By, Susan Kuebler
One of the great things about the Bible is that what it tells us about people thousands of years ago can still be applied to people today. Because people, on the whole, don’t really change.
In Chapter 8 of the first book of Samuel, we find the people of Israel surrounded by hostile kingdoms, ruled by absolute monarchs. Instead of trusting in the way they have been governed, by God, through his prophets and judges, they want to adopt the methods of their neighbors. They want a king! They want a strong military leader who can make the decisions. Even after being warned that they will lose many of their rights and privileges, they still want a king. Their fear of enemies overcame their trust in how they had been governed for hundreds of years. Sound familiar?
When I look on the political scene today, in an election year, I see many of the same traits being exhibited by the American people. And it worries me. The fear of terrorism and the perceived weakness of our country throughout the world have led many people to support a candidate who promises to “Make America Great Again.”. Much like the ancient Israelites, they are willing to sacrifice their freedoms in exchange for a sense of security.
Religious freedom has been replaced by the call to ban Muslims, any Muslims, from entering our country. Freedom of speech has been replaced by bombastic, hate-filled rhetoric, and downright lies. Humility is replaced by ego. Persuasion is replaced by name calling and bullying. Compassion is replaced by fear.
The Israelites got their king. They got their military leader and a false sense of security. But they paid a heavy price. The kingship of Israel led to a split in the country, with the eventual downfall of both kingdoms.
If if there is one lesson we can learn from this story it is — be careful what you ask for.