Acts 13:20-25 Monarchial Government Is A Rejection Of The LORD AS King.
“After that He gave them judges for about four hundred and fifty years, until Samuel the prophet” (v. 20). Paul continued to recite the flow of covenantal history that he ended in the previous verses with the taking of the promised land under Joshua and Caleb and the next generation (vv. 13-19). The onset of the judges was also a time of deliverance (Cf. Jud. 2:16). “And all Israel from Dan to Beersheba knew that Samuel had been established as a prophet of the LORD” (I Sam. 3:20). Under the judges, God established Israel as a constitutional republic. Then they fell again under a judgment of forty years. “And afterward they asked for a king; so God gave them Saul the son of Kish, a man of the tribe of Benjamin, for forty years” (v. 21 Cf. I Sam. 8:4-9). The change from a constitutional republic to a monarchy, was a rejection of the LORD as their King!
It is important to understand that these were those who had proven themselves to be right interpreters and applicators of the law of the LORD (v. 20 Cf. Jud. 2:16ff.). The people then sinned in asking for a king through Samuel the prophet, and in judgment God gave them one who was weak on his knowledge of the law, and acted contrary to it (v. 21 Cf. I Sam. 3:20). In asking for a king they had rejected the LORD as their king (Cf. I Sam. 8:5-7). Furthermore, in rejecting the law of the LORD, the LORD rejected Saul as king (I Sam. 13:14; 15:22-23). After this judgment ran it’s course, the LORD had mercy on His covenanted people, and He gave them David, but when He gave them David He made clear that David would have his position ultimately filled and completed by His greater Son, the Lord Jesus Christ (vv. 22-23 Cf. I Sam. 16:1ff.; Ps. 89:20; Is. 11:1; Mt. 1:20-21).
When it is pointed out to people that God’s intention politically was always a constitutional republic, some are quick to point to David, as Paul does here. However, they are not as quick in pointing to his many wives and concubines, which also was not God’s ideal. The LORD took their desire for a king, like all the other nations, and used it to show that He would again be His people’s only rightful King, in the second person of the Trinity, the Lord Jesus Christ (vv. 22-23 Cf. I Sam. 8; Is. 11:1ff; Mt. 27:37; Jn. 19:19). He also would have but one bride (Rev. 21:9). This is why John preached repentance, as he spoke of the Messiah’s coming (vv. 24-25 Cf. Mk. 1:7; Lk. 3:3-5; Jn. 1:20, 27). This is David’s true Son, who kept the covenant and made it new (Ps. 132:11-12; Mt. 1:21; 26:28).