The Story | Ch 6 - Our Kingdoms
Topic: Old Testament Passage: 1 Samuel 8, 2 Samuel 2:7
Christopher Rich – March 26, 2017
Chapter 6 - The Story of Our Kingdoms | 1 Samuel 8 – 2 Samuel 7
Introduction | Catch up with the story
Good Morning! Welcome to Damascus Road Church where we are Saved by Jesus Work. Changed by Jesus Grace. Living on Jesus Mission. Today we continue our series, The Story looking at the narrative of the Bible taking us from now until after Easter. When you skip a chapter or hit a story in the middle you miss out on some references used later in The Story. Last week we saw God deliver His Family who had found themselves as an oppressed minority in Egypt with a "Mighty Hand" systematically assaulting each of Egypt’s idols and bringing justice to the oppressors. In the chapter we see a sacrificial system set up staring with PASSOVER where God’s wrath is stayed and justice maintained by the blood of a lamb painting a door to the angel of death will pass over those who worship God. Egyptian army peruses the freed slaves as sin purses those who attempt to flee it and God achieves overwhelming victory for His people bring them across the parted Red Sea and collapsing the walls of water on the Egyptian army. No more will they be pursued by their captors they are now free to pursue worship of the God who saves and possess the land He has promised them. Commandments are given as God give law to saved people not to save people. A mission is given to go and take possession of the land. A wandering horde of former slaves becomes a conquering army expelling wicked idolatrous nations and establishing God’s rule and worship in the place He had promised them. God is faithful to consistently give His nation victory in battle. Falling walls around a city because of a marching band, hail stones like missiles, days that don’t end until battles are won, several times it is made clear God is the warrior God grants the victory. This should embolden God’s people to greater faithfulness. Yet faithlessly, Israel (sometimes individually, sometimes collectively) seems to stop short of full obedience (takes when they are instructed not to, not finishing the battles) and even ignores God’s clear instructions to purify the land. Called to be a holy and distinct from all other human nations by having God as their king, Israel’s generations go through a downward spiral of idolatry/rebellion, oppression, crying out for deliverance, God saving them by raising up a deliverer (a Judge) from each tribe, only to rebel again. It is a bloody vicious cycle that looks less like a return to gardenlike flourishing and more like a dystopian wasteland. The book of Judges ends with "In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in their own eyes." Finally, the last Judge (and Prophet) Samuel receives the demand from the people for God to give them a human King like every other nation.
Part I | We Want a King | 1 Samuel 8:1-9
1 Samuel 8:1-9 | When Samuel became old, he made his sons judges over Israel. 2 The name of his firstborn son was Joel, and the name of his second, Abijah; they were judges in Beersheba. 3 Yet his sons did not walk in his ways but turned aside after gain. They took bribes and perverted justice. 4 Then all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah5 and said to him, "Behold, you are old and your sons do not walk in your ways. Now appoint for us a king to judge us like all the nations." 6 But the thing displeased Samuel when they said, "Give us a king to judge us." And Samuel prayed to the Lord. 7 And the Lord said to Samuel, "Obey the voice of the people in all that they say to you, for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected me from being king over them. 8 According to all the deeds that they have done, from the day I brought them up out of Egypt even to this day, forsaking me and serving other gods, so they are also doing to you. 9 Now then, obey their voice; only you shall solemnly warn them and show them the ways of the king who shall reign over them."
Dedicated by His mother, and called by God to serve God’s people, for many years Samuel had provided effective and Godly leadership filling the role of priest, prophet and finally judge. Worship of God was restored the Ark of the Covenant was returned to Israel some level of military victory was enjoyed, the borders were secure. But The people recognize a very human problem, every leader has a limited amount of influence because they age and they die. The answer is not a Samuel Legacy as his sons are selfish and "pervert justice." There is a corruption of sin and a looming shadow of death. Since chapter 3 of The Story, the Story of our fall, this has been part of the human experience. The people see a human problem and they seek a human solution. There isn’t prayer, fasting, sacrifice, let’s seek God’s will for His people, let’s seek our will for ourselves. Look Sam you’re not that bad but you’re old. They crave leadership! That is a good thing. They’re fresh off the cycle of Judges where everyone did what was right in their own eyes and people began to experience the consequences of a massive plurality of self-rule. Everyone is a solitary kingdom. Let’s be really clear we are on that trajectory right now! Where we are all unified around next to nothing but self-rule. Our greatest value is our independence, individual freedom of self expression and the greatest sins we can commit against another person is not to fully affirm their self-determination. We’re more time of the judges than orderly kingdom under God’s rule or anyone else’s.
