WHEN WE REJECT GOD
More than seventy years ago, a woman found herself pregnant by a man who promised to marry her. But the promise was never fulfilled. The man disappeared, leaving the woman to face the humiliation and persecutions alone. As the days passed her belly grew and also her hatred for the man. Hate consumed her so much that after giving birth, she gave the child away. The child was brought up by a couple who cared for the new arrival as one of their own. When the child became a man, he learned of his past and how he was given away. Desperate for the answers to his questions, he searched for the woman who gave birth to him. He found her several islands away and with a family of her own. He got some answers, but the meeting fell short of his expectations. He pleaded for acceptance, but the woman showed no remorse. Child and mother were never reconciled. The rejection scarred him for the rest of his life.
Rejection is probably the most excruciating experience a person can have. Each one of us may have experienced it one way or the other. We may have been rejected by friends, teachers, classmates, employers, or even, like the man above, by our own parents. However we experienced rejection, its effect can be devastating. It mars our person, our self esteem and can even destroy us. In the Bible, a different kind of rejection is told, the kind that cost the future of future generations. It may seem unthinkable but it happened. The Book of Samuel shows how humans rejected their Creator.
The conversation between God and Samuel concerning the Israelites’ clamor for a human king to rule over them shows us what God was feeling during that time. God said to Samuel in the Book of 1 Samuel chapter 8: 7 “Listen to all that the people are saying to you; it is not you they have rejected, but they have rejected me as their King”(NIV). One cannot even begin to imagine how God must have felt when He heard this clamor, much less so, describe the pain that must have pierced His heart. When the Israelites saw that the nations surrounding them had kings, they demanded for a king who would rule over them. Their act broke God’s heart yet again. A survey of the Pentateuch (the Books of Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy), up to Samuel show how ungrateful we humans can be. The Israelites’ rejection of God also cost them their nation and the future of the generations that were yet to come.
The Book of Samuel was said to have been written sometime between 1025 and 900 B.C. It immediately followed the Book of Judges which revealed the spiritual condition of Israel during those times “ In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes” (Judges 21:25). After Joshua, God did not appoint anyone else to lead His chosen people. The reason, Jensen wrote, “It was always God’s purpose to reign as King in the hearts and lives of the Israelites.” The Israelites kept forgetting the great God who had saved them from their enemies and who had provided for all their needs. Those were aeons of years ago. One can hope to say that “that was a thing in the past.” But the glaring truth is that up to now we continue to rebel against and reject God. We challenge His authority and wisdom when we assert our own will, when we rely on our own strength and intelligence. When we relegate Him to the margins of our lives, we are doing what the Israelites had done thousands of years ago without realizing the harm our actions are causing us.
The psalmist said “Though my father and mother forsake me, the Lord will receive me” (Psalm 27:10). If we were rejected by the very people who are supposed to love and accept us, we still have God. But if we reject God, the Bible mentions the following: Jeremiah 17:13 “… all who forsake you [God] will be put to shame. Those who turn away from you [God] will be written in the dust..”; 2Chronicl15:2 “… but if you forsake Him, He will forsake you.”; and Isaiah 1:28 “… those who forsake the Lord will perish.”
Humanity has accomplished so much through the intelligence that God allows each one to have. But humankind’s giant leaps to industrialization and modernization seem to have caused many of us to be arrogant like the early people who attempted to build the tower of Babel. As they say, “there are always two side of a coin,” and so are our so-called achievements. The one side are everything that we humans often boast of, the technological advances, knowledge gained, discoveries unearthed and so on. Some people have even come to think of themselves as “gods!” But the other side of all these is our alienation from the One who “stretched out the heavens and laid the foundations of the earth.” (Isaiah 51:13). We hide behind the shadows of religion to justify our actions, when in truth, like the Israelites then, we are rejecting God by our actions. The increasing criminality, suicides and destructions around us are consequences of our disobedience, of our rejection of God. Yes, some things have not changed. Despite the supreme sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ on the cross, we continue to break the Heart that first loved us. But again, the Bible answers this “ Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.”(Galatians 6:7)
 Emphasis mine.
 Irving Lester Jensen, Jensen’s Survey of the Old Testament (Chicago: The Moody Bible Institute, 1978), 173.
 Ibid., 169.