God was rejected twice as King. In 1 Samuel 8:6, 7 the people asked for a king to judge them. This displeased Samuel and he prayed to the Lord. The Lord said to Samuel, “Heed the voice of the people in all that they say to you; for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me, that I should not reign over them.”
Why did the Israelites want a king? They wanted him “to judge us like all the nations.” These people were supposed to be God’s chosen people–His peculiar people. They were supposed to stand out from the other nations. They were supposed to be the light in a world that did not know God and their job was to bring Him to them. Yet, they wanted a fallible person like themselves to rule over them instead of God who knew the beginning from the end, who had their best interest at heart and most importantly, who had delivered them from their enemies. It must have hurt God when they rejected Him as king.
Fast forward to John 19:14, 15: Now it was the Preparation Day of the Passover, and about the sixth hour. And he said to the Jews, “Behold your King!” But they cried out, “Away with Him, away with Him! Crucify Him!” Pilate said to them, “Shall I crucify your King?” The chief priests answered, “We have no king but Caesar!” The Jews rejected God, the Son as their King. Again they chose a human king over their God. Granted they didn’t believe that Jesus was the Messiah and considered any claim that He was equal to God blasphemy.
When they rejected the One whom God sent, they were in essence, rejecting God Himself. They rejected Jesus whose ministry was to heal, teach and help people–basically do the will of the Father. They rejected Him for a pagan king who was oppressing and taxing them. They rejected Him because they were jealous of Him. He was not their idea of who the Messiah was. He seemed ordinary in appearance and radical in His teachings. They didn’t approve of the company He kept or the fact that He healed on the Sabbath.
They were making the same mistake as their forefathers for different reasons. Rejection is not a pleasant thing–not even for God.