We as a country are gearing up towards the elections and there is a lot of expectations that we as Kenyans have of the leaders. Most of us already know whom we are going to choose based on certain characteristics that the leaders have displayed during their campaign trails and the debates that we have so eagerly watched on T.V and listened on radio. The political atmosphere is charged right now and we literally have days to go before we choose whom we want as president.
Someone wise said once that there are two types of tragedies in life… one is not getting what you want and the other is getting it. I ask that you ponder on that statement for a bit as we move on to what I am going to say next. I am going to base most of what I am going to say from a sermon that was preached at Mamlaka Hill chapel on 27th January 2013 – “When You Get What You Are Asking For.”
We are going to be looking at Israel at a time when they were demanding for a King from a king which begs to draw a parallel between Israel’s demanding for a king and our time now in 2013, 50 years after independence and with a new constitution in place, we are also in a place where we want a person to lead us. Will our request for a leader, and the leader who is going to be in place stand the test of integrity?
1 Samuel 8:1 – 21
Israel was going through a transition at this point. All along they had been under a theocracy meaning they were being led by God and for the first time they were asking for a human king. So this is the birth of a monarchy in Israel according to the text above.
The book of 1 Samuel begins with the birth of Samuel and for a book that is about kingship you would think that the first thing they would capture was the birth of a king but it’s not so here. There will be kings of course, starting the monarchy would be Saul then followed by David. Israel steps up and of course they have a request which from a human standpoint looks very legitimate.
The elders who are representatives of the people approach Samuel, and mention to him about his age – He is old (1 Samuel 8:4 – 5), and his sons whom had been appointed as Judges were not walking in Samuel’s ways (1 Samuel 8:1 – 3), they were corrupt, perverted Justice bad people. But this request didn’t please Samuel… let’s take a look at why He was not pleased…
Is it because his sons were perverted? Is it because his children would not become king? Already rejected by the people on account of them being corrupt? No. Samuel was displeased yes and what is important here is what he did while he was displeased… He went and prayed to God to determine the next course of action.
How many of us do this? When encountered with difficult situations what is your first course of action? Do you grumble and complain to others of how things are not working out, how this person or the other person is not good or nice… ponder on that. Reason for this is because God is nonpartisan on issues and gives accurate answers and solutions to them.
But are the reasons that Israel is giving for having a king really legitimate? Maybe they are… I mean who would want corrupt leaders to lead them anyway? Samuel’s sons were not walking in the right way and they were already Judge’s in Israel at the time and were appointed by Samuel. The request are legitimate it seems but Samuel is displeased.
How do these requests sit with God? God too is not pleased with this request (1 Samuel 8: 7 – 8). The Lord goes ahead to tell Samuel that it’s not about his sons not walking in the right manner, it’s not about Samuel being old but it’s about rejecting God.
Keep in mind that God has been their King since they left Egypt. God has been fighting their battles and guarding their borders and providing for them up to this point and what they are saying is a human being would do a better job than God. But God says… go ahead and appoint a king for them. An interesting answer from God.
When we make requests to God, He is able to see beyond what we are saying… the motives of our hearts. The requests of the people seem to suggest however that – “We are tired of corruption, bribing and pervasion of justice therefore give us a king who is going to govern in justice and is integral because we are good people.” But it’s not about this at all but about Rejecting God.
When we go to the ballot box to elect leaders and we are asking God to give us a king… are we serious about that request or do we go there knowing already whom we want to choose? We say we want the rule of law, we are tired of corruption and justice, credible reasons. We make choices and they are not about integrity… we already have a king in mind based on where we come from… Mount Kenya, Lake side, Western etc. We do this and hope that God will align himself with our wishes.
Yet the people who are really interested in getting rid of corruption and deal with issues in our country rank among the lowest ratings and we are even talking of a two horse race. And the two main leaders are not about issues. Yet we want God to align himself to these values.
The two main leaders are not about values or issues. Truth be told… We really don’t believe that there will ever be an end to corruption or impunity and the leaders who are serious on handling such issues we shun them and they have the poorest ratings… would your motives stand the test of credibility before God, not people?
We don’t even speak about values in this country anymore and no one cares about them. The two main leaders don’t even care about values and it has come down to ethnicity. So we all talk about a better nation for our children, the end to impunity, going back to the rule of law but the truth of the matter is we would care less about such.
Given the time and opportunity… the average Kenyan is corrupt. A good example is with the new traffic laws, most would rather bribe the cops than do the time in court and pay the bond and charges. My taxi guy tells me that in Kenya even a child is corrupt. You ask him to get you an orange from their orange tree and he asks you how much you will pay him for that.
It’s not that we do not take God seriously. We do. Kenya is perceived to be an 80% Christian nation… almost every other person you meet have Christian names… just like the sons of Samuel. His first born is called Joel and his second one Abijah. The name Joel comes from a combination of two names of God which are Jehovah Elohim which means “The Lord id God” and Abijah has the combination Abu and Jehovah which means “God is my father.” Such names reflect that we do take God seriously as a nation.
But when the rubber meets the road we have a deeper commitment to another way of life which we are not so willing to let go of. Truth be told that we have Christian friend whom we respect that even advise us to bribe whenever we are caught in a situation with the law.
There is a commitment to corrupt ways that we as Kenyans have that needs to be interrogated and dealt with. The ease at which we give 200 shillings so that we can circumvent the law is a disease that needs to be handled. How can we ask God for good things when we very well know how we are? How you conduct yourself today is a clear reflection of who you are and God is not deluded.
If you ask God for things that already in your mind have a solution to… the biggest problem is when you actually get it because it comes with consequences (1 Samuel 8: 11 – 18). Can your motives stand the test of time and credibility?