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The Israelites requested to have a king. They refused to listen the Lord. Samuel told the Lord, and so the Lord told Samuel that they could have a king.
“Nevertheless, the people refused to listen to the voice of Samuel, and they said, “No, but there shall be a king over us, that we also may be like all the nations, that our king may judge us and go out before us and fight our battles.” Now after Samuel had heard all the words of the people, he repeated them in the LORD’S hearing. And the LORD said to Samuel, “Listen to their voice, and appoint them a king.” So Samuel said to the men of Israel, “Go every man to his city.” (1 Samuel 8:19-22).
Life seems so easy, but man makes it difficult. God’s way is much better, but man insists on his own plans and are convinced that his own thoughts are better. He insists on his own choice. God does give in to their request, but the consequences would follow them for many centuries.
Think through what happened in the Garden of Eden. The same thing happened. The tempter came in an enticed Adam and Eve to deny God’s rule over their lives. When we accept God’s rule, then we follow what He has said. It is obvious that God promises much more than earthly kings. The Garden of Eden proved it. No man can give us such a habitat, no matter what promises they make. The tempter comes in again and again tempting man to think that his plan or way, such as having their own king, would be better. This incident is as the Lord declared just another sign of the same stubborn heart.
1 Samuel 9:1 marks a significant step in Israelite history. They will begin to have their own kings. God was a much better king but now they need to learn the inferiority of earthly kings so that they can long and dream for the righteous king God promised (which is Jesus Christ). It might appear that the royal years were good such as when King David and King Solomon ruled. It was not bad, but this is only by God’s grace, and it was a short period. Overall the years the kings over Israel and Judah were evil and did not seek God’s ways. Even David and Solomon had severe flaws which impacted thousands of Israelites.
Solomon chose to have many chariots despite the Law’s prohibition to have them (cf. 1 Kings 10:26). After this, in 1 Kings 11 it begins to tell how Solomon’s heart left God.
Don’t forget that the Israelites many years later also would reject Jesus as the King of Israel. This would not be anything new but through rejection of the King of Israel, God would make a way that we could have forgiveness through Jesus and a new heart to embrace His Lordship.
The Lord is king but do you in a similar way insist on your own ways? Do you think your way is better than what God has outlined for you? Beware of the tempter and his promises. Our sin reveals our unbelief. We have come to put our trust in a good other than God.
Is there any reason to doubt God’s provision? No. He is faithful. God has provided them with their own land even with milk and honey, but still they think their own ways are better.
God’s people often fall into situations where they think a way other than God provides is better. In each case, man turns away from the Lord. They turn from the best. They compromise. What will it take in our lives to conclude and live by those convictions that God’s ways are always better even though it might at the moment seem inferior? How?
Obey your parents?
Live within your means?
Patient to others?
The best way to live is in a reckless pursuit of God. Reckless in the sense that at times following Him will seem to be crazy. If God was not there closely monitoring things, it would be foolish or dangerous.
God is there, however.
He is watching over you and I. As we live by His promises through these times, we will find a special garden spring up all around us. God is seeking out those who would confess Him as King and follow Him.
“For as the earth brings forth its sprouts, And as a garden causes the things sown in it to spring up, So the Lord GOD will cause righteousness and praise To spring up before all the nations” (Isaiah 61:11).
Check out our Digital Old Testament Library for a huge collection of resources on 1 Samuel and all of the Old Testament!