Prophets, Priests, and Kings

From Issue: Discovery 9/1/2000

Most of you live in countries called “democracies.” In these countries, the government is run by the people, or their representatives. This is very different il from an “autocracy” (aw-TOCK-ruh­ see) where the country is ruled by a single. ;person. This ruler could be a dictator, or an absolute monarch like the pharaohs of ancient Egypt.

God intended the nation of Israel to be a “theocracy” (thee-OCK-ruh-see). In this kind of government, the Lord God would be king, and He would rule over a ”kingdom of priests and a holy nation” (Exodus 19:6). The law of the land came from God to Moses. It was Moses’ special job to carry out God’s commands, teach the Law, and settle disputes. After a while, this became too much for one man, so Moses appointed judges to do some of this work for him (Exodus 18:13-26).

Sadly, the Israelites were not good citizens of God’s kingdom .When they entered the Promised Land, they did not keep their side of the bargain. God was going to give them victory in battle, but only if they obeyed His commands. But the Hebrews lacked faith, and they started worshiping other gods. They failed to drive the Canaanites out of the land, and made peace with unbelievers (Judges 2).

A faithless Israel was a weak Israel.

When the mighty Philistine army threatened their borders, the Hebrews rejected God as their King (1Samuel 8:7). They wanted a king like the kings of the nations around them. God granted them their wish, but only because He wanted to preserve His chosen people, and He warned them that life would not be rosy under an earthly king.

Saul was the first king of all Israel. He was anointed in special ceremony by Samuel, who was the last judge and the first prophet. This anointing showed everyone that Saul was approved by God. Of course, God still ruled over His people, and sat in judgment over their king. In fact, God sits in judgment over all the nations of the Earth. Whether a man be king, president, or dicta­ tor, God is Lord of all (Psalm 47).


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