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The History of Israel

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The history of Israel, specifically during the Untied Kingdom period saw a country-seeking normalcy with a sovereign king in charge. The children of Israel were finishing a period where Judges governed over them.  Some of the judges were influential good leaders such as Joshua. Following God’s direction and guidance.  Others, like Gideon were timid but effective.  However, a few of the judges were weak, selfish, jealous, individuals lacking judgment that allowed sin into their decision making and lives.  This led to their downfall and chaos in their respective areas that they were leading or judging.  An example of one of these judges was Samson.  Chosen by God, he allowed sexual desires via Delilah to get the best of him and it caused his downfall.  Samuel, the prophet appointed his two sons as the last judges of Israel.  The sons did not walk in the ways of God.  They were dishonest, perverted the law and took bribes.  Because of love for his sons Samuel didn’t see their flaws.  The Bible states in 1st Samuel chapter 8 verses 4 & 5 (NIV), “So all of the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah.  They said to him, You are old, and your sons do not follow your ways; now appoint a king to lead us, such as all the other nations have.”   Samuel was troubled by this, definitely his human side was coming out. Samuel took the children of Israel’s demands for a king as a rejection of his sons leadership.  No one accepts rejection gracefully but in his heart of hearts he had to know what his sons were doing.  Samuel being a Godly man prayed, seeking counsel with the Lord.  God counseled Samuel informing him in verse 7,  “And the Lord told him:  Listen to all that the people are saying to you; it is not you they rejected, but they have rejected me as their king.  As they have done from the day I have brought them up out of Egypt until this day forsaking me and serving other gods, so they are doing to you.  Now listen to them; but warn them solemnly and let them know what the king who will reign over them will claim as his rights” Samuel confronted the children of Israel and let them know what a king would mean to their existence.  He will take, take and take.  From your children, to your land and the best of your slaves and animals he will take for his own. Even your selves will become salves to this king.  When you have finally had enough and pray for deliverance from this king, God will forsake you and not answer.  They refused to listen exclaiming, “We want a King!”  A need by God’s children for a king follows the same pattern that had dogged the children of Israel from their days in bondage.  They long and cry out for deliverance to God.  Finally, God in his time delivers them.  However, this time God decides to forsake his children when in the future he knows they will be calling out his name for deliverance.  

Saul the son Kish was chosen to be the first king of the Kingdom of Israel.  The number of years Saul reigned, as king is questionable according to most historians. The Qur’an has Saul reigning for 22 to 25 years.   The Bible states in Acts Chapter 13 verse 21, (NIV),  “And afterward they desired a king: and God gave unto them Saul the son of Cis, a man of the tribe of Benjamin, by the space of forty years.”   Regardless, of the number of years he reigned he was chosen by God and anointed through Samuel.  The question is why, Saul?  Let’s start with his name, Saul, which means, “asked for”.  The children of Israel from the beginning of time and documented in the bible have continually asked for guidance, assistance and help.  This was their latest “asked for” requesting a king.  Saul is described as a man’s man.  Tall and broad shouldered standing a head taller than everyone else.  Good looking by most accounts with a strong character and a devotion to his family as described by the dedication to finding his fathers lost donkeys without question.  His determination in finding the lost donkeys presented the characteristic of going out of his way for others.  Saul descends from the tribe of Benjamin.  This tribe had a history of being great warriors. To be a great warrior one must be a great leader probably one of the reasons God chose Saul, to protect Israel.  God rejected Saul, because of his disobedience.  Saul was told by God to attack the Amalekites and totally destroy them. Sparing no man, woman, child, donkey, camel cattle or sheep.  But Saul disobeyed God sparing the Amalekites king named Agag along with his best sheep, cattle, and lambs. Saul made excuses to Samuel when they met claiming he took the best of the plunder to sacrifice to the Lord.  Samuel replied in 1st Samuel chapter 17 verses 22 and 23 (NIV), “Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as mush as obeying the Lord?  To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better that the fat of rams.  For rebellion is like the sin of divination, and arrogance like the evil of idolatry.  Because you have rejected the word of the Lord, he has rejected you as king.”  It was the beginning of the end for Saul.

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