"But the Lord told him, "Listen to the people and everything they say to you. They have not rejected you; they have rejected me as their king." -1 Samuel 8:7
This verse, this scripture right here, completely WRECKED me.
This scripture broke my heart in such a way I could not stay in my rebellion any longer.
I was a very sinful person. I was rebellious, entitled, arrogant, prideful, full of vanity, and many more "ugly" attractions plagued my soul. Our family had just started attending a new church when we suddenly had a new Pastor (Pastor Joy) to lead us (God knew we needed her). Fast forward to a little before January 2020, pre-covid, and Pastor Joy had invited us all to join her in reading a new bible plan for the year. When I saw the reading plan, I was instantly repulsed by the invite: to read the entire Bible in a year! "UMMMMM, NO THANK YOU! I hate the Bible," (I thought).
This Bible had been used against me my whole life as a weapon. People were quoting it to me to tell me how I was going to hell, and it was just downright hateful. People who read the Bible were rude, bigot, bible thumpers who used the Bible to teach people to hate others. That was my opinion, and there was no way I was changing my mind!
Fast forward to January 3, 2020, and I got "creamed" by God with sign-after-sign to challenge myself to read the entire Bible that year. It was so loud and clear that finally, while I was in the shower, I yelled out, "FINE GOD! I WILL READ THE STUPID BIBLE!" Yes, you read that right "STUPID BIBLE" were the words I stated. I followed those words up with, "But ONLY TO PROVE THAT STUPID THING WRONG! You watch! I will find all the hypocrisies and contradictions! I will PROVE THAT STUPID BIBLE WRONG!" (Insert chest puffed up and jaw sticking out body language. You Might as well imagine me with bulky arms and the appearance of what most picture a body builder stance. I got my strut walk going, too!)
BUT, GOD (1 Samuel 8:7)
Fast forward again, this time to March/April 2020, and I have been reading since January (except February when I got really sick). Finally, after going through the rollercoaster of all the books of the Bible (especially the Book of Judges), I got to 1 Samuel. I'm reading along, and BAM: 1 Samuel 8:7, "But the Lord told him, "Listen to the people and everything they say to you. They have not rejected you; they have rejected me as their king."
My heart broke. For the first time in my life, my heart broke FOR God. It was like I stood before God as Samuel and could HEAR God say these words. My heart broke for God. He had been with them from the beginning, clothed them when they took a bite of the fruit, saved them from famine, and delivered them from Egypt. So many wars with just 300 men fought, repeatedly, they cried out to Him, and He delivered them OVER AND OVER AND OVER AGAIN! He never turned His face away when they cried out to Him. And once again, He delivers them, and they respond by wanting to be "like the other nations and have a physical king to be judged by."
"So all the elders of Israel gathered together and went to Samuel at Ramah. They said to him, "Look, you are old, and your sons do not walk in your ways. Therefore, appoint a king to judge us the same as all the other nations have." When they said, "Give us a king to judge us," Samuel considered their demand wrong, so he prayed to the Lord. But the Lord told him, "Listen to the people and everything they say to you. They have not rejected you; they have rejected me as their king. They are doing the same thing to you that they have done to me, since the day I brought them out of Egypt until this day, abandoning me and worshiping other gods. Listen to them, but solemnly warn them and tell them about the customary rights of the king who will reign over them." -1 Samuel 8:4-9
God loves them enough to warn them against what they are asking, not out of His PRIDE (even though He is the ONLY one allowed to have ANY pride whatsoever), but out of love.
