“Once you have entered the land the Lord your God is giving you and you have taken possession of it and settled down in it, you might say: ‘Let’s appoint a king over us, as all our neighboring nations have done.’ You can indeed appoint over you a king that the Lord your God selects. You can appoint over you a king who is one of your fellow Israelites. You are not allowed to appoint over you a foreigner who is not one of your fellow Israelites” (Deut. 17:14-15 CEB).
Israel would not see a king for a long time. The nation would know prophets, judges, even warriors who, under divine leadership, propelled the country into a lasting covenant with God. There appeared to be no need for a king. If the Hebrew people listened in the first place, their Creator was the only monarch they needed to continue. It appears that the covenant was not enough. And so, even in this last book of the Torah, God knew that the day would come when the chosen people would look around at the other nations and say, “This is not enough. We need a king. Everyone else has one, why shouldn’t we?”
At this point, we could get on our moral high horses, point out the flaw in their need for someone to lead other than God, and act as judge and jury. “What fools they must have been to not fully rely on God,” becomes our battle cry. We scream condemnation to the top of our lungs as if we are any better than our ancient brothers and sisters. The need to blend in (we want to look like “those” people) becomes our downfall as the envy in our hearts replaces our willingness to sit still and listen to the leadership of the Most High God.
The story of Israel is not too far off from our own struggles. We want this gadget, that car, or that job opportunity that will change everything. Our need to desire what we think will make us whole is so overpowering, that such toxic noise drowns out the commanding voice of God. Our eyes and ears fix their attention on the possibilities of progress, and the still small voice of God is not heard anymore.
Hear the Good News, even though the voice could not be heard does not mean it left the building. God’s presence remained the same refusing to let go of our hearts; even in our worst possible moments. We were the ones who turned away, not our Creator. This One, who remained steady and faithful refused to let us go. Holy Love did not enter a covenant with us, only to give up. It continues to call us, reminding us that we are children rich in love and faith.
May we let go of the “kings” in our lives that hold on to us with one sole purpose; to destroy our faith. Let us match God’s love with all that we are and all that we will be. We can remember the one statement of our faith, “Christ died for us while we were yet sinners. That proves God’s love toward us. In the name of Jesus Christ, you are forgiven” (UMC Hymnal pg. 12). With the confidence of the children of God, we say “Amen.”