Todays readings come from 1 Samuel 10 & 11 and Revelation 3:1-6.
Rejection hurts. Even when it’s not a big deal, rejection hurts.
Reading 1 Samuel 10, I am struck by the rejection theme. The Lord God says:
I brought Israel up out of Egypt, and I delivered you from the power of Egypt and all the kingdoms that oppressed you.’ But you have now rejected your God, who saves you out of all your disasters and calamities. And you have said, ‘No, appoint a king over us.’ (1 Sam 10:18-19)
What a tragedy that unfolds before us. The beginning of the Kingship of Israel is born out of the rejection of God!
He was their King, the one who had rescued them out of Egypt.
He was their King, who did not forsake them in the desert, but wandered with them for 40 years!
He was their King who had led them into the promised land, winning battle after battle for the Israelites.
He was their King who had shown himself faithful to the promise to Abraham.
He was their King who desired to bless them.
What more could they want? How could they do such a thing as reject their King? When you have a more powerful, just and loving King then any of your neighbouring countries… why would you want a King like your neighbours?
It’s easy to look back and shake my head at the actions of the Israelites. Such disbelief. Such unfaithfulness. Yet it doesn’t take much reflection to find myself empathising rather than criticising the Israelites. As I reflect on thoughts, words, actions and attitudes I can quickly find ways in which I am rejecting God as King and asking for a King like my neighbours – i.e.. myself. It makes no sense, but there’s something in me that wants to reject God’s rightful Kingship and substitute my own.
The words of the angel to the church in Sardis, though stern and solemn, are nonetheless encouraging for moments like these:
Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have found your deeds unfinished in the sight of my God. Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; hold it fast, and repent. But if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what time I will come to you. (Rev 3:2-3)
When I find myself slipping onto the throne as I reject my good and rightful King, I am reminded that in his goodness and mercy, he does not abandon me, but just ask me to remember and repent.
May we remember who is King, and repent when he is not our King!