The urge of the American people to have someone like Bernie Sanders or Donald Trump as their leader is rooted in the complete rejection of faith in principles they once knew to be right.

There was once a nation that so fed up with the status quo of political corruption, they demanded that a king rule over them. These people lost faith in everything they once knew to be true.  For years, they had been successful with the principles they were founded on.  Like every society in history, they faced good times and bad times, but their faith in their founding made them exceptional…until it didn’t. The nation I am referring to is the Israelites in the time of Samuel. After facing hardship under Samuel’s sons, they lost faith in the G-d of Abraham who freed them from Egypt, and they decided they wanted a king to rule over them. The United States of America in 2016 is on the verge of making the same catastrophic decision the Israelite leaders did.

How does a nation get to the point of promoting self-enslavement? We find it recorded by the Israelite “elders” in 1 Samuel 8:5, where they demanded a king for the first time. As the holy book recounts, they told the current leader Samuel, “Behold, you are old and your sons do not walk in your ways. Now appoint for us a king to judge us like all the nations”.  The Israelites lost their faith in G-d, his system of government, and the direction of their nation.  Everything they had once known to be correct was suddenly thrown out. They wrongly believed that having a king would cure all of their current ills.  They believed that they needed a kind like the other nations around them to protect them in times of war and be just in times of peace.  In fact, it was the institution of a king that set in motion the up the break up of their nation after the reign of Solomon, when 10 tribes refused to go with Rehoboam.

It is not hard to understand the Israelite’s desire for a king.  It is stated that Samuel’s sons “…did not walk in his ways but turned aside after gain. They took bribes and perverted justice” (1 Samuel 8:3).  It was surely painful to have leaders of less than godly stature, but the Israelite’s lost faith in knowing G-d always having their backs!  As G-d says to a distraught Samuel, “‘Obey the voice of the people in all that they say to you, for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected me from being king over them’” (1 Samuel 8:7).  G-d’s “stiff-necked people” had struck again; instead of trusting the things they know, they decided to reject their founding principle: service to the Lord who freed them from Egypt.

In fact, it was the institution of a king that set in motion the up the break up of their nation after the reign of Solomon, when 10 tribes refused to go with Rehoboam.

It seems to me that Americans, like the Israelites are demanding a King. Two current political leaders, Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders, do not seem to think they are bound by the U.S. constitution, the founding principle of the United States. Like the Israelites, they have ample reason to want to change their form of government.  For years, politicians and special interests on both sides of the aisle have been using government to make themselves rich while the nation suffers. For 7 years, half of the country has been belittled, mocked, and threatened by a leader who once promised to unite everyone.  As the government grows, real income remains stagnant and more people are in poverty than in virtually any other time in our nation’s history. Americans decided to put their faith in big-government liberalism, instead of the founding principle of the U.S., the constitution.

America, like the ancient Israelites are facing a test.  Whereas the ancient Israelites were being tested by an active G-d (and surely Americans are also facing this test in my opinion) today’s Americans are being tested by the fact that while no economic system is perfect, the top-bottom liberal economic policies they decided to move towards to cure the problems of capitalism has contributed to a near societal breakdown.

For years, they had been successful with the principles they were founded on.  Like every society in history, they faced good times and bad times, but their faith in their founding made them exceptional…until it didn’t.

Some Americans want a “King” to double down on the unattainable promises of big government economics; think of Bernie Sanders promising free college, free healthcare, and the way he speaks about the financial service industry. At the same time, some people want a King who will punish the people they see as responsible for their current calamity; think of Donald Trump promising to keep out illegal immigrants, punish our trade partners, and threaten a media he considers to be complicit in America’s decline.

We are currently witnessing a fundamental shift from a constitutional republic to an elected dictatorship. I am afraid that if America choses a king over a president, history will write of a great nation called the United States of America splitting in half because they wanted…thousands of years after another great nation, the Israelites, split in half because they too decided to trust a king.

Note: This post was influenced by a tweet sent by U.S. Senator Ben Sasse (R-Neb)