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From Eternity Past

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    The Lord Warns Israel of Their Mistake

    The Lord said unto Samuel: “Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee: for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected Me, that I should not reign over them. According to all the works which they have done since the day that I brought them up out of Egypt even unto this day, wherewith they have forsaken Me, and served other gods, so do they also unto thee.”EP 438.3

    The days of Israel's greatest prosperity had been those in which they acknowledged Jehovah as their King, when the laws and the government which He had established were regraded as superior to those of other nations. But by departing from God's law the Hebrews had failed to become the people that God desired to make them. Then all the evils which were the result of their own sin and folly they charged upon the government of God.EP 438.4

    The Lord permitted the people to follow their own choice, because they refused to be guided by His counsel. When men choose to have their own way, He often grants their desires that they may be led to realize their folly. That which the heart desires contrary to the will of God will in the end be a curse rather than a blessing.EP 439.1

    Samuel was instructed to grant the request of the people, but to warn them of the Lord's disapproval and make known what would be the result of their course. He faithfully set before them the burdens that would be laid upon them and the contrast between such oppression and their present free and prosperous condition. Their king would imitate the pomp and luxury of other monarchs. Grievous exactions upon their persons and property would be necessary. The goodliest of their young men he would require for his service. They would be made charioteers and horsemen and runners before him. They must fill the ranks of his army and be required to till his fields, reap his harvests, and manufacture implements of war for his service. To support his kingly state he would seize the best of their lands. The most valuable of their servants and of their cattle he would take and “put them to his own work.” Besides all this, the king would require a tenth of all their income, the profits of their labor or the products of the soil. “Ye shall be his servants,” concluded the prophet. “And the Lord will not hear you in that day.” When once a monarchy was established, they could not set it aside at pleasure.EP 439.2

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