In first Samuel 8 the prophet Samuel was getting old so he appointed his sons to judge over Israel. They were not honorable men and were already taking bribes, perverting justice and abusing their power so Israel rejected this idea. They had definitely seen this scenario before with Eli and they decided they wanted to have their own king “like everyone else”. Samuel was displeased with this idea and he cried out to God about it. God advised him to give them what they want but make sure they understand that a king will take the best of everything they own and will be self-serving. God told Samuel that this was nothing new. Israel wasn’t rejecting him, they were rejecting God….again. As I read this I went back several times over because to me it didn’t seem terribly unreasonable for them to reject Samuel’s sons if they were corrupt. What hit me was that when God said they were rejecting Him and not Samuel I realized that their hearts were already turned away from God. They were all disobeying God too and maybe the corruption of Samuel’s sons was more of a product of the rebellion in the land. Their hearts weren’t turned toward God to cry out in repentance. They were rejecting the plan of God to lead them and instead of crying out for God to judge the authority over them they were taking matters into their own hands. Had their hearts been turned toward God he may have judged the corrupt leaders and led them with all of the blessings He had always intended for them. Instead they wanted to be like everyone else and allow a corrupt king to lead them. This also removed from them any responsiblity for being accountable to God. They could now rely fully on the king for their prosperity without having to answer to God about their lives in order to receive God’s favor and blessing. As I started to think about us as Americans and our desire to rely on and blame our government to handle what we should be relying on God for. Government can’t fix poverty and social justice problems but we are constantly blaming and spinning our wheels with our expectations of the government to do what God intended for the church to do. These are heart issues that laws and politicians don’t have the power to touch. It’s a work of the Holy Spirit to move in people, but we have rejected this and instead placed our government on the throne. Even those who have rejected the government have not turned to God for this. They have turned to yet another form of rebellion while claiming to honor God in their defiance. Change will not come until believers repent, surrender fully to God and allow Him to change our hearts. When we as a church are in a place of repentance and surrender, he will move in the hearts of those who lead us. God placed authorities in our lives and they will rule over us according to the way we are submitted to God. If we rebel against our leaders-even and especially the corrupt ones, we fail to acknowledge God’s authority. This is so difficult to understand, but if we will deal with our own hearts and hold ourselves accountable, he will judge those who are in authority and He will do it HIS way. We ought to know by now that his ways are not ours. We can’t possibly know or understand how he will accomplish this but if we are submitted to God we can trust that he will take care of us.