Hard times, it would seem, call for desperate measures. When our boat is engulfed within the waves, among the first things we pitch overboard are our convictions. Ordinarily I might worry that those old-fashioned life vests make me look fat. But, to utterly muddy the waters of the metaphor, any port in a storm.
That ship of state that God established, the nation of Israel, was being dashed against the rocks severely as the period of the judges waned. Every man did what was right in his own eyes. What was needed was some leadership, some authority, a strong hand. Everyone Knew it. The trouble was, everyone wanted a kind of leadership that was right in his own eyes. The people did not cry out to God for deliverance, but instead cried out that they would have a king like all the other nations. God instructed Samuel the prophet to warn the people about what the kings of other nations did. They were rapacious in taxation, consuming 10 percent of their subjects’ wealth; they were empire-builders, sending their subjects’ sons to die in foreign wars; and they even put their subject’s daughters to work in their palaces (see 1 Sam. 8).
God had promised that a day would come when He would establish His king. The cries of the people didn’t hasten that day; they only precipitated a calamitous detour. But God finally sat David upon the throne. Finally the rest promised to God’s people was about to come. Or was it?
There is an important difference between David and Saul. One served as a model of the kings of the nations. The other was to serve as a model of the King of kings. But they have this in common—neither was the King of kings. The warning against placing one’s trust in princes applied even to David, though he was a man after God’s heart. And that same warning applies today. In times of trouble, we grab any life preserver thrown our way. In times of turmoil, we cry out for someone to rule over us. But there is only one King for us, and only one kingdom that is our home.
As we seek to live coram Deo, before the face of God, let us remember to do it on our faces. Let us remember that He will brook no other gods before Him, and so bow to no man, save Him who is the true Son of David, our one and only true King.