Occasionally I will be dwelling on a verse or passage, ruminating on the message, (or to be honest, wandering off into some undisciplined daydreaming), and the Lord will bless me with a truth that is so obvious, so fresh and such a blessing that I just want to share it with you.
Such is the following passage
1 Samuel 8:7, 10-11, 15, 17, 19, 22 ESV – And the LORD said to Samuel, “Obey the voice of the people in all that they say to you, for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected me from being king over them. … So Samuel told all the words of the LORD to the people who were asking for a king from him. He said, “These will be the ways of the king who will reign over you: he will take your sons and appoint them to his chariots and to be his horsemen and to run before his chariots. … He will take the tenth of your grain and of your vineyards and give it to his officers and to his servants. … He will take the tenth of your flocks, and you shall be his slaves. … But the people refused to obey the voice of Samuel. And they said, “No! But there shall be a king over us, … And the LORD said to Samuel, “Obey their voice and make them a king.”
A few posts back, we looked at the cattle the Philistines sent the ark back to Israel with, and the typology those cattle represented to me on an early morning commute.
It wasn’t much later in the morning that chapter 8 came up, and again something inside me kicked up. This passage reminded me of the scene where Pilate was speaking to the crowds, “Behold the Man”. The Jewish crowds, fueled by jealousy and rage, yelled “We have no king but Caesar!”
In Samuels day, Jehovah was the King of Israel, with Judges and Prophets bringing God’s message to the people of God. The kingdom was the first true theocracy, and the people were living directly under the reign of God. No standing army, no bureaucracy, no governmental over reach – golly – no government! How can that be?
God was Israel’s protector and guide, and all could have been wonderful. But the desire to be like the nations was a powerful temptation, and the people of Samuels day succumbed to the desire. Give us a king, they shouted at the King. How history repeats itself.
Jesus came to the people of Israel, full of grace and truth, and the people rejected the true King for a king from another nation. Another nation!!! How utterly sad.
The second concept that erupted in my mind was the recurrence of the topic of the tithe. This human king would require a tithe from the people, and if my memory serves me properly, this is the first time a tithe is mentioned in the Old Testament that doesn’t go directly to the service of God. Now we have two required tithes, or shall I say competing tithes.
So what of it Carl. This tithing, (or more commonly called taxation in our day) is a burden placed on the people of a nation to support a government, a king and all of his desires.
Is there a parallel with the modern church in this story? Me thinks so. Consider.
- Have we sought professional religious leaders to replace the King?
- Do we depend on professional religious leaders instead of God?
- Do we support professional religious leaders in order to shirk responsibility?
- Do we see other religions with structures that we covet, that we want to duplicate?
My friend, if you have read my blog for a period, you know I struggle with the current structure and process of the modern western church. Am I one that simply see problems, and one that only finds fault. To be honest, that is my nature, but I also know that the Body of Christ is an organism, and not an organization. Can an organism live within an organization? (Does the new wineskin parable ring a bell?)
I have experienced a church life that may not be recognizable to most believers, and that I hope I can experience again. A church life that is simple, somewhat spontaneous, spiritual, and with expressions of freedom that shocked me at times. A freedom exercised to serve others, not to lavish on self. A sacrificial love of opening homes and hearts.
It was special and I miss it so. To return to an organization sometimes seems like a thirsty man drinking dust. But we must be with brethren and find encouragement where we can.
Please consider the Bible when you seek out a church. If you can find a part of the organism in the organization, seek it out and give of yourself to it.
But don’t seek a king other than the One who bought your life with His
Thanks again for coming to visit. I hope you found something of interest in this post and would appreciate a comment, to begin a discussion.