I.) Statism – Humanism Always Begins With The Rejection of God
I Samuel 8:7
a.) First note here that while it is true that the one true God is rejected the rejection comes with the same time an embrace of a false God.
God is an inescapable concept. You have never met anyone who does not have a God. Here the people reject the one true God and pivot and embrace a Human King … a Statist-Humanist God over the God who is.
In this passage we see Israel exchanging the truth about God for a lie, and by choosing a King we see them worshiping and serving the created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised.
And God’s response to Samuel is that He will turn Israel over to their desires.
This is often the way of sin. We think that we are abandoning God when in point of fact He is the one who is turning us over to our lusts which can never satisfy.
In choosing this Humanist-Statist God as God Israel at the same time chose another law-order, as Samuel will explain. Whenever a God is changed out … exchanged… there you find a new law and law-order also being changed out.
In point of fact, one of the easiest ways in identifying that there is a new God in town is to keep your finger on the pulse of the public law order.
Marriage, as by God’s law defined as one man and one woman covenanting with God and one another to be husband and wife. Marriage as by man’s law now defined as something other than one man and one woman covenanting with God and one another …
New law-order in the public square … new God in the public square.
And we should add here … as people conform to that new Law Order they are at one in the same time conforming to the new God in town.
b.) Second, note, that the sin in the request for a King was not in the idea of Kingship in itself. God had long spoke to Israel about having a King,
Gen. 49:10, Numbers 24:7, 17-19, Deut. 17:14-20
The sin here is not in the request for a King but their sin was in the desire to be like all the nations around them. It was not Kingship per se but their lack of contentment with God as King.
II.) The Problem With Statism-Humanism Is Not Chiefly With The State
I Sam. 8:11f
Here we see that the State will be onerous. We see that the State will be excessive in its demands. But the problem is not the State. The problem is with the people. The State is merely a reflection of a people who’s hearts have grown cold to God.
This is why change can never be had solely by a top-down revolution or rebellion.
As long as the grass roots remain unaffected
as long as Statism-humanism is the desire of the people
as long as there is larceny in the hearts of the people that desire to use the state to enrich themselves at the expense of their neighbor
Statism-Humanism will never end.
The problem in the growth of bureaucracy, in the growth of the mega-State is whether here or in any form of Government is that people have a lack of Christian character.
One simply cannot expect good governance, whether in State, Church, or family, if the populace is corrupt. Leadership is typcially the reflection of the people being led.
“You cannot make a good omelet with rotten eggs.” Bad eggs make bad omelets.
Here in I Samuel, the problem begins with a people who have rejected God. It is not amazing then that the State that they so earnestly desire will reject God as well.
In our own times the bad omelet surfaces in all our governances from the less important federal level to the more important local level. Whether in our Church or in our families, our character is corrupt and so our governance is corrupt.
Exceptions exist …. and we praise God for those exceptions but I think we have to concede that our problem in the West today is a reflection of their problem long ago … they will not have God rule over them.
Alexander Solzhenitsyn worked this theme in his famous Templeton Address. Solzhenitsyn said then reminiscing on the failure of Russia governance,
“More than half a century ago, while I was still a child, I recall hearing a number of older people offer the following explanation for the great disasters that had befallen Russia: Men have forgotten God; that’s why all this has happened.
Since then I have spent well-nigh fifty years working on the history of our Revolution; in the process I have read hundreds of books, collected hundreds of personal testimonies, and have already contributed eight volumes of my own toward the effort of clearing away the rubble left by that upheaval. But if I were asked today to formulate as concisely as possible the main cause of the ruinous Revolution that swallowed up some sixty million of our people, I could not put it more accurately than to repeat: Men have forgotten God; that’s why all this has happened.
What is more, the events of the Russian Revolution can only be understood now, at the end of the century, against the background of what has since occurred in the rest of the world. What emerges here is a process of universal significance. And if I were called upon to identify briefly the principal trait of the entire twentieth century, here too, I would be unable to find anything more precise and pithy than to repeat once again: Men have forgotten God.
Whether men in Ancient Israel, Whether men in Soviet Russia, Whether men in America. We have forgotten God and the consequence is Statism-humanism.
So, the order of fixing all this is Evangelism. Bureaucratic Statism-humanism will not go into eclipse until men are Redeemed. Men must be pointed to Christ as both their Savior Priest and their Savior King. They must be told of the God who reconciles alienated hearts, and who heals moral brokenness. They must be told of the God who not only heals men but heals families, Churches, and Nations as well.
