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Unwarrantable usurpation

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As we finished the fortnight of prayer for religious freedom, I was reminded of two historic warnings about the dangers of government overreach.

In the period of the judges over 3000 years ago, the people of Israel demanded that the prophet Samuel give them a king to rule over them. Samuel consulted the Lord, who agreed to their demand, but also said, "It is not you they have rejected, but they have rejected me as their king."

Samuel granted their request, but warned them of the consequences, listing the demands a king would make on them. Among other things, "He will take a tenth of your flocks and you yourselves will become his slaves. When that day comes, you will cry out for relief from the king you have chosen, and the Lord will not answer."

The prophesy proved true and while there were times of prosperity and some virtuous kings, there were kings who did not do what was right in the eyes of the Lord, like King Ahaz, who among many other evils sacrificed his son in fire to false gods. Eventually, the Lord's patience came to an end. Israel and Judah were conquered and the people sent into exile.

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