Read – 1 Samuel 8
Focus v. 19-20
I have an almost three year old grandson who fortunately has parents who don’t always give him everything he asks for. While this tendency to desire things that are not good for us is more obvious in small children, it seems to be a human trait that we never entirely outgrow. In today’s reading the people of Israel have noticed that the nations around them have kings to lead them, and they ask Samuel to give them a king. After consulting with God in regard to this request, Samuel warns the leaders of Israel of how a king will take their sons and daughters to form his armies and serve in his courtyard. Their response is apparently fairly typical.
But the people refused to listen to Samuel. “No!” they said. “We want a king over us. Then we will be like all the other nations, with a king to lead us and to go out before us and fight our battles.” (v. 19-20)
The people of Israel have forgotten the benefits of having God as their king. God assures Samuel that the people are not rejecting Samuel as their leader, but that they are rejecting God as their king. They are tired of being different, and seeing the nations around them, they desire to be like them. “Give us a king” they cry “that we might be like the other nations around us.” Oblivious of the hazards of choosing this path they insist and the Lord honors their request.
The lesson here today is “be careful what you ask for… you might just get it!” God very often allows us to chart our own path through life if we are stubborn enough to insist upon it. Thought he warns us of the dangers of such a decision, most often – just as Israel did – we reply; “No! But I want it!” In other words we put on our three year old pants and throw a temper tantrum, so God says, “Okay have it your way – let me know how it works out for you.” Fortunately for us, He is gracious and patient and forgiving and when we finally come to the end of ourselves, He is always there to pick up the pieces and help us attempt to put our lives back together again.
It us usually only at this point that we look back an wish we had had the wisdom and the humility to just walk with Him in obedience from the beginning.