A Focus on the Damage of Secondary Interfaces in the People of God
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Ideal for those getting acquainted with our thought process at Ammi Ruhama Community.
To help us illustrate what Paul has been teaching the Corinthians let us look at what exclusive human power and secondary power structures do to people.
In the time of the Judges in the Old Testament, Samuel was the last ruling prophet and judge. He had eight sons in his old age and he made them judges over Israel but they were wicked and corrupted justice for bribes. So the people protested to Samuel to anoint a king over them; an exclusive ruler to legitimize them among the nations, to keep them safe and to ensure provision for the future. God tells Samuel to capitulate to their demand for a king and , curiously, tells him not to get too emotionally involved or to think that they are rejecting him personally, but that the people were rejecting God and His legitimacy, security and provision for a face they could look on and appeal to directly, a sentiment that Jesus later echoes to His disciples. This is the warning God and Samuel gave to the people before asking if this is what they wanted:
10 So Samuel told all the words of the Lord to the people who were asking for a king from him. 11 He said, “These will be the ways of the king who will reign over you: he will take your sons and appoint them to his chariots and to be his horsemen and to run before his chariots. 12 And he will appoint for himself commanders of thousands and commanders of fifties, and some to plow his ground and to reap his harvest, and to make his implements of war and the equipment of his chariots. 13 He will take your daughters to be perfumers and cooks and bakers. 14 He will take the best of your fields and vineyards and olive orchards and give them to his servants. 15 He will take the tenth of your grain and of your vineyards and give it to his officers and to his servants. 16 He will take your male servants and female servants and the best of your young men[a] and your donkeys, and put them to his work. 17 He will take the tenth of your flocks, and you shall be his slaves. 18 And in that day you will cry out because of your king, whom you have chosen for yourselves, but the Lord will not answer you in that day.”1 Samuel 8:10-18 English Standard Version
“Hold on,” I hear you say. “A governmental change has nothing to do with how the people of God organise themselves. It’s completely different,” and to that I say, “That’s not how God saw it.” Keep in mind that these are the people of God who have received mercy at the time; the nation of priests to declare God’s glory to the nations. God saw the people’s call for a king as a personal affront to Himself and so gives the above warning about placing an intentional secondary interface between God and humanity. He says that the king will eventually be an unfaithful steward of God’s people and tax them, extort them, pull them into wars that are not their own and make space for the world in God’s Kingdom ultimately thinking that it is their kingdom and in that day they would cry out to God whom they have rejected as their king but He will not answer them.
This event is juxtaposed to when God was going to give Moses and the people into the land of Canaan but leave them there. Moses responded that if God was not going to go with them then they would not go either–only at this time the people cried out louder that they should have a king.
Today we no longer ask God for a king, instead, we ask God for a Chief Executive Officer but the warning stands.