It was not uncommon for the appointed judge over Israel to also minister to the people on behalf of God. Such was the judge/prophet Samuel. When Samuel was getting on in years, 1 Samuel 8 says that he appointed his sons as judges over Israel. There was one small problem with this: “his sons did not walk in his ways; they turned aside after dishonest gain, took bribes, and perverted justice” (vs. 3). In verse 5 we learn that the elders of Israel come to Samuel and bluntly suggest, “Look, you are old, and your sons do not walk in your ways. Now make us a king to judge us like all the nations.”
Their request for a king was not the problem. Gen. 17:6 and Deut. 17:14-20 both foretold that having a king would be in Israel’s future. The problem was the last part of the request--a king to judge us like all the nations. The irony in this is that the sons do not judge in a godly way, yet neither do the surrounding nations! The crux of the matter is that the people didn’t want to be living object lessons of life under God. They didn’t want to be different; they wanted to be like everyone else around them.
When Samuel informs God of this latest rebellious choice, God tells it like it is. “It is not you they have rejected, but they have rejected me as their king. As they have done from the day I brought them up out of Egypt until this day, forsaking me and serving other gods, so they are doing to you.” In short, nothing new here—it’s the two trees in the Garden all over again. God’s people keep settling for what they think is good enough, rather than life under God’s kingdom. And as is so often the case, it brings about evil.
God tells Samuel to go ahead and give the people what they want, but to be sure that he gives them a clear warning. “Let them know what the king who will reign over them will claim as his rights.” Furthermore, “when that day comes, you will cry out for relief from the king you have chosen, but the Lord will not answer you in that day.”
Sure enough, that is what happens. They had a handful of good kings, but remember, good is settling for less than God’s best. Not surprisingly, they had more bad kings. It started with Saul, which didn’t go so well. Just ask his successor, David, who was good, but certainly not stellar. The next was Solomon, who excelled with God’s wisdom. That is, until he got bored with that and went after worldly wisdom as well (probably through the encouragement of his foreign wives).
From there on, things pretty much went sour. The kingdom split into the northern kingdom of Israel and the southern kingdom of Judah. All but one of the kings of the north was bad, and the one was a mixture of both good and bad. The southern kingdom faired a bit better: they had four good kings and four kings who were both good and bad, but the remaining 12 were bad. Not surprisingly, God raised up prophets to speak on His behalf to the leaders and the people. The Israelites record for listening to the prophets was likewise spotty. Eventually, the northern kingdom was conquered and taken into captivity. The southern kingdom was also conquered a bit later.
The prophet Hosea spoke of what would come in response to their disobedience. Yet there was a glimmer of hope in his call to repentance (Hosea 6:1-3). “Come, and let us return to the Lord;
for He has torn, but He will heal us; He has stricken, but He will bind us up. After two days He will revive us; on the third day He will raise us up, that we may live in His sight. Let us know, let us pursue the knowledge of the Lord. His going forth is established as the morning; He will come to us like the rain, like the latter and former rain to the earth.”
The Chronos Lesson: At first glance, it would seem that Israel would be torn and stricken for two regular 24-hour days and then healed. But that doesn’t make sense, especially given the rest of the story recorded in Hosea. This is a clue that what Hosea is really talking about is God’s timetable of 1,000-year great Days. The two Days of being torn and stricken are the 2,000 years of the Jewish “timeout,” when Jerusalem was overtaken, the Temple was destroyed, and the people scattered. For two Days the Gospel was preached to the Gentiles—what we call the Church Age. The 3rd Day of healing is yet to come; it is the 3rd Day when counting from Christ. It is when Christ returns for His Bride at the last Day.
The prophet Jeremiah records a timely promise made to the House of David and to Israel (Jer. 23:5-6). “Behold, the days are coming,” says the Lord, “that I will perform that good thing which I have promised to the house of Israel and to the house of Judah: In those days and at that time I will cause to grow up to David a Branch of righteousness; He shall execute judgment and righteousness in the earth. In those days Judah will be saved, and Jerusalem will dwell safely. And this is the name by which she will be called: THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.”
The Branch, of course, is Jesus Christ, our righteousness. When He comes a second time, the remnant of Israel will not miss this visitation. When they see Him coming in the clouds at the rapture, our resurrection triggers their 3rd Day revival. They will be grafted into the Vine. The bottom line is this: why settle for a mere king when you can have the King of kings! As for the Davidic Kingdom, stay tuned.