God called Abraham to start a nation that He would call His own, one in which all the nations of the world would be blessed through. God called others to lead Israel after the death of Abraham and his descendants: Moses, Joshua, several judges such as Gideon, Samson, and the final judge, Samuel. The Israelites wanted to be like the other nations, coming to Samuel saying, “Make us a king to judge us like all the nations” (1 Samuel 8:5). Samuel took the request personal; he felt that the people were displeased with him. However, God said to him, “Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee: for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them. Now therefore hearken unto their voice: howbeit yet protest solemnly unto them, and shew them the manner of the king that shall reign over them” (1 Samuel 8:7, 9).
Samuel went into great detail of how difficult and awful it would be for Israel to have a king, but they didn’t listen, they wanted to be like other nations. Saul and David were the first two kings, and under their leadership things went okay for Israel. However, everything drastically changed when Solomon became king. He took the lands of the Israelites for his own, he took their sons and daughters to work for him, treating them like slaves, and he greatly taxed the people. After his death, the kingdom was torn in two, the southern kingdom of Judah and the northern kingdom of Israel. Horrible and evil kings in the northern kingdom of Israel led to the nation being taken captive by the Assyrians in approximately 740 BC. It would be almost 150 years later, in 597 BC that Judah was taken captive by the Babylonians. Why did God withhold judgement for so long on Judah? Unlike the northern kingdom of Israel, Judah did have several kings that looked to God for leadership. Abijah, Jehoshaphat, Jotham, Hezekiah, and Josiah, all sought God’s wisdom and direction throughout their reign as kings. None of them were perfect, nor were they the only kings during those aforementioned 150 years. But undoubtedly God withheld judgement as a result of their commitment to Him. America is not like the Old Testament Israel, whose government was a dictatorship. Most of us believe God has spared judgement on America because of the Godly lives of thousands of Christians and government officials (not just presidents) who have sincerely sought to please God and look to Him as the Supreme Leader.
The story of Israel’s history should encourage us to vote for Godly men and women, to continue to pray, to confess our sins, and to beg Him for continued mercy on America.
Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16).