Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Our First Allegiance...

"So all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah. They said to him, "You are old, and your sons do not walk in your ways; now appoint a king to lead us, such as all the other nations have."
But when they said, "Give us a king to lead us," this displeased Samuel; so he prayed to the LORD. And the LORD told him: "Listen to all that the people are saying to you; it is not you they have rejected, but they have rejected me as their king. As they have done from the day I brought them up out of Egypt until this day, forsaking me and serving other gods, so they are doing to you." 1 Samuel 8:4-8

Samuel was the last of his kind, the final Judge of Israel. From the time that Joshua brought his people into the promise land the nation had a series of judges (or leaders) who came alongside Israel and guided them through treacherous times.

Israel had a unique set up compared with every other nation on earth. God was their King and he was a good king. They were neither overtaxed nor overworked and God was both just and merciful in his rule. However, as Samuel was increasing in age the elders approached him. They saw no apparent future leader. Even though God had walked with them throughout their history and protected their nation their allegiance was not with him. They told Samuel that they wanted a King.

While Samuel was not happy with their decision, God told him not to take it personally. The people were not rejecting Samuel, but they were rejecting God. Their first allegiance was supposed to be to Yahweh alone and yet when the people looked at the other nations they felt left out. They did not recognize that God was their king. In their hearts they had already dethroned him and the establishment of a human king was just an external representation of an internal reality.

As I watch this Presidential election unfold I see Christians putting more faith in McCain and Obama than they should. I see many that call themselves Christians who are overly concerned with who is president as though the president is the sovereign ruler of this world. The President of the Untied States is not all knowing or all powerful and while the position comes with great power and great responsibility the hope of Christians does not reside in who wins this election. For Christians our first allegience belongs to Christ and our hope and trust is in him. Our faith should never be placed in the idols of our wealth, our military, or any institution or human structure that is set up in this world.
"Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God." Psalm 20:7
As we vote today let's do so with conviction and with wisdom, but let us be cautious not to reject the true King. There is only one leader who is both perfectly loving and perfectly just and it is to him that our first allegience.