God wanted His people to be exceptional, different from all other nations on earth. They were to be “a shining light on a hill”, a people through which He could demonstrate His goodness, kindness and power to the nations. These people would be so blessed by the Lord that all nations would want to serve the same God they served.
But Israel turned from the Lord and began to exclude God from their daily lives. They occupied themselves with other “gods” which brought the judgment of the Lord – God’s attempt to let them suffer the consequences of their foolishness in hopes they would return to Him. Rather than repent and return to their original calling as a unique people pointing the nations to God, they chose to slither downward and mimic the other nations.
“We want a king over us. 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. (1 Samuel 8:19, 20)
We are tired of God being our king. We want a man we can look to – an impressive leader who will take care of us and make our lives easy.
They could see the failure of the “gods” and the methods of the other nations. They knew Jehovah routinely defeated the “gods” of the other nations when Israel was faithful. Yet, they wanted to exalt and follow a man instead of leading the nations.
They thought being like other nations would mean the king would go into battle first. They thought a king would fight for them, that a king would give them peace and security. But the Lord assured them a king would merely look out for his own good, enslave them and take, take, take from them.
Can you imagine a nation so foolish that they turn from the very God that miraculously established them, giving them victory over the most powerful nation on earth? Can you imagine a people so foolish that though they see their God is far superior to all other “gods”, their way of life far above that of other nations, yet they choose to cast off that exceptionalism and blend in with the herd – be like other nations. Can you imagine a nation that refuses God’s law, God’s plan and God Himself and so must wallow in their own “wisdom”, voluntarily enslaving themselves to leaders who seek only their own good and do nothing but take, take, take from them trying to satisfy an insatiable appetite for power and wealth?
It is hard to believe any nation could be so foolish. They say history repeats itself but certainly no other nation could be as foolish as ancient Israel. Right?
2 Chronicles 7:14
If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.