Tuesday, March 24, 2009


Throughout my lifetime I have enjoyed genuine freedom. I inherited this freedom simply because I was blessed to be born to parents who were United States citizens. I realize that I'm privileged to be an American, and yet as I read today's scripture I notice some uncanny similarities to Israel during the days of Samuel.

God had given Israel the promise of what was almost heaven on earth if they would remain loyal and devoted to him. Instead, they repeatedly rejected life under his authority and chased after foreign gods and idols.

As today's passages explain, the Philistines slaughtered 34,000 of Israel's men because God had removed his protection as a result of their abandonment of the covenant he made with them. Consequently, they were ready to throw in the towel and carelessly discard the freedom, protection and blessings that would have been theirs had they remained faithful to God.

Chapters 4 through 8 of 1 Samuel are difficult passages to read, especially in light of the fact that a current lack of appreciation for all that has been good about our own nation has driven us to such a similar precipice.

After Samuel was old and his two sons weren't as faithful in judging Israel as he had been, the leaders came to him and asked that they be given a king like the surrounding nations. Samuel was very displeased by their request and went to God for guidance. What happened next is sad, but not surprising.

Normally, I do not include such a lengthy portion of scripture, but each verse is enlightening, so I wanted you to read this in its entirety.

1 Samuel 8:

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 it is me they are rejecting, 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.”

10 So Samuel passed on the Lord’s warning to the people who were asking him for a king.

11 “This is how a king will reign over you,” Samuel said.

“The king will draft your sons and assign them to his chariots and his charioteers, making them run before his chariots.

12 Some will be generals and captains in his army,some will be forced to plow in his fields and harvest his crops, and some will make his weapons and chariot equipment.

13 The king will take your daughters from you and force them to cook and bake and make perfumes for him.

14 He will take away the best of your fields and vineyards and olive groves and give them to his own officials.

15 He will take a tenth of your grain and your grape harvest and distribute it among his officers and attendants.

16 He will take your male and female slaves and demand the finest of your cattle and donkeys for his own use.

17 He will demand a tenth of your flocks, and you will be his slaves.

18 When that day comes, you will beg for relief from this king you are demanding, but then the Lord will not help you.”

19 But the people refused to listen to Samuel’s warning. “Even so, we still want a king,” they said.

20 “We want to be like the nations around us. Our king will judge us and lead us into battle.”

21 So Samuel repeated to the Lord what the people had said,

22 and the Lord replied, “Do as they say, and give them a king.” Then Samuel agreed and sent the people home.

Careless disregard for the freedoms we've enjoyed coupled with ignorance, greed and gullibility appear to be leading us as a people to seek a "king" rather than representatives, and as I write these words I cannot assume that you, my precious grandchildren, will be privileged to enjoy the same freedoms I was afforded.

I pray that God hasn't become so weary with our wandering that he will no longer rescue us (as a nation) when we cry out for his help, but I do believe that apart from a spiritual awakening of colossal proportions, much of what I've loved about life in this land will disappear before you've ever learned how amazing the gift of freedom really is. My hope is that we never "regift" our freedom by simply giving it away in submission to a "king" other than The Lord, and that you will be blessed to grow up in a land of brave, free people.

Father, please protect our nation and defend our freedom and rescue us from ourselves. We are ignorant and blind and we cry out for wisdom and vision. In Jesus' Name, save us. Amen.

1 comment:

  1. It scares me the world we are bringing our 3 up in! I pray that God will not remove his hand from our nation but if we (as a nation) continue to reject him .... what is He to do? As Christ followers we have to be on our face