Summary: Long before the British royalty, the Bible tells the story of Israel’s royalty. Yet, many of us know so much less about Israel’s royal line than England’s royal line.
On the birthday of “The King” Elvis Presley, I am grateful to have you join me for a study of royalty.
Some people think that America may have never known “President” George Washington had he had a desire to be King George I. George Washington is our nation’s first military hero because he scratched together a victory during Revolutionary War where there was certain defeat. The military commander of the continental forces from 1775 onward, he led the small army through the hardships of Valley Forge through the perilous crossing of the Delaware to eventual triumph at Yorktown. A man of tremendous character and few people have been the leaders that the husband of Martha provided our fledging nation. It’s no wonder that 7 months after his decisive victory at Yorktown that the war itself turned, there were soon calls for Washington to become America’s first king. Years later, Washington stepped down from his second term as President where the nation saw the peaceful transfer of power to President John Adams.
Since we have no monarchy, Americans love the British monarchy. The American actress, Meghan Markle, recently married Prince Harry. And many people have watched the Emmy-awarded TV show, The Crown. My wife, Traci, and me enjoyed the show and learned so much that we didn’t know. Really, Americans see the British royalty as a tax-funded soap opera. We wake up in the middle of the night to watch the wedding of Prince William or years before the wedding of Princess Diana. In 2011, close to 23 million Americans woke up early to watch the wedding of Prince William and Catherine, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, according to Nielsen. In 1981, before cable TV, the wedding of Prince Charles and Diana, Princess of Wales, was one of the most-watched televised events of the 1980s in the United States. I think my wife still has the wedding on VHS to this day somewhere! Another 30 million people watched Diana’s funeral in 1997.
Long before the British royalty, the Bible tells the story of Israel’s royalty. Yet, many of us know so much less about Israel’s royal line than England’s royal line. Wouldn’t it be a shame for a believer to appear before the Lord in Heaven knowing more about the royal family of Windsor than the royal family of Israel?
The Significance of Israel’s Royal Family
To understand the significance of the Israel’s royalty, you need parts of their story fill the pages of your future. To know more about the King you will bow down to, you need to understand something about the kings of the past (Philippians 2:10). Yes, to understand your future, you need to understand the kings in Israel’s past. Even better, to understand Christmas, you have to know something about the royal line of Israel. Yes, Christmas grew out of the royalty of Israel. Find with me 1 Samuel 8 and place a bookmark at Deuteronomy 17 also, if you will.
1. The People Demand a King
Samuel is the last of Israel’s judges. He is a priest and prophet right before the period of monarchy in Israel. In fact, he was the last of the judges but is considered the first of the prophets. Now, he’s in his declining years and the nation rejects his leadership in favor of a king. Remember, Israel is still under threat from the neighboring nations, especially the Philistines. Samuel has lead well as evidenced by the story in chapter 7 but this is still a really unstable time for the nation of Israel.
It’s right here that the elders of Israel approach Samuel with a request: “Then all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah 5 and said to him, “Behold, you are old and your sons do not walk in your ways. Now appoint for us a king to judge us like all the nations.” 6 But the thing displeased Samuel when they said, “Give us a king to judge us.” And Samuel prayed to the Lord. 7 And the Lord said to Samuel, “Obey the voice of the people in all that they say to you, for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected me from being king over them. 8 According to all the deeds that they have done, from the day I brought them up out of Egypt even to this day, forsaking me and serving other gods, so they are also doing to you. 9 Now then, obey their voice; only you shall solemnly warn them and show them the ways of the king who shall reign over them.” 10 So Samuel told all the words of the Lord to the people who were asking for a king from him” (1 Samuel 8:4-10).
1.1 Political Stability