1 Samuel 7-8, Romans 6

The Reign of God.

1 Samuel 7-8, Romans 6

But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life.For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.. – Romans 6:22-23 ESV

At this point in the story of the people of God recorded in 1 Samuel, we find them demanding that Samuel, their judge, appoint for them a human king. It wasn’t necessarily wrong that the people were asking for a king. God had long ago told them that this day would come. But he had also told them the kind of king they should look for. “When you come to the land that the Lord your God is giving you, and you possess it and dwell in it and then say, I will set a king over me, like all the nations that are around me, you may indeed set a king over you whom the Lord your God will choose. One from among your brothers you shall set as king over you” (Deuteronomy 17:14-15 ESV). God had made provision for a king to reign and rule over Israel. But at this point in time, the demand of the people for a king really revealed their rejection of God as their true King. “Obey the voice of the people in all that they say to you, for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected me from being king over them” (1 Samuel 8:7 ESV). For years they had been rejecting God’s reign over their lives by continually disobeying His commands. Without knowing it, they were living under the rule and reign of their own sinful habits and behaviors. They were motivated by their lusts, driven by their passions, and controlled by their evil desires. And now they wanted “a king to judge us like all the nations” (1 Samuel 8:5 ESV). In their minds, the answer to all their problems was an earthly king, not a heavenly one.

What does this passage reveal about God?

It is amazing how God had always made provision for these moments. He had predicted it would happen and it did. He knew this day would come because He is sovereign and omniscient. He knows all. He even knew the motivation of their hearts and what was really behind their demand for a king. So God warned them exactly what would happen if they got what they were asking for. He told them their king would conscript their sons into his army. He would amass for himself horses and chariots, in violation of God’s commands (Deuteronomy 17:16). He would force their daughters to work for him as perfumers, cooks and bakers. He would tax them beyond belief, taking the best of their fields, vineyards, orchards and flocks. He would even forcibly take their slaves and servants and put them to work for himself. In essence, the people of Israel would become slaves of their king. And yet, in spite of this warning, the people said, “No! But there shall be a king over us, that we may also be like all the nations, and that our king may judge us and go out before us and fight our battles” (1 Samuel 8:19-20 ESV).

What does this passage reveal about man?

They were expecting from a mere man what they should have known was the responsibility of God. They wanted an earthly king to judge them and do battle for them. But that was God’s job, and He had done it quite effectively for many years. But they were dissatisfied with God’s reign over their lives. They had a better idea. They had a better solution to their problem.

In chapter six of Romans, Paul talks about the reign of God in the life of the believer. We were once slaves to sin, but have been set free by God and are now slaves to righteousness. “But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness” (Romans 6:17-18 ESV). At one time, our lives were marked by slavery to sin. We couldn’t help but sin. But because of Christ’s death on the cross, He was able to pay the penalty due because of our sin, and replaced our sinfulness with His own righteousness. He made us right with God. As a result, Paul encourages us, “just as you once presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness leading to sanctification” (Romans 6:19 ESV).

How would I apply what I’ve read to my own life?

I am to live as a slave to righteousness, doing what it demands, not what my old sinful nature demands. It am to obey righteousness, not wickedness. Paul puts it this way, “But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life” (Romans 6:22 ESV). Ultimately, I am to live as a slave to God, willingly obeying His commands, and faithfully following the life of righteousness His own Son modeled. God is my King. He is my Judge. He is the Captain of the army of heaven. He is the one who is to lead me into battle. He is the one who is to direct my path and determine my destiny. And any time I try to place a new king over my life, I am essentially rejecting the one true King. Any time I turn to anyone or anything other than God to fight my battles or judge my life, I am rejecting the rule and reign of God in my life.

Father, You are my God and King. But I confess that I often reject Your rule and reign over my life by doing things my own way. Too often I appoint myself king of my life or I turn to someone or something else and allow them to direct my life. In doing so, I reject You. I even allow myself to become enslaved to sin at times, falling back under its spell and living as if I was under its control again. But Your Son died so that I might be free from the rule of sin and that I might live in obedience to the reign of righteousness in my life. Help me live my life so it reflects my submission to Your rightful reign as the King of my life. Amen

Ken Miller
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men

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