A Reflection on I Samuel, Chapter 8
In the early days of the people of God we find our forebearers wanting a king. Rather than being content to be led by God, they desired to be led by a human ruler. The prophet Samuel warned them about the ways of a king (this is simplified, look at it for yourself), “he will take your children and make them his servants, he will organize armies and raise money for implements of war, he will apportion to himself a part of all you create, and when that happens you will cry out to the Lord for help.”
We, the people who look to the Lord for help, are much like Samuel’s flock. We are often not content to be led by God. We want a human leader whom we can follow. Sometimes the leader is a religious person. Sometimes the leader is a political person. A current trend is the leader who clothes their political worldview with religious garments. The results we see are the same as those predicted by Samuel. People are diminished so that the leader may be powerful. The only leader who desires us to be free human beings is Jesus, the Christ.
How can we know that we are following Jesus in the way that He intended? Jesus said that we are to love the Lord and love our neighbor (Luke 10:27). He said that if we do this we will live in His peace. We can test our discipleship by asking, Is what I say reflecting love for the Lord and love for my neighbor? Am I living in the peace of Jesus? The great thing about living in these troublesome times is that they provide us the opportunity for such self-reflection.
I’ve been doing much of that in the past few days, and I have found myself lacking in many areas. I’m recommitting myself to Jesus. It is not wrong to be troubled by what we see around us. Throughout the Bible we find a desire for justice, freedom from oppression, and a concern for the poor and downtrodden. We are called to live into these virtues. However, we can only do this insofar as we live in relationship to our sovereign Lord, Jeus Christ. Jesus is the solid rock, all other ground is sinking sand.