…you said to me, ‘No, but a king shall reign over us,’ when the LORD your God was your king. Now therefore, here is the king whom you have chosen and whom you have desired. And take note, the LORD has set a king over you.
God did not want His people to have a king. When He brought them out of Egypt, they had just spent 400 years living the horrors of serving a king. They knew how short a leap it is from king to despot, from ruler to oppressor. Beginning with Joseph, Pharaoh had taken 20% of everything in Egypt for himself. God brought His people out of that bondage and told them in the wilderness, “If you serve me, I will only demand 10% of your income.” God’s kingship was fair, just, and compassionate.
Yet, after all God had done, Israel still demanded a king. Samuel warned them of the cost of getting their desire. He warned them that God still wanted to lead them Himself, and by choosing a human king over God, they were sacrificing eternal security for some temporary fix to their problems.
There’s a lesson in this story for us as well. As Christians, we know the hardship of serving under Pharaoh, the weight of living under the power of sin and the world. Yet God, in His mercy, has delivered us from that bondage. He has offered to lead us, not just as a king, but as a loving Father.
Yet we have demanded a king. We have not been comfortable serving God directly, and have asked for our king to lead us. Our king? Religion. Religion takes the thinking out of following God. Instead of seeking Him and listening to Him, we just have to follow the rules. Instead of sitting at the feet of Christ and listening to His voice, we can listen to a sermon and just do as we’re told.
But what price have we paid for our king religion? We have sacrificed the power of the Holy Spirit. We have sacrificed the true power to change the world. We have given up the thrill of hearing His voice and knowing Him for ourselves. “Not true!” you say? Look at places in the world where religion does not yet rule. Look at house churches in China, or secret groups in Islamic countries. The power of the Holy Spirit to rock the world is alive in well in those places where religion does not dominate God’s people. In fact, in those places, religion is on the side of the state, persecuting and killing Christ’s followers.
It is always the end of religion. A king that demands more than we can pay, a leader that has become an oppressor. We have traded spiritual freedom for security, and have ended up with neither. We live in a world full of walking wounded, millions of victims of the king religion.
Christ still wants to be our king. He still wants to lead us as a loving Shepherd. If we choose to forsake our king religion and follow King Jesus, a new life of freedom is waiting for us.
Do we dare?
#1 by Laine Blamik on May 3, 2011 - 11:39 PM
Thank you David, it’s an interesting subject. Perhaps religion is not so much the problem as those who arrogantly miss handle it, be that for lack of experience, knowledge and and appropriate amounts of study. I can recount many who have suffered due to a lack of emotional/sexual restraint and self discipline on the part of various religious leaders and/or those in positions of influence and authority as far as church world is concerned. As I have often said to our other friend David. I despised organized religion until I came into intimate contact with disorganized religion. Now Organized religion managed and conducted by a humble Godly individual seems a necessary component to our corporate growth together in the various houses of God. If I have missed any other point that you are bringing to our attention please let me know and I will examine the ideas further. Thank you for your Page and unshakable Testimony for Jesus Christ. Freddy Laine Blamik
#2 by Dave Kirby on May 4, 2011 - 10:48 AM
Thanks for your comment. I really appreciate you reading and, more importantly, thinking about what I say. I don’t claim to have all the answers, so I’m always open to being challenged and questioned.
I am not advocating some sort of spiritual anarchy. I believe in leadership and accountability.
What I’m talking about is a religion that has taken the power of the Holy Spirit and codified it into a set of rules. These rules then release me from my responsibility to seek God, to anguish over a lost world, to die to self and live through Him. Instead, I can just follow the rules, do what I’m told and fit into the group and feel good about myself. I’m talking about a religion that tells me what to believe, so that I am released from my responsibility to hear God myself through study of His word and prayer.
#3 by Lorraine on May 3, 2011 - 11:43 PM
Yes, so true. In Francis Chan’s words (from Forgotten God), the church is filled with so much that is “stoppable”, whereas the moving of the Spirit of God is unstoppable! Tozer used to say that the Holy Spirit is operating in power where the people are plowing the land, not letting it lie fallow. Lots of reminders of this are floating around these days – surely the Holy Spirit is waking up the sleeping Body of Christ – let’s hope and pray so. Thanks for the great post.
#4 by Claire on May 4, 2011 - 7:06 AM
Very timely words, and very true. I’ve sent this on to members of my house church. Thanks, and keep ’em coming.
#5 by Dave Kirby on May 4, 2011 - 10:41 AM
Thanks. I’ll just keep saying what I hear God saying to me.