Rejection is a terrible and painful thing, isn’t it, especially when it comes from the people whom you love or whom you thought loved you. God knows what it’s like to be rejected. In biblical times, He was rejected by the children of Israel whom He chose to be His people and by the other nations.
Pharaoh rejected Him when he demanded, “Who is the Lord, that I should obey His voice to let Israel go? I do not know the Lord, nor will I let Israel go.” He didn’t know the Lord nor did he want to. There are people today who feel the same way he did. “Who is the Lord? Why should I obey His voice? I do not know the Lord.”
God loved the children of Israel. He became their God and they became His people. He was everything to them. He was their God, the Father, their Deliverer, Provider, Guide and King. He brought them out of bondage, sustained them in the wilderness, instituted laws which would protect them and He fought their battles. He dwelt among them. He desired to have a personal relationship with them. He wanted to bless them with a land flowing with milk and honey. All He asked in return was that they obeyed His commandments and did not follow other gods. Considering all He had done for them, He really wasn’t asking for much. For God, love and obedience are synonymous.
Everything God did for them was out of love, even when He chastened them. It says For whom the LORD loves He chastens, And scourges every son whom He receives. If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten?”
As parents, we chasten our children because we love them and want to correct them. The difference is they do it as it seemed best to them, but God does it for our profit, that we may be partakers of His holiness. No one likes to be chastened. It’s painful but it brings about the desired results. If you had to choose, wouldn’t you rather be chastened than rejected? They are both painful, yes, but is done out of love while the other isn’t. Nothing comes from rejection except hurt.
It hurts God when He is rejected just like it hurts us. When you read 1 Samuel 8, you could almost feel His pain. The people of Israel decided that they wanted a king to govern over them because the prophet Samuel was old and his sons didn’t walk in his ways. They were greedy for money, accepted bribes and perverted justice.
Samuel was very displeased with the request for a king and he prayed to the Lord about it. And He said to Samuel, “Obey the voice of the people in relation to all that they say to you. For it is not you they have rejected, but Me they have rejected from reigning over them. Just as all the deeds which they have done to Me, from the day I brought them up from Egypt even to this day, in that they have forsaken Me and have served other gods, so they are doing also to you now. Now then, obey their voice. Only you will testify against them and proclaim to them the judgment concerning the king who will reign over them.”
Don’t you think it hurt God that the people rejected Him, the same God who had brought them out of Egypt and into the land which He had promised to give to their fathers and them? God doesn’t force worship or obedience or loyalty. All these things have to be our choice. So, He told Samuel to give the people what they asked for but instructed him to also warm them of what they can expect from an earthly king.
So, Samuel did what the Lord instructed him to do. He warn them of what life would be like under the ruler-ship of an earthly king. Their sons and daughters would serve him, he would take their choicest fields, and vineyards, and olive groves and give them to his servants. He would take a tenth of the harvest of your seed fields and your vineyards and give it to his high officials and to his servants. His menservants and your maidservants, and the best of your young men and donkeys he would take and make do his work. And he would take a tenth of their flocks and the owners of the flocks will be his slaves. Samuel warned them that they would cry out in that day because of the king whom they had chosen for themselves, but the Lord will not answer them in that day.
Even after all these warnings and a glimpse of what life would be like under a human king, the people refused to heed him and insisted, “No! But surely a king will be over us! So that we also will be like all the nations! And so that our king will govern us, and will go out before us, and will fight our battles.” This was precisely what God had been doing all along, governing over them, going out before them and fighting their battles. However, they wanted to be like the other nations and have a human king with flaws and faults and weaknesses. Did they really understand what they were letting themselves in for?
Again, God said to Samuel, “Obey their voice, and make for them a king.” So, God gave the people what they asked for. God is a God of choices. And even if our choices might be the wrong ones or they exclude Him or take us out of His will for our lives, He will not take away our freedom to choose. God isn’t a Dictator. He created us to have a free will. Some people will use that free will to accept Him while others will use it to reject Him.
We can’t prevent others from rejecting us. It’s something they choose to do. It isn’t always something we have done. God’s response to His children’s rejection was to give them what they wanted and at the same time, warn them of the consequences of their decision. That was He still displaying His love and mercy toward them.
When faced with rejection, run to God, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you (1 Peter 5:7). Seek Jesus who knows exactly what you’re going through. Rejection is a hurtful thing but you don’t have to deal with it alone. And choose not to feel any hostility, bitterness or resentment toward those who have rejected you. Don’t be unforgiving. Love them and pray for them. If you find it difficult to do these things, call upon the Holy Spirit, our Comforter, to help you. He will give you a forgiving heart and enable you to love in spite of the pain and the hurt you have suffered.
Remember, God didn’t stop loving the children of Israel because they rejected Him as their King. Don’t just love those who love you in return, love those who don’t. In doing so, you will be like your Heavenly Father who “makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust” (Matthew 5:45).
Source: Living By Design Ministries;