Israel rejected God as their king in place of an earthly ruler. In their foolishness they thought a powerful human warrior king would provide them the visible tangible security they desired, instead of the theocratic system where they must trust the unseen God and rely on a succession of judges raised up by the Lord for their protection and deliverance. As then so now, people want to look to a man instead of God.
So God gave the people what they wanted–Saul. Saul was a handsome man who stood head-and-shoulders above the people; but inside he was a cowardly, spineless, compromising fool who ultimately was forsaken by the Lord and after consulting a medium for guidance before taking his own life on the field of battle entered into an eternity of conscious torment.
After Saul it was David who, although he was a man after God’s own heart, was a loose cannon with a weakness for women. When he died he was succeeded by his son Solomon. Solomon was granted extraordinary wisdom by the Lord but he was so busy building an ornate temple supposedly for the Lord, that he laid a heavy burden of taxation on the people while at the same time allowing their worship of pagan deities to go unchecked. When he died and was succeeded by his son Rehoboam the people were fed up.
I have been reading about these events today in 1 Kings 12. When Rehoboam came to power the northern ten tribes assembled at Shechem to ask for relief from the heavy burden of taxation. Such a request was not unreasonable given the fact that the temple was completed. Rehoboam’s elderly and more seasoned advisors counseled him to grant the request of the people; but he ignored their advice and listened to his younger circle of friends and told the people: My little finger is thicker than my father’s loins….My father chastised you with cords, but I will chastise you with whips (12:10-11).
What happens when people are squashed under the hand of a heartless despot who will not listen to their cries? They rebel and look, not to God, but for another human ruler who will dance to their drum and offer them a meal ticket. The application to our present situation here in America is obvious. Many feel that we have a president who disregards the constitution, does an end-around the legislative branch with executive orders, and puts political pressure on the judicial branch to get them on board with his agenda. Working class people and business owners are complaining about higher taxes squandered on government handout programs. Illegal aliens are receiving better benefits than military veterans. First and Second Amendment rights are hanging in the balance and people are asked to tighten the belt at a time when the president spends millions to go play golf in Florida with Tiger Woods, and the first Lady opens the envelope and announces the Oscar winner. Of course we are not in a covenant relationship with God as was Israel–the church is God’s holy nation, royal priesthood, and special people (1 Peter 2:8-10).
The ten tribes from the north looked to Jeroboam as their deliverer. They broke away from Judah and Levi to the south–seceded from the union, if you will. But Jereboam, who had been a military superstar under Solomon, adopted golden-calf worship during his exile in Egypt after Solomon started viewing him as a rival and put out a hit on his life. Jereboam didn’t want the people to be tied to the temple in Jerusalem and the Levitical system of worship, as prescribed by God in the Mosaic Covenant. So he created a new centralized place of worship–actually two: one in Bethel, the southernmost extremity of his domain, and one in Dan at the northernmost border. He had two golden calves made and created a whole new caste of priests who were not descendants of Levi or Aaron. This was a completely apostate system, but Jeroboam convinced the people that these golden calves were indeed responsible for their exodus from Egyptian bondage years earlier. How? He offered them freedom from oppression and a better meal ticket. That’s all it took then, and that’s all it would take now.
However, as believers we need to step back from the fervor, take a deep breath, and see one thing very clearly with regard to our current situation. For the king did not listen to the people; for the turn of events was from the lord (12:15). What we are seeing in our country has come to pass by the sovereign eternal decree of God–not one speck of it is outside His control. God has given us a godless, wicked, unregenerate, arrogant, autocratic president because we have rejected Him who is the only source of life and have carved out broken cisterns for ourselves that can hold no water. We are getting what we deserve. That smoldering stub, Jeremiah Wright, spoke prophetically after the fashion of Balaam’s ass when he declared that America’s chickens have come home to roost. The evangelical church in America has been slowly rotting from the inside out for decades, having been infected with the spiritual AIDS virus of Arminianism and the puny false god of the Arminian system. There is a famine in the land for the word of God. We have Bibles galore but no one wants to actually teach fearlessly the truths contained in those sacred pages. The remedy for our national ills is revival within the body of Christ. What we do not need is more dispy-Arminianism, psychobabble, and warm fuzzy swooning to narcissistic ditties and pulpit pabulum.
The Tea Party is a joke. Too many believers have mistaken the right wing of the Republican Party for the Kingdom of God. That is a mistake with disastrous consequences. Why? Because if you seek relief from oppression but refuse to repent of your false system of theology and the false god of that system, ultimately you will be swapping one godless leader for another. You will reject Rehoboam and replace him with Jeroboam. If you don’t understand where I’m going I strongly urge you to read my book: Breaking the Box: Rebuilding Faith in the God of the Bible.
I’m sorry, but this is no time to mince words. Time for all of us as God’s elect to get off our ass and on our knees. Time to pull our heads out of our derrieres and get that nose into the Word of God instead of the TV or computer screen. There is no guarantee of a best life now. Things may likely get worse before they get better. You may get cold, tired and hungry waging the good fight–but do not trade your birthright for a bowl of soup, thereby proving that like Esau you are a reprobate hated by God and headed for damnation.
Repent. And realize that God’s eternal purpose can never be confounded. Remember too, as the Westminster Shorter Catechism reminds us, that the chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. There is a joy and peace in serving the true God of Scripture and the real Jesus that transcends all description and comprehension.
Time to wake up and smell the spiritual coffee. Straight up, strong, and steaming hot.