The Lord said to Samuel, “Do everything the people request of you.
For it is not you that they have rejected,
but it is me that they have rejected as their king.
This hurts. As a mother I have heard the words “I hate you!” Heartbreaking for any parent to hear. I may even recall saying them a couple of times myself. (Sorry, Mom.)
I know we are talking about kings and not parents in this verse from 1 Samuel but idea is the same. At this point in the Israelite’s history, they desired a king to lead them instead of the priests. They wanted to be like everyone else. It is likely when the words of rejection came from my own child’s lips were because I was not allowing her to do something everyone else was doing. Things seemed better in that other world and if she had a new mother then her life would clearly be different.
Perhaps that’s also the reasoning behind the Israelite’s request. Things are not going so great with these priest guys at this point of their history. Some leaders proved to be good while others were down right corrupt. The people’s solution—maybe a king would work better. That would be a good solution.
They pleaded with Samuel, their prophet, saying, “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.”[1 Samuel 8:20] Certainly a king would make their life better. That’s what they wanted and that’s what God gave them along with a long list of additional stipulations of what would be required. Ouch! More requirements?! Seