Having a king was not God’s ideal for Israel. When God described rules about having a king in Deuteronomy 17:14-20, it would be 400 years before the Israelites actually asked for one. There had been a king, Abimelech, the illegitimate son of Gideon (also known as Jerubbaal) but his reign was short and only over the Shechemites (Judges 9). Not until King Saul was there a king over all Israel. The nation of Israel wanted a king like all the nations around them, but God had different plans.
From Genesis God had planned that Judah would hold the scepter (Gen 49:10), and as we move through the troubled reign of Saul, we rest the crown on the head of David and his descendants. Saul’s descendants would have received a crown, but Saul was a man who used religion, rather than believed it himself. He became the cause of his own disappointment. David and his sons would carry the weight of the crown in succession. But God’s vision is farther than that, for He looks forward to His own Son, who would be called the “Son of David” and fulfill His promise to David, that he would always have a descendant on the throne of Israel (2 Samuel 7:12-13). It is Jesus, crowned with glory and honor (Heb 2:9) who has received all authority in heaven and on earth (Matthew 28:18) and is seated at God’s right hand (Eph 1:20) at the throne of Heaven.
There’s always been an undercurrent in our culture of kings and queens (consider the fast food royalty of Burger King and Dairy Queen). Though we haven’t had an official king since 1776, there are still those who have assumed such power, like Al Capone, John Dillinger, Bernie Madoff, and Richard Nixon to name a few. But these are examples that illustrate the oft-quoted proverb, “Absolute power corrupts absolutely.” Though not a biblical proverb, the Bible does tell us such power in a single individual is disastrous. For every King David, there is a King Ahab. For every good King Hezekiah, there is a wicked King Manasseh. This is why when the founding fathers formed a new government for America, they borrowed from Isaiah 33:22, “For the LORD is our judge; the LORD is our lawgiver; the LORD is our king; he will save us.” They saw in this that ideal government ought to have three separate but equally powerful branches of government, that no one man would have all the power to himself. So far, this experiment has worked. It has worked so well because those founding fathers realized the errors of the ages. The true King of any land is the Lord Jesus Christ. All of us are stewards of the land and the reigns of government. We are a nation “under God”.
What began as a sinful desire of Israelite Elders God turned to His good ends, that Jesus Christ would one day be declared King of Kings and Lord of Lords (Rev 19:16). Is there room in your heart for The King?