly and it almost always had to do with not seeking God for themselves, but depending on someone else instead. Even though he did not yet dwell within each of them, he still dwelt among them. He spoke to them specifically through Daniel, Samuel, and Moses and yet they wanted more. They wanted a visible person to follow, not an invisible God. Looking back, it’s so easy to see their mistakes, isn’t it?
Here we are in 2020. Not recognizing we are bowing down to idols once again. We bow to our ideas of what freedom looks like. We bow to the rhetoric of our party. We bow to men who are flesh and blood. We bow to power. We bow to wealth. We bow to agendas and platforms. We bow. We want so desperately to follow, that we are hanging all our hopes on two men, who we assume will lead us in the direction we want to go. We will vote our conscience. There will be a winner, but no matter who wins I believe the results will be disastrous for our nation.
Have you prepared your heart for an outcome opposite of what you want? Will you wail and weep? Will you be overcome with grief? Or will you turn, instead, to the invisible God? Will you depend on him to lead you no matter what happens in the next four years? Will you realize life eternal is more important than a temporary king?
Gird yourself. Prepare your heart now. Get on your face. Humble yourself. Take heed. Seek the invisible. Because we have asked for a king and we are about to get what we asked for.