So Samuel passed on the Lord’s warning to the people who were asking him for a king. “This is how a king will reign over you….” 1 Samuel 8:10 (NLT)
This morning’s chapter was about ancient Israel’s desire for a new system of government. They were frustrated with the way things were having lived for generations under a theocracy in which God raised up a “judge” to lead the people at different times. The book of Judges is a chronicle of Israel’s history during this time. It was a messy form of government, to be sure. The grass looked so much greener on the other side of the border. Their neighbors with their centralized authority (a.k.a. a king) seemed so much cleaner and easier than the theocracy they’d been attempting to live out for hundreds of years. Despite Saul’s warnings of the flaws inherent in a monarchy, the people continued to demand it until they got their way.
As I read this morning I found myself pondering our continual frustration with government, which seems to be universal wherever you go. As I have sojourned in this life, I have observed and have come to some personal conclusions about human government. Looking at things on a macro level, here are my observations:
- Governments rarely, if ever, shrink (unless by force or implosion), they only expand.
- Most who reach places of governmental power and authority will do all that they can to retain and expand that power and authority (so that they can do “more good,” of course).
- Those in government who make rules for others quite regularly exempt themselves from those rules our make loopholes for themselves, friends, and or loved ones.
- Politics is a performance played out in sound bytes, tweets, posts, press conferences, and public addresses. Public words cloak personal motives.
- There is no system of government on the face of this earth which is not given to corruption, waste, fraud, and abuse.
- Every one of us live under a corrupt system of government because we are all governed by human beings marred by the human condition.
What then shall we do? I continue to ponder that as well. I have no great revelation nor answers to share. Personally, I find myself continually returning to what Jesus asks of me as a follower.
Seek God. Love others. Press on.