But the Evangelism we are talking about here is not the pietistic individual kind of Evangelism the West has been doing for a very long time now. No, the kind of Evangelism we need is an Evangelism which teaches right up front that if a “converted” man or woman is not interested in walking in terms of God’s law-word authority once converted they must be told, “Marvel not, when I say unto you, that you must be born again.” The West has had centuries now of antinomian Evangelism and the consequence is that we have from Statism-humanism to Statism-humanism with each generation more completely integrating into the void.
III.) Statism – Humanism is Driven by a Desire to find Identity in the Collective II Sam. 8:19-20
The demand was so that they might be like all the nations. They wanted a King like the pagan nations around them.
Keep in mind the staggering nature of this request. In the ancient world among the pagans, Kings were understood to have a Sacral / Sacred standing. The King was seen as a conduit between the earthly realm and the heavenly realm. Often times the Kings among the pagans was seen as Himself an embodiment of God.
In this kind of Governance the King as God is a kind of projection of the people in their corporate expression. The King thus is the expression of the God of the nation said loudly.
The people desire a King because they want to locate their identity not in the God of the Bible but in the King who as an expression of the collective is the apex of themselves. They will be their own god and the King will be the apex of the expression of themselves.
God demands that we find our identity in Him and His Character and gracious His Law Word. Man chooses instead to find identity in himself. We see this in their belief that the King will better defend them than God’s providence. They are depending upon and so identifying with the King and not with God.
IV.) Statism-Humanism Brings With It The Growth of The State
In order to run any organization … even a family, one needs a certain amount of bureaucracy. However, with Statism-Humanism the state grows expotentially. The idea seems to be the greater or larger the State the greater its attempt to be God-like in its scope.
And what Samuel tells the people here is that the State will grow and by its growth they and their prosperity will diminish.
I will repeat that point again. Where the State has God-like aspirations the consequence will be the diminishing of the people so that what occurs is that the State which has as its purpose the serving of God through its service to the people ends up being a divine entity that exists so that the people can serve it with their wealth, and their children.
Like all Gods, the Humanist State begins to exist for itself. All that is done must be done for its glory. It legislates in protection of itself. It begins to see the people as slaves for its purposes. “All within the state, nothing outside the state, nothing against the state,” or, if you prefer, “In the State we live and move and have our being.”
We see the growth of the State as promised here by Samuel as against the request of the people and we almost have to laugh because if we could actually have only that much demand from the State we would find it a relief.
What was promised as oppression here in II Samuel has grown and grown as Statism-Humanism has found more exhaustive ways to oppress.
The fact that Statism-Humanism has only increased over the centuries is seen by a quote from J. R. Lander in his book The Limitations of English Monarchy in the Later Middle Ages has written,
“The civil bureaucratic establishment of late medieval England was very small, indeed. At the most not more than one civil servant for ever 1050 of the population. Moreover, their functions were by no means exactly comparable as about two fifths of these were employed in the law courts so that we can plausibly say that it was one for every 2070 of the population. To investigate the actual distribution of these civil servants, their total number nominally at the direct command of the king can hardly have exceeded 1500 men, perhaps 250 to 300 knights, esquires, yeomen and pages in the politically significant section of the royal household, perhaps 100 in the exchequer, 150 in the chancery, about the same in the law courts and about 30 or 40 receivers and auditors staffing the New Yorkest system of estate management and financial control centered in the king’s chamber. Eighty or 90 customs officials and about 700 or 800 local keepers of royal parks, castles and forests and stewards of royal manors. Each county its sheriff’s office and its staff in a large county like Lincolnshire could number up to 100. These appointments, however, were in the control of the sheriff, not the king.”
On this coming Independence Day, we celebrate that we overthrew a Statist oppression that in 1775 found New Englanders paying between 1 and 2 percent of their income in taxes.
On this coming Independence day, we are celebrating throwing off a Tyranny which erected a multitude of new offices, and who sent hither swarms of officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.
In the doing of this we were a more Biblical people seeking to return to a more Biblical social order.
Often when these matters are laid out people will say … give us solutions. But there are times when solutions are not readily at hand. For example … when a Cancer patient shows up with stage 4 lung cancer one can understand his desire for solutions but his smoking for 35 years does not allow for one.
The only solution I know of … the only cure is non-antinomian Repentance.