Scripture records many instances in which a nation or an individual determined to pursue a path that was contrary to God’s will. Only one nation in history has been established as a theocracy by divine design. The nation Israel was to have a king, the God of Israel, in actuality the pre-incarnate Christ. Thus God gave her the Law through Moses and all the details for the administration of the nation. What more could a nation desire -- to have One who is perfect in all things to govern over the people?
Yet, during the time of Samuel, God’s prophet and spiritual leader, the people became restless and eyed what appeared to be a better plan than God’s. “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. Now listen to them; but warn them solemnly and let them know what the king who will reign over them will do" (1 Sam 8:4-9 NIV).
Such short-sighted thinking on the part of the majority, as the wisdom and counsel of Samuel was rejected on the pretense that he was old. “Make us like the other nations around us” – mistake – for those nations were to have been destroyed as the Jews possessed the land. “You must destroy all the peoples the LORD your God gives over to you. Do not look on them with pity and do not serve their gods, for that will be a snare to you” (Deut 7:16 NIV).
The surrounding nations were sacrificing their children with fire to the male god Moloch and the female goddess Adrammelech. They were saturated in sexual immorality and its resultant diseases. Thus, Israel was commanded to destroy those living in Palestine lest they contaminate the people and lead them into idolatry. Would the people trust the Living God or disobey in fear the earthly enemy.
God knowing their thoughts said… “You may say to yourselves, "These nations are stronger than we are. How can we drive them out?" But do not be afraid of them; remember well what the LORD your God did to Pharaoh and to all Egypt. You saw with your own eyes the great trials, the miraculous signs and wonders, the mighty hand and outstretched arm, with which the LORD your God brought you out. The LORD your God will do the same to all the peoples you now fear. If the people trusted in the God of Israel, victory would be theirs and their nation would prosper. Courage and faith were needed to accomplish the task and those would only come from resting in the promises of God. “Do not be terrified by them, for the LORD your God, who is among you, is a great and awesome God. The LORD your God will drive out those nations before you, little by little”. (Deut 7:21-22a NIV).
God’s Plan was being rejected, by the nation selected to bring Messiah into the world, chosen to be a repository of the Word of God and commissioned to evangelize the known world of the coming Savior who would go the Cross and pay the sin debt of mankind. Though the faithfulness of God would continue to preserve His people to this day, all the blessings He intended for Israel would have to wait until the nation turned to Christ, and the Messiah, once rejected, would establish His kingdom on earth and rule from Jerusalem as King of Kings and Lord of Lords.