The strategic and manipulative methods kings used to attain and maintain their power are both sinister and creative. Let’s face it; there’s a lot of dysfunction, so there’s never a boring moment. Reading about all of their issues is not just fascinating; it helps us put our own craziness in perspective, or maybe it makes us feel better about ourselves. When we see the word “kings” in the Bible, we can substitute the word for president or anyone with a lot of power over a group of people. This could be a president, another leader, a celebrity, or even someone we love.
19 But the people refused to listen to Samuel. “No!” they said. “We want a king over us. 20 Then we will be like all the other nations, with a king to lead us and to go out before us and fight our battles.” When Samuel heard all that the people said, he repeated it before the Lord. 22 The Lord answered, “Listen to them and give them a king.”1 Samuel 8:19-20
Be Careful What You Wish For
Initially, Israel was ruled only by God through his prophets and priests. Instead of celebrating their differences or embracing the beauty of having a mighty and powerful God rule them, they wanted what everyone else had. This sounds familiar. God gives us something supreme, but we get it in our head that we want something different, even though it’s substandard. That process began in the garden and continues until now. In verses 10-16, God gave them an accurate and detailed list of what they were giving the king power to do, but they insisted. God, like parents, will sometimes allow us to have what we want though it’s not the best.
“It is He (God) who changes the times and the seasons; He removes kings and establishes kings. He gives wisdom to the wise And [greater] knowledge to those who have understanding!”Daniel 2:21
Kings and “gods”
Many Eastern and Western European kings, Pharos, Roman and Asian emperors insisted that they were gods. This enabled them to gain ultimate control over their subjects and justify living in extreme wealth while their subjects were impoverished. They would use it to justify their behavior. The book of Romans 1:24 tells us that God doesn’t force us. He allows us to make independent decisions and suffer the consequences. That’s the hardest thing to do when you love someone, but forcing it only ends in disaster. God sets up kings, but kings or rulers are subject to corruption. The more power they have, the more corrupt they become.
“Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”Lord Acton
Throughout centuries, kings became so pompous, believing themselves to be gods, that they began to engage in incest to keep the bloodline pure. It also kept the power and money in the family. Engaging in incest is a direct violation of God’s specific law. The resulting congenital disabilities aren’t God’s punishment; they are a scientific consequence of prideful behavior, putting yourself or your family above God. They suffered from insanity (this also came from STDs from all the affairs), health problems, physical deformities, and many children were miscarried or died in infancy. All of this was preventable. (For photo evidence and a shortlist of 16 royal issues from this pompous and greedy violation of God’s law, click here.)
All of us like sheep have gone astray, We have turned, each one, to his own way;Isaiah 53:6
But the Lord has caused the wickedness of us all [our sin, our injustice, our wrongdoing]
To fall on Him [instead of us].
Before we judge “kings” too harshly, let’s ask what we have done to elevate ourselves in a way that caused our own pain and even deformities? How would we know if we were crossing the boundary of putting ourselves on the throne for worship by others and ourselves as a god? How would we do if everyone celebrated every stupid thing we did or said like it was genius? Would we temper our speech? God didn’t design human beings to handle worship as if they were a god. It corrupts even the best of us. We have a venom of sin running through our veins from that bite in the garden, so what do we do? We ask God to show us any corruptable areas that inhibit the work we’re supposed to do. That takes humility; when we do this, we are already stepping off of the throne of self. He will show us, we keep giving those issues to him, and before we know it, those things are in our distant past.
8 If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.1 John 1:8-9
God, thank you that you care for us; you know us best and love us more than anyone. Nothing is hidden from you. I lift to you, God, the areas on my mind right now where I’ve acted badly or when I put a king, a loved one, a celebrity, or myself on the throne. Forgive me when I’ve done this. You know it already, I give it to you, and I put you in its place. I ask that you show me these areas that hold me back or cause preventable pain knowing that you forgive me as I lift them to you. Thank you for your faithfulness, kindness, and goodness! There is no one like you.