We were created to be led. We were saved to be led (I will be your God and you will be my people.) We were never designed to be completely independent. We were designed to be dwell in a garden kingdom with God as our king. The problem isn’t that they want leadership. The problem is the type of leadership they want. They want a king "Like all the nations". This is hugely significant. They were saved to be a distinct nation from all the other pagan nations in the world. They were granted victory, granted Promised Land, given leadership and victory by God for the purpose of revealing God’s Glory to the other nations and now they want to look like everyone else. Why can’t we be more like Midian or Moab! They get to worship tons different gods Chemosh who demands child sacrifice, Baal who let’s them do whatever they want Asheroth a sex goddess represented by a pole (seriously) AND they get a king like a great general politician who is their national icon. It seems like it’s great. Lets not be set apart, let’s blend in. They covet what other nations have. In this Samuel is a little put out, he knows God is there savior and their King. The people aren’t rejecting Samuel, they are rejecting God. As they look at The Story, they are ready to trade it in for a lesser story. God was their king and now they want a king that’s just as worthless as all the others. Rejection of God in the Garden has continued. God is gracious, he knows their hearts and he has Samuel speak to them as a prophet. Give them a warning and let them know how this is going to go. Give them a preview of coming attractions. Foreshadowing the next chapters of The Story
PART II | Be Careful what you wish for | 1 Samuel 8:10-18
10 So Samuel told all the words of the Lord to the people who were asking for a king from him. 11 He said, "These will be the ways of the king who will reign over you: he will take your sons and appoint them to his chariots and to be his horsemen and to run before his chariots. 12 And he will appoint for himself commanders of thousands and commanders of fifties, and some to plow his ground and to reap his harvest, and to make his implements of war and the equipment of his chariots. 13 He will take your daughters to be perfumers and cooks and bakers. 14 He will take the best of your fields and vineyards and olive orchards and give them to his servants. 15 He will take the tenth of your grain and of your vineyards and give it to his officers and to his servants. 16 He will take your male servants and female servants and the best of your young men and your donkeys, and put them to his work. 17 He will take the tenth of your flocks, and you shall be his slaves. 18 And in that day you will cry out because of your king, whom you have chosen for yourselves, but the Lord will not answer you in that day."
When was a kid I would read "choose your own adventure books". You start down a path and you’re not sure how it is going to turn out. There is uncertainty. This is what most of our elections are like right, we think we know how they’re going to turn out but they usually surprise us. They promise on thing and another happens. Not in this case, before Israel votes for "King/no King" God wants them to have a perfect reveal of what this "give us a king" party platform is all about so they know precisely what they are choosing.
He will take your sons and daughters - They will draft an army, not to fight for your freedom with God as your champion, but for the Kings glory and interests. He will get you into wars that will prove to be ultimately less than profitable. He will make your children bleed and toil for his kingdom. Your family will be ripped apart your children are used to help the king (some guy) be glorified like a god. Your daughters will be used to make the king’s feast. The talent the giftings the creative energy that has been given to humanity to flourish will not be directed in creating a God glorifying culture but a king glorifying society. Taxes will go up to support the infrastructure required for you to think the King is something more than just another person. The best of the society and individual input will not be used for the benefit of all but of one. (Samuel is starting to sound a bit like Bernie Sanders) God gives His best to His people and earthly kings will take your best from you for himself. When we were in England and you go around the capital you see grand houses, a palace, an abbey and parks. All of it is beautiful and grand, it really does inspire a sense of awe, but it is all to create an environment where the Queen ( and Kings before) are seen as great! Verse 17 has the most damning charge against the "Give us a king" party. "and you shall be his slaves" Whoa! God’s people were enslaved for over for hundred years and now Samuel is making it so clear. If you go down this path it is a voluntary return to slavery. You will serve a lesser king. They cried out when they were in slavery that had overcome them, but now they’re about to put themselves in an indentured servant hood. The platform is set, the people are given a clear choice it’s time to vote.
