Friday, July 28, 2006

Civil Government (8) - Kings

Kingship was not God’s idea. It was copied from the heathen nations around Israel. That was never going to be a good place to find good government.

Samuel warned the people that a king was not part of God’s plan for them. Samuel told all the words of the LORD to the people who were asking him for a king. He said, "This is what the king who will reign over you will do: He will take your sons and make them serve with his chariots and horses, and they will run in front of his chariots. Some he will assign to be commanders of thousands and commanders of fifties, and others to plow his ground and reap his harvest, and still others to make weapons of war and equipment for his chariots. He will take your daughters to be perfumers and cooks and bakers. He will take the best of your fields and vineyards and olive groves and give them to his attendants. He will take a tenth of your grain and of your vintage and give it to his officials and attendants. Your menservants and maidservants and the best of your cattle and donkeys he will take for his own use. He will take a tenth of your flocks, and you yourselves will become his slaves (1 Sam 8:10-17).

These are shocking words. The nation that chooses a human king will end up in slavery. The young men will be forced to serve in the king's army. The young women will forced to serve in the king's palace. The king will take the best of the land for himself. He will tax all their income and make them poor.

Samuel was certain that the king would not be “God's servant to do you good” (Rom 13:4).The people hoped that the king would deliver them from the surrounding nations. Instead of setting them free, the king would make them his slaves. The worst thing was that Israel's kings constantly provoked the nations, or joined in unholy alliances with them. This resulted in more wars. The history of Israel is the history of wars, where the people had to fight for the king. This produced a great deal of suffering for the nation.

Many Christians believe that human kingship is a good form of government. This is not true. God never blessed human kingship as an optimal form of government.

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