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It's Not You! It's Me!

You've heard those words before, right? Somewhere, in the archives of your past relationships, someone so desperately wanted to get out the relationship that they lied to you. At least they were kind of enough to try and spare your feelings! But you got older and wiser, and well, let's face it, you had to use the line on someone else!

So is this a little blog entry about lying? No. About relationships? No. Actually, maybe. Let's see where this one goes.

In 1 Samuel 8, the people of Israel came to Samuel and asked for a king. While they put they seemed to place the blame on Samuel and his sons the true nature of their request comes out in the passage. Samuel was getting older and unable to lead Israel as he had in the past, and his sons were derelict in the duties, bringing corruption into their leadership. Samuel maybe felt that there was some element of failure on his part. He couldn't control the fact that he was getting too old to lead and he obviously couldn't control his sons who brought a sense of distrust over the people. It would almost seem logical that the people would ask for a king to give them leadership that they, at that point didn't feel they were getting. Really, if Samuel's sons were so out of control, the people of Israel almost look holy and righteous in their appeal.

However, their request that Samuel appoint a king to rule over them was not so noble. The Bible says in 1 Samuel 8:5 They said to him, “You are old, and your sons do not walk in your ways; now appoint a king to lead us, such as all the other nations have.” And there it is. "Such as all the other nations have." It had nothing to do with Samuel getting old or Samuel's basket-case sons! Israel, just wanted to be like everyone else. It would be prophetic and eventually pathetic! They would not only become like other nations by having a king rule over them, but they would stray so far away from God that idolatry would become so common that God would (a few hundred years later) have to purge them of their sin by a Babylonian invasion. It's not that they hadn't dabbled in idolatry prior to asking for a king, but by Jeremiah's time, the practices and rites of idol worship involved such unspeakable human degradation, there was nothing else for God to do but to allow judgment for their sin.

So, what about the "it's not you, it's me" speech. Where does that come in? For once, this speech was used to encourage...and it was the truth! Here's the speech. It comes straight from God to Samuel. Samuel was so upset by what the people had requested that he prays to the Lord (verse 6). Here is God's answer, 1 Samuel 8:7 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. God just told Samuel, it's not you, it's me! He was right. It had nothing to do with Samuel, it was God that they were rejecting. He desired to be their King. He led them, nurtured them and kept them, but now they wanted to be like other nations. They didn't want to be peculiar. They didn't want to be different. They wanted to blend in and look like everyone else. The people were using Samuel and his sons as an excuse to distance themselves from God. It seems that throughout history, man does whatever he can to put more miles between himself and God.

Today,the idea that God should be in charge of our lives grates against the 21st century mindset. We don't want God to tell us what to do. No, we'd rather have some philosopher, hanging on the brink of insanity lead us toward some mind-numbing, hopeless mantra that "everything is relative" and "what's true for you, may not be true for me." Or, we want some entertainer to speak on our behalf and provide a public platform for our skewed moral compass. Even in many churches, we prefer a show, rather than actually meeting to find out that there is a God who desires to change us so that we can shine His light in a dark world. It seems that we are giving the "it's not you, it's me" speech to God. I wonder if His reply isn't simply, "you're right!"

You may try to shake free from God and place distance between you and Him, but it cannot change His love for you! The people of Samuel's day rejected God, but He still loved them, as He will love you no matter how far you try to go to get away from Him.