7 And the Lord said unto Samuel, Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee: for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them.1 Samuel 8:7 King James Version (KJV)
Saul was the first King in Israel and had a bright future. However, he began rejecting the prophet of the Lord and fell.
David was the most righteous King up until his 50’s when he conspired to have Bathsheba’s husband killed to avoid the shame of his adultery.
Solomon was righteous, until he brought in the heathen worship of false idols.
This history is repeated from Jeroboam to Hezekiah: most of the time, the people are wicked, with wicked Kings. They begin to be destroyed, but the Lord is merciful when they repent and blesses them. Once blessed, they turn back to their wickedness and the pattern is repeated for hundreds of years.
The sad lesson of the Old Testament is that when Israel repents and listens to the prophets, they prosper and when they do not listen, when they reject the prophets, and by extension, the Lord, they falter – and yet, somehow, even with centuries of examples throughout their history, they more often than not, reject the prophets! Ultimately, bringing about the entire scattering of the people and the destruction of Jerusalem.
There are a number of lesson’s and I want to outline some of the more interesting ones:
- The Lord respects our free agency. When Israel said they wanted a King, the Lord allowed it, because it is what they had chosen. It also came with a promise that if the people were righteous, the Lord would continue to bless them, but if they forgot the Lord, he would not prosper them.
- Every time the people repented, the Lord blessed them. Every time! It did not matter how awful they had been, if they would repent, He would turn things around for them. The problem at the end was that they did not repent.
- Human nature is such, that even the most righteous Kings were human and faltered. This may be the most important lesson, that we are never so righteous that we cannot fall. We must always be on guard, so as not to forget the Lord. When we listen to the Lord, and His prophets we will prosper and be blessed. Reject Him, and we are left to ourselves.