THEY HAVE REJECTED ME
Rev. Anthony Martlew, Dip. Th.
"Then all the elders of
Israel gathered themselves together, and came to Samuel unto Ramah, And said unto him,
Behold, thou art old, and thy sons walk not in thy ways: now make us a king to judge us
like all the nations. But the thing displeased Samuel, when they said, Give us a king to
judge us. And Samuel prayed unto the Lord. 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." - (I SAMUEL 8: 4-7)
THIS surely is one of the saddest episodes in Israels early history. How short the human memory is when it comes to remembering the mercies of Jehovah! Just over three hundred years previously they had witnessed the mighty deliverance of the embryo nation from a cruel captivity. With their own eyes their ancestors had seen the cream of Pharaohs army disappear beneath the waters of the Red Sea. They had experienced the Lords leading, protection and provision in the wilderness.
Through Moses, they had been given the Law, and their national charter, the Covenants, which were theirs by Divine Right. Yet, in spite of all this, they were dissatisfied and looked to the gentile nations, and admired their way of life. They no longer wanted Jehovah and His representative Samuel to rule them. They grumbled that Samuel was old. (This makes us think of the modern worship of youth, with no regard for the experience and wisdom which come with age). Samuel did the right thing,
for he prayed unto the Lord.
Possibly, Samuel may have expected the Lord to give the elders of Israel a strong reprimand, but He did not. Instead, he told Samuel to ... Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee ... No doubt Samuel was somewhat surprised, but he was close enough to the Lord to obey His instructions without question.
It is what the Lord then said to Samuel which is so poignant:
... for they have not
rejected thee, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them...
There are many people today who are of the opinion that God is impersonal and that, after He created the Universe, He lost interest in its affairs. It appears to be beyond their comprehension that God has feelings and emotions. The Psalmist tells us that Israel provoked and grieved him in the desert:
How oft did they provoke him in the wilderness, and grieve him in the desert! - (PSALM 78:40),
and Paul warns us not to grieve
the Holy Spirit of God. Clearly, Jehovah was grieved that Israel no longer wanted him as
their King, but nevertheless, He granted their request for an earthly king. Not only did
He do this gracious thing, but He made a Covenant between Himself, and the kingly line in
At the commencement of this new
century it is clear that attitudes have not changed. In the same way that Israel of old
had the testimony of the Lords guidance and protection, so we too have abundant
evidence of the Lords overruling in our Islands history.
The reader is, no doubt, aware of such events as the Spanish Armada, and more recently, Dunkirk. A more comprehensive list would be a study in itself, but still the nations memory is painfully short. All these wonderful interventions, which saved us from foreign aggression, have been ignored or glossed over in modern history books. Children today have little concept of the
marvellously rich heritage which is theirs by right. Instead, they are force-fed with an idealism which emanates from Europe, a culture which is of the world, not of the Lord.
Today, we have spurned our inheritance just as surely as Esau did. We should give thanks every day for the Lords provision of the Abrahamic Covenant. The special feature of this Covenant is that it is unconditional; that is to say that the Lord will honour it, regardless of the fact that the nation has broken her part of it throughout all generations.
In spite of our rejection of the Lord, at this critical time we need to know whether He will intervene once again. Thankfully, the answer is yes. The way in which He will do this, and the results of that intervention, cannot be discussed in a short article such as this. However, there is an all-important feature which must be mentioned because the onus is upon us, as a nation, to act. The first move must come from us, not from the Lord.
Since the distressing events which commenced on 11th September last year, there has been a spark of interest in spiritual matters. Many churches were filled with mourning relatives and friends, both in the U.S.A. and in Britain. Nevertheless, as moving as those special services were, there was a missing dimension; one word was missing which would have made all the difference. That word was repentance. It was all very well expressing sorrow, grief, love and a desire to build for the future. As important as these sentiments are, they are only peripheral to the one issue that matters most, national repentance.
Our blindness today is staggering. Our politicians, with grins on their faces, place laws upon our Statute books, many of which contravene Gods Laws. People accept it all, not having the slightest notion that anything is untoward.
It could be that sooner rather than later, something will happen to this blinded nation which will stir the peoples realisation of the fact that we cannot continue to leave God out of our national life. What that event will be, we have no idea at present, but, whatever happens, it will be of such magnitude that all, from the least to the greatest, will suddenly be awakened to the fact that we are unable to go it alone. The realisation will be such that we will know that we have rejected the One True God, who has been faithful to us in spite of our rejection of Him.
May that day be soon!
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