God Himself was their King, but that was not enough for the nation of Israel, resulting in them demanding an earthly king like “all the other nations”; which, like the human judges, quickly led to disappointment.
“But when they said, ‘Give us a king to lead us,’ this displeased Samuel; so he prayed to the Lord. And the Lord told him: ‘Listen to all that the people are saying to you; it is not you they have rejected, but they have rejected me as their king’” (1 Samuel 8:6-7).
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God appointed David to reign as the second king over Israel and entered into a covenant with him (known as the Davidic Covenant), a significant moment in the narrative of the Bible, as Jesus Christ (the King of Kings) would come from the earthly line of King David.
“Your house and your kingdom will endure forever before me; your throne will be established forever” (2 Samuel 7:16).
God required the kings of Israel to lead in obedience to His law but the majority of them “did evil in the eyes of the Lord,” encouraging idolatry (the worship of false gods) rather than confronting it, resulting in judgment and the division of the nation of Israel into two kingdoms (Israel and Judah).
“So the Lord said to Solomon, ‘Since this is your attitude and you have not kept my covenant and my decrees, which I commanded you, I will most certainly tear the kingdom away from you and give it to one of your subordinates. Nevertheless, for the sake of David your father, I will not do it during your lifetime. I will tear it out of the hand of your son. Yet I will not tear the whole kingdom from him, but will give him one tribe for the sake of David my servant and for the sake of Jerusalem, which I have chosen’” (1 Kings 11:11-13).
The rebellion of the kings of Israel and Judah resulted in God allowing His people to be taken captive, paved the way for the prophets, and foreshadowed the coming King (Jesus) who would live in complete obedience to the will of God.
“The Israelites persisted in all the sins of Jeroboam and did not turn away from them until the Lord removed them from his presence, as he had warned through all his servants the prophets. So the people of Israel were taken from their homeland into exile in Assyria…” (2 Kings 17:22-23).
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