Today’s reading is 1 Samuel 8 and Psalm 9
From the first time I read this chapter about 5 days ago, I was blown away at the pertinence of this passage from SOOO many years ago! I can not believe the relevance it still has in our lives today!! The people of Israel were human and faced the temptations of following man, just like we do today!! In our home this week, we have been dealing with typical teenage issues. The underlying problem is that our lives of following Jesus and His Word, look different than many of my girls’ friends lives and they don’t like how that feels. They understand why we have certain rules and expectations, but it is hard, because we are not living like everyone else. We have been battling this conversation for the past few weeks and then I read this chapter and am reminded again how this has been a battle since the days of Samuel. Our human desire is to be like all the other people we are surrounded with.
In 1 Samuel Chapter 8, Samuel is now old. He names his sons to replace him as judges of the Israelites. Both of his sons, Joel and Abijah serve as judges in the town of Beersheba. However, they are not wise or righteous like their father. They abuse their authority and they accept bribes. The people do not like how they rule, so they approach Samuel and ask…
verses 4&5 – Then all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah and said to him, “Look, you have grown old, and your sons do not walk in your ways. Now appoint us a king to judge us like all the other nations.”
Pay close attention; they did not demand a king “after God’s own heart” but rather a king “like all the other nations”.
Why didn’t the people ask for a king “after God’s own heart”? The people’s eyes and hearts had strayed from the Lord;
The children of Israel want to be like the “nations”. Have you ever felt sick and tired of being “different”? Sometimes it seems like it would be easier to just be like everyone else.
Be careful what you ask for. Sometimes God will allow it.
In verses 9 the Lord says; “Now listen to them; but warn them solemnly and let them know what the king who will reign over them will claim as his rights.”
What follows is a laundry list of known behaviors of neighboring kings. The list includes all of the disadvantages of having a king rule over them. The Lord wants the people to know exactly what they are asking for and how much it will cost.
One of the most terrifying things that can happen to a person is that God allows us to go forward in our own plans, ideas and purposes. The greatest judgement is that God allows us to have your own way.
Pleasing the Lord was the last thing on the Israelites mind. What they wanted was a guarantee that their enemies would leave them alone. They wanted a real live, tangible, visible, accessible, knowable King. Someone who would judge them, and fight their battles. Someone they could see and follow. They found it too difficult to believe in a God revealed in a book, an invisible God, and obey his commandments. In spite of all that the Lord had done for them (escape from slavery, provision in the wilderness, occupation of the land) they turned their back on the Almighty God and chose a frail, weak, temporal human being to rule over them.
In these verses, Samuel warned the people that the king they were choosing was not God’s perfect will for them. He told them exactly why they would suffer as a result. However, the people ignored Samuel and chose Saul to be their king. This was absolute rebellion to the Most High God.
The people wanted to be like all the nations and have the king they chose. By choosing the king and rejecting the One True God, God would not answer them as a result. What a terrible price to pay for making choices that are contrary to the Lord’s will! When the Lord seems to be silent in our lives, we must examine our hearts and see if we have rejected His directions and gone our own way.
CHOICES – They are so important in our ives in general and especially as we pursue living a life that is pleasing to the Lord. If we make decisions based on our desire to fit in and be like everyone else, we will also suffer the consequences. Many times, our hearts are broken as a result of bad choices we make. However, our Most High God is compassionate and forgives us when we ask Him to do so in Jesus’ name. If Jesus Christ is our Lord and Savior, we will desire to obey God’s will and the choices we make will lead to the healing of our broken hearts.