Today’s events are reminiscent of the Old Testament story of how the Israelites demanded a king over God’s objection. They believed that a king would give them peace and security. The results proved otherwise.
These words belong to Dr. Ron Paul and demonstrate his fervent belief and deep understanding of the Bible’s living truths. For, what lesson could be more contemporary and relevant to American society than one warning against the surrender of individual liberty to the control of government, all for the sake of greater social justice and national security.
The prophet Samuel, due to his old age and pending death, approached God on behalf of the Hebrew people seeking permission to create an authoritarian central government, a monarchy. The nation of Israel had successfully existed as a self-governing tribal coalition based on the rule of Jehovah’s law for approximately 350 years. But, the people had grown tired of the self-responsibility that comes as a cost of personal liberty and self-governance.
Samuel warned the Israelites that a king would enslave them, “You will shed bitter tears because of this king you are demanding, but the Lord will not hear you.” (1 Sam. 8:18) But the people refused to listen. They wanted a king to take over the responsibility of unilaterally directing their foreign and domestic policy, “for we want to be like the other nations around us. He (the king) will govern us and lead us into battle.” (v. 20) And so, against God’s warning the nation of Israel created a government ruled by executive order where the king was given sole authority to create, interpret and enforce the laws. They willingly subjugated themselves to government control based on the ideology of collectivism which undermines mankind’s intrinsic right to equality by granting certain people a birth right to rule over others.
The Israelites made a tragic decision. Although a foreign enemy didn’t beat them, the people suffered a great and irreversible defeat. History demonstrates that domestic leaders who rise to absolute power in a perceived crisis situation often enslave societies. Out of fear and complacency, people mistakenly trade their liberty and rights for peace and safety. But these aims are illusive and short lived. The reliance upon government as a unilateral protector and regulator invariably leads to society’s oppression and ultimately its destruction.
Following the short rule of King Saul, the people found themselves suffering under the heavy taxation and forced labor policies of both King David and King Solomon. Solomon also showed preferential treatment to the tribe of Judah, which alienated the northern tribes. When Solomon died, the people sent a populist leader, Jeroboam, to demand better treatment from Solomon’s son and heir to the throne, Rehoboam. In verse 1 Kings 12:14, Rehoboam answered Jeroboam and the people by saying, “My father made your yoke heavy, and I will add to your yoke; my father chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scorpions.”
Collectivist governance is highly destructive for society as evidenced by the tragic and irreversible fracturing of Israel into a Northern and Southern Kingdom due to Rehoboam’s pride. What a telling story. The Hebrew tribes had retained their solidarity through 40 years of wandering in the Sinai Desert, a decade of dangerous military conquests to subdue the land of Canaan, and over 300 turbulent years as a self-governing tribal coalition. Yet after less than 100 years under monarchy the resilient Hebrews had split because of abusive government policy.
In creating a monarchy, the Hebrew people chose a destructive path contrary to the one God wanted for them; a path that led to great suffering at the hands of evil Hebrew rulers. And ultimately the fall of both kingdoms to foreign invaders: the Northern tribes fell to the Assyrians in 722 BC and the Southern tribes who later fell to the Babylonians in 597 BC.
The significance of this lesson cannot be emphasized enough. God has literally issued us a warning in His Holy Word against yielding our individual liberty and rights to greater government control in the name peace and safety. This is an ancient and enduring Biblical message that societies ruled by executive order will tragically and invariably lead to oppression and exploitation of the common man by the ruling elite.
Praise the Lord, for the truth of His Word endures forever! For what could be more validating for evangelicals than the three thousand year old Scripture we honor. The divine Word of God that contains such a timeless, powerful message. How encouraging for our nation that God would reveal such a profound scriptural truth to a man running for the office of President. God bless Dr. Ron Paul, a biblically enlightened presidential candidate, constitutionally responsible leader not a ruler through executive order, and a man we can trust to lead this country as President of the United States of America.
Written by Thomas Tinsley