PART III | Our Kingdoms | 1 Samuel 8:19-22
19 But the people refused to obey the voice of Samuel. And they said, "No! But there shall be a king over us, 20 that we also may be like all the nations, and that our king may judge us and go out before us and fight our battles." 21 And when Samuel had heard all the words of the people, he repeated them in the ears of the Lord. 22 And the Lord said to Samuel, "Obey their voice and make them a king." Samuel then said to the men of Israel, "Go every man to his city.
They don’t heed the warning, God has given them what they want even though it’s not what is best. They don’t get what they desire but what they deserve. Kingdoms are about glory. Because lesser kingdoms ruled by lesser kings have lesser glory. The king will fight for us so we don’t have to. They want strength, stability and security and they think that will come from a king when they have had all of that with God! When we declare independence from God as our king it never leads to freedom it always eventually leads to slavery. Wicked kings and rulers don’t rise up in a vacuum. They are emblematic of spirit and souls of a collection of individuals. Hitler, the Ayatollah, Kim Jong Un in North Korea, don’t just come from nothing to rule, they are in place and propped up but multitudes of individuals submitting to their leadership. We need to see ourselves in this chapter of The Story. We are not Samuel and we are not God. We are the Israelites, we, define, seek, build and protect our kingdoms just as Israel did.
Fundamentally Flawed- They start with a rejection of God’s kingdom and rule and be our own king a part from God. Our lives/kingdoms are built on the same flawed foundation of "independence". It’s called sin, and it slowly/quickly destroys everything we built on top of it. What foundation have you built your life on? What, if taken away, would everything else crumble around?
Fake Façade – The forewarned kings take resources that aren’t theirs to build up an appearance of glory that is entirely man made so they can have the false image of being greater than he actually was. Kingdoms spend and build or an image of glory. We borrow for our homes, cars, wardrobe, hobbies, to what end? Who are you trying to impress with your kingdom? Is it real? Is there anything behind it?
Fractured- Where the kingdoms of David and Soloman enjoyed some prosperity and unity (despite their individual sins) the rest of the Chronicles of the kings of God’s people reads more like Game of Thrones than Camelot. Our relationships are fractured because most of us act functionally as if we’re a king and others exist to serve us. Those we believe should serve us, believe the opposite, so our relationships are broken. Who are you treating as a subject? What relationships or people have you discarded after you used them?
Fear – Most kings ruled not out of faith in a Good God who saves but in fear of their kingdoms coming to an end. We’re either so afraid our kingdom will be exposed that we don’t engage or challenge anyone else. Or in our insecurity we lash out at anyone who fails to submit to us or threatens our visions of ourselves. What are you afraid of losing if your kingdom falls?
Fickle and Fleeting – When you see the trajectory of the rest of the kings who is in charge is always in flux, generations rise up and kill the previous. Legacies are attempted and failed. Buildings are erected, other nations and kingdoms rise up and eventually fall to ruin. Many are now nothing more than pretty piles of stone tourists and students visit. So it was with them, so it will be with us. Everything we work to build or serve will come to an end. Yet we continue to put our faith, hope, happiness in our own kingdom and the kingdoms of the world. What are you hoping your kingdom will be when it’s over? What is your hope in?
The outcome of all if this is the Israelites falling farther into sin and idolatry, and into greater fear. It didn’t lead to greater boldness it led to greater fear. You can only be as bold as the kingdom you’re a part of and the king you pledge allegiance too. When walking with God, it is easier to be bold because you know He fights for you and you and His Kingdom does not have the same flaws as ours. We cannot keep pledging allegiance to ourselves or willingly submit to kingdoms built on false promises and weal foundations.
