“Do everything they say to you,” the Lord replied, “for they are rejecting me, not you. They don’t want me to be their king any longer. I Samuel 8:7 (New Living Translation)
Any person who has lived on this earth any amount of time has felt the sting of rejection. Just in the last 24 hours, I know of at least two people I care about who have been in situations where they have been hurt and rejected by others. Rejection is one of the top weapons used by the enemy to stop our progress and make us question God’s love for us.
In the scripture noted above, the prophet Samuel felt rejected by the nation of Israel when they said they wanted a man to be their king like the other nations. He took it as a personal rejection, but God set him straight. He let Samuel know that they were not coming against him or his role as the prophet of God , but instead they were rejecting the Lord Himself as their ruler. If anyone had a right to be hurt and upset in the situation, it was God. However, He knows the hearts of men, and instead of trying to hold onto His rulership over them, He gave them what they asked for. He knew it would lead to problems for them, but he loved the people enough to let them make their own choice- even if it removed Him as their King.
Thousands of years later, Jesus came to earth to show people the Father and to re-establish Himself as King. Sadly, the same nation that rejected their divine King the first time, rejected Him again. The prophet Isaiah prophesied this event when he wrote:
He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Isaiah 53:3 (KJV)
The Romans even nailed a sign over Jesus as they crucified Him, mockingly calling Him the King of the Jews. Of course, this angered and offended the Jewish rulers, who did not want to recognize Jesus as King in any manner. There He was- rejected again by the people He loved and wanted to save. Rejected so much they wanted him dead.
Although He has been repeatedly rejected by mankind, God is still reaching out to us. He is not afraid of setting Himself up for more rejection- He knows that the pain of rejection is temporary, while the love that we will experience together will last for eternity. In the same way, we must identify rejection as a tool of the enemy to stop us from reaching out to others. We cannot allow it to create barriers between us and others. Love requires us to be vulnerable. Yes, hurts will come, but the love we will experience with those who receive us will be worth it.