Samuel had grown old, his sons abused their privileges, the ark of God’s presence was gone, andthe nation was ravaged by civil and moral anarchy.
Not only had the glory of God departed,they faced a significant leadership crisis. Threatened by their enemies, the people lusted for aking like the other nations. “So all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel ...They said to him, ‘You are old, and your sons do not walk in your ways; now appoint a king tolead us, such as all the other nations have.’” (1 Sam.8: 4-5 - NIV).
The single greatest change, in the life of God’s people, was signalled. Profound and far reachingconsequences were triggered from this event, determining the spiritual direction of Israel for generations. Their rejection of Samuel for a king was, in effect, the rejection of God as king.They were opting, instead, for human leadership. However, rather than giving them victory over their enemies, it opened the doors to an inrush of idolatry and demonic power, ending in their own defeat and captivity.
Foreshadowed by the Old Testament Church
In this chapter we will uncover the significance, for today’s church, of what was, in reality,Israel’s declaration of independence. As a “type”
, it holds lessons for our day, which, if heeded,will save God’s people from further spiritual abuse, on one hand, and on the other, accelerate hisdesign for the transformation of the world through an end-time outpouring of the Spirit. It prophetically foreshadowed a miss-development in the church, dating from the second century,which quickly established religious strongholds and led the church into Babylonian captivity.
A prophetic generation
While the Reformation touched this miss-development, it remains for a prophetic generation tolay the axe to the root. Like John the Baptist,
it will prepare the way of the Lord by uprootingand confronting the idolatries that led the church into captivity. Centuries old bondages will beshattered as they receive the Father’s heart and a zeal for his house. Through them the house of the Lord will be rebuilt as a house of prayer for all nations. They will deal with root causes – withthe issues of the heart. Emerging from their wilderness preparations, they will propheticallyconfront the historic idolatries of the church. Through brokenness and humility they will pulldown the religious strongholds of pride, that have held her captive to the “elemental spirits of thisworld”
. They will call her back to intimacy with the Bridegroom, and refuse to be motivated by their own need for significance – they will not pursue their own glory. They will see that thechurch has rejected Christ as king for human control. And, like the prophet Hosea, confront theidolatry of human power structures. They too will declare in the white-hot holiness of God’sanger, “Where is your king, that he may save you? Where are your rulers in all your towns, of whom you said, ‘Give me a king and princes’? So in my anger I gave you a king, andin my wrath I took him away” (Hos 13:10-11 NIV). They will see that it was God who satisfiedIsrael’s lust for a king, but also God who would take him away.But before we look at the consequences of Israel’s newfound independence we will consider its