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From Eternity Past

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    The People Reject God as King

    But the people returned the answer, “Nay; but we will have a king over us; that we also may be like all the nations; and that our king may judge us, and go out before us, and fight our battles.”EP 439.3

    “Like all the nations.” To be in this respect unlike other nations was a special privilege. God had separated the Israelites from every other people, to make them His own peculiar treasure. But they desired to imitate the heathen! As the professed people of God depart from the Lord, they become ambitious for the honors of the world. Many urge that by uniting with worldlings and conforming to their customs they might exert a stronger influence over the ungodly. But all who pursue this course separate from the Source of their strength. Becoming friends of the world, they are enemies of God.EP 439.4

    With deep sadness, Samuel listened to the people. But the Lord said unto him, “Make them a king.” The prophet had faithfully presented the warning, and it had been rejected. With a heavy heart he departed to prepare for the great change in the government.EP 440.1

    Samuel's life of purity and unselfish devotion was a rebuke both to self-serving priests and to the proud, sensual congregation of Israel. His labors bore the signet of Heaven. He was honored by the world's Redeemer, under whose guidance he ruled the Hebrew nation. But the people, weary of his piety, despised his humble authority and rejected him for a man who should rule them as a king.EP 440.2

    In the character of Samuel we see reflected the likeness of Christ. It was the holiness of Christ that stirred up against Him the fiercest passions of falsehearted professors of godliness. The Jews looked for the Messiah to break the oppressor's yoke, yet they cherished the sins that bound it upon their necks. Had Christ applauded their piety, they would have accepted Him as their king; but they would not bear His fearless rebuke of their vices. Thus it has been in every age of the world. When rebuked by the example of those who hate sin, hypocrites become the agents of Satan to persecute the faithful.EP 440.3

    God had reserved to Himself the right to choose their king. The choice fell upon Saul, a son of Kish, of the tribe of Benjamin.EP 440.4

    “There was not among the children of Israel a goodlier person than he.” Of noble and dignified bearing, comely and tall, he appeared like one born to command. Yet Saul was destitute of those higher qualities that constitute true wisdom. He had not learned to control his impetuous passions; he had never felt the renewing power of divine grace.EP 440.5

    Saul was the son of a wealthy chief, yet he was engaged in the humble duties of a husbandman. Some of his father's animals having strayed upon the mountains, Saul went with a servant to seek for them. As they were not far from Ramah, the home of Samuel, the servant proposed that they inquire of the prophet concerning the missing property.EP 441.1

    As they drew near to the city they were told that a religious service was about to take place, that the prophet had already arrived. Worship of God was now maintained throughout the land. There being no ministration in the tabernacle, sacrifices were for the time offered elsewhere. The cities of the priests and Levites, where the people resorted for instruction, were chosen for this purpose. The highest points in these cities were usually selected as the place of sacrifice, and hence were called the “high places.”EP 441.2

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