PART IV | His Promise of a Good Forever King | 2 Samuel 7:8-16
2 Samuel 7:8-16 | 8 Now, therefore, thus you shall say to my servant David, ‘Thus says the Lord of hosts, I took you from the pasture, from following the sheep, that you should be prince over my people Israel. 9 And I have been with you wherever you went and have cut off all your enemies from before you. And I will make for you a great name, like the name of the great ones of the earth. 10 And I will appoint a place for my people Israel and will plant them, so that they may dwell in their own place and be disturbed no more. And violent men shall afflict them no more, as formerly,11 from the time that I appointed judges over my people Israel. And I will give you rest from all your enemies. Moreover, the Lord declares to you that the Lord will make you a house. 12 When your days are fulfilled and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring after you, who shall come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. 13 He shall build a house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. 14 I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a son. When he commits iniquity, I will discipline him with the rod of men, with the stripes of the sons of men, 15 but my steadfast love will not depart from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I put away from before you. 16 And your house and your kingdom shall be made sure forever before me. Your throne shall be established forever.’"
Despite the faithlessness of God’s people, God remains faithful. God knows His people need rest from the enemies of sin and death. God will make a great name and it will be through a king. The promise from the garden of a savior, the promise of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob that their family will bless the nations, the formation of a nation displayed in the Exodus has been renew and refined to say God’s glory will be displayed and His rule of his people will come from the legacy Israel’s greatest King David. God will establish His kingdom. God the Father will rule through the "Son of David". It will be a kingdom with no end. Hey that must be Solomon! Well some of this is fulfilled in Solomon, but news flash Solomon’s throne is not still reigning. Where Saul’s Kingdom was a one generation legacy, the Son of David will have an un ending legacy. The kingdoms of Israel many leaders came up from the different tribes but none had a lasting legacy. David’s line was decidedly less than perfect but was a line that endured through internal turmoil, external attacks, exiles, revolutions, restoration projects.
Where is Jesus in this Story? God raised up a shepherd to be King, David. In Jesus a king came off the throne to be born near the sheep and heralded by shepherds. Jesus is the Son of David! Matthew 1 starts with "the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham." Kingly Authority is what Jesus continued to preach and teach. He said repent for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand. Jesus is the kingdom.
Jesus is a king who doesn’t take son and daughters ripping them from their family to Jesus is a king who give his life to make estranged sinners son and daughters bringing them into a new family. Jesus isn’t a king who takes son’s to bleed for him. Jesus is God’s son who is give to bleed for His people.
Jesus isn’t a king who takes the best from people to build up a store house for himself but gives of the best God has to offer (His very life) so His people can have abundant life in this life and the life to come.
Jesus isn’t a king that enslaves His citizens but one who commission them for service in their families, in their churches, in their communities and the world.
Jesus isn’t the king you have chosen for yourself because we elect bad Kings. We elect ourselves. Jesus is a King that has chosen you elected to be in His Kingdom knowing it’s better than you deserve or would choose for yourself.
Philippians 2:9-11 | 9 Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Here is the reality of God’s forever kingdom. You under God’s kingdom regardless of if you want to be. Your kingdom or whatever you pledge allegiance to will be under. It’s not an option to be under God’s authority you are. The question is will you bow your head or be brought to your knees. Disbelief or disregard do not change the fact you are under God.
This is your time to respond to the story of Our Kingdoms. We know The Story radically changes the life stories of individuals. We must respond either by receiving it as true and glorious or rejecting it favor of a lesser story. Are you ruling your own kingdom? Then respond by casting your crown at the feet of Jesus. If you know Jesus we take Communion each week as we do we are acknowledging we are the villain of our own story so we can’t be our own hero, Jesus is our hero on the cross in our place. We sing remembering His victory and hope in His return. We give financially remembering he has given us everything we are not slaves but stewards. Stop trusting your fragile kingdom and rest in God’s forever kingdom when you Trust Jesus.
More in THE STORY
February 10, 2019The Story: Creation, Fall, Redemption, Restoration
April 30, 2017The Story | Ch 12 - His Return
April 23, 2017The Story | Ch. 11 - His Church