"Samuel told all the Lord's words to the people who were asking him for a king. He said, "These are the rights of the king who will reign over you: He will take your sons and put them to his use in his chariots, on his horses, or running in front of his chariots. He can appoint them for his use as commanders of thousands or commanders of fifties, to plow his ground and reap his harvest, or to make his weapons of war and the equipment for his chariots. He can take your daughters to become perfumers, cooks, and bakers. He can take your best fields, vineyards, and olive orchards and give them to his servants. He can take a tenth of your grain and your vineyards and give them to his officials and servants. He can take your male servants, your female servants, your best cattle, and your donkeys and use them for his work. He can take a tenth of your flocks, and you yourselves can become his servants. When that day comes, you will cry out because of the king you've chosen for yourselves, but the Lord won't answer you on that day." The people refused to listen to Samuel. "No!" they said. "We must have a king over us. Then we'll be like all the other nations: our king will judge us, go out before us, and fight our battles." Samuel listened to all the people's words and then repeated them to the Lord. "Listen to them," the Lord told Samuel. "Appoint a king for them." -1 Samuel 8:10-22
God warns them, and He isn't wrong. He predicted everything King Saul was about to do because God KNOWS "man's heart," He KNOWS our flaws. After all, HE CREATED US. He knows where we lack since we took the fruit and ate it. God KNOWS we would much rather be judged by Him than by man. King David eventually figured this fact out when he stated in 2 Samuel 24:14,
"David said to Gad, "I am in deep distress. Let us fall into the hands of the Lord, for his mercy is great; but do not let me fall into human hands." However, as you read above, no matter how hard God tried to intervene on Israel's behalf, they refused to listen.
You see, 1 Samuel 8:7 spelled out what I had never heard or seen before. My whole life, I blamed God for people's actions. I judged God by the "Christians" who were to represent Him. I judged God by the many different religions and what THEY taught me about God. I never realized "religion" was man-made until I read His Beautiful Word for myself. I never realized that MAN is flawed, but our Abba, God, is NEVER flawed because HE IS PERFECT. He is faithful, merciful, beautiful, and full of undying love for us when we do NOT deserve it. I am convinced you can NOT read the Bible cover-to-cover and NOT know His Love for us. You cannot deny that HE LOVES US when you genuinely read His Word as the big "love letter" written for us to KNOW Him. And not to "know OF Him" but to really KNOW GOD (see the previous blog). It is a FACT that is unable to be argued.
HE LOVES US. HE WANTS US. He wants me, He wants you, He wants your family and friends, and (contrary to opinions) HE WANTS THE CHILD MOLESTERS, the murders, the drug dealers, and the sex traffickers. HE WANTS THEIR HEARTS SURRENDERED TO HIM! Because when they come to Him, guess what? They STOP HURTING OTHERS! Because you can't continue in your sin while genuinely pursuing God. It is just not possible. But, once you give way to Him and allow Jesus into your heart, knowing He died on the cross for you to be free from your sins, then BAM, game over; Holy Spirit is activated within you and starts cleaning up the "mess" inside all of us. But His work is never done; until the day we die, Holy Spirit will never complete His Work because we are human.
1 Samuel 8:7 is the verse that got me. It is the verse God knew I needed most to finally start the long journey of submission, surrender, and consecration. This verse reminds me how big of a "jerk" I can be when I think I know it all, when I am entitled, arrogant, rude, etc. It reminds me why I read the Bible cover-to-cover every year. I want to KNOW GOD purely, and I want to KNOW HIS HEART. I am in pursuit of His Heart. I want my heart bound to His Heart, and I know that I cannot stay the same as I have been in the past if I genuinely mean those words. This one single verse saved my life. I will never be able to thank Pastor Joy enough. I will never be able to share the gratitude in my heart for her obedience to read and share with anyone who would listen and accept the challenge. Granted, I took the challenge in all the wrong ways, but GOD KNEW ME BEST. He knew my love and respect for Pastor Joy far exceeded my love and respect for Him at this point in my walk, but He pursued me anyway. He knew my arrogance, pride, and entitlement issues, yet He pursued me anyway. He knew my addictions, sins, and disgusting use of my tongue, yet He pursued me anyway. He knew every single demon I was entertaining and was practically best friends with those demons, yet HE PURSUED ME ANYWAY. He used my love and respect for Pastor Joy to pursue me anyway. We serve an incredible God!
What verse "gets" you every single time you read it? I have many more now, lol, but this is the ONE that started it all. 1 Samuel 8:7 is the verse God used to open my eyes to see Him for the first time. This verse is the one that sealed the deal, and I was undone! As Jesus stated on the cross, "TETELESTAI (IT IS FINISHED)!" The old Allie had died, and the NEW was born again. Only God could take someone like me, who hated the Bible with every breath of my being, and turn it around to being a crusader for His Word. I want to shout it on the rooftops and climb the highest peak to tell the world to stop and read His Word. Every single day, just read God's AMAZING Word. I could honestly go on and on, but I will finally bring this post to an end with seven simple little words: read your Bible; you won't regret it!