One King

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Tuesday, September 13, 2016 0 comments

by Bill Seng

“The Israelites said to Gideon, ‘Rule over us – you, your son and grandson – because you have saved us out of the hand of Midian.’
But Gideon told them, ‘I will not rule over you, nor will my son rule over you. The Lord will rule over you.’” ~Judges 8:22-23

The lust for power is an enticing lure. In a political environment like today’s, it is hard to imagine that anyone would have the audacity, courage, or strength of resolve to refuse an opportunity to seize control over a nation. It is slightly disheartening to think that in order for someone to run for president, he or she must take the initiative to run for that office. What I mean by this is that you must believe that you are the best person for the job. Have you ever thought about the audacity it takes to run for president? Our first president (in the United States) did not have such a reputation.

George Washington was a man renowned for his humility. Now, it has been said that he refused an offer to become the king of the United States, but there are credible sources that would bring this claim into question, thus I will exclude it from one of his noble acts as a leader. What is indisputable is that Washington willingly relinquished power after the Revolutionary War. Considering the dictators that have seized power through force, this alone says that he was a man of tremendous character. Perhaps even more impressive is that he chose to not pursue a third term as President of the United States, despite the temptation to retain power. George Washington knew that he was unworthy of power and that any delusion to believe otherwise would be the first step toward a corrupt mind.

Gideon refused to receive the position of kingship over the Israelites after he had scored a miraculous (literally) victory over the Midianites and their allies. When he was offered the authority to rule, he responded with an answer you wish the Israelites would have taken to heart in the days of Samuel the prophet. At that time, the Israelites demanded that Samuel the prophet anoint the first king over Israel. He was troubled by the request, but God consented. Their response to Samuel’s pleas was, “No! … We want a king over us. Then we will be like all of the other nations, with a king to lead us and go out before us and fight our battles” (1 Samuel 8:19-20). Although it is not evident in the response of the Israelites in the day of Samuel, it is evident in the day of Gideon that the demand for a king actually sprouted from idolatry.

Gideon’s response to the Israelites was, “The Lord will rule over you” (Judges 8:23). God is King. Why do you have a need for a human to rule over you? You silly people. In fact, if you study ancient history, you will notice that time and time again when an individual is appointed king over any group of people, that person will often be considered a god. This was evident in Egypt, Babylon, and even Greece and Rome. We might not think of our leaders in America as gods, but we can just as easily idolize them.

We often fall into the trap of thinking that our chief executive (the president) will solve all of our problems. In 1 Samuel 8, the Israelites state that the king will fight their battles for them; evidently they forgot that their sons would be the soldiers of the king. Leaders and rulers will always disappoint us if they and we forget where their power is derived from. No one has power because of how good or amazing he or she is. God alone grants power to the authorities of this world. George Washington had this figured out and Gideon almost had it figured out. Unfortunately for Gideon and the Israelites, the sin of the nation would not be satisfied until an idol was made and then worshipped. Gideon delivered this request to the Israelites unintentionally by forging an ephod that the entire nation worshipped. Verse 27 records that Gideon and his family were ensnared by idol worship of the ephod. What a disappointment after such a great victory.

Even if you are not a leader according to an official position you occupy, in the Lord’s family we all occupy the position of priests. Thus we are all leaders to someone and need to live lives of humility, always remembering that our position of children of God is only granted through the grace of God. Grace is not grace unless it is undeserved. We should, therefore, be eternally grateful and humbled at the great gift that God has given us.

This forum is meant to foster discussion and allow for differing viewpoints to be explored with equal and respectful consideration.  All comments are moderated and any foul language or threatening/abusive comments will not be approved.  Users who engage in threatening or abusive comments which are physically harmful in nature will be reported to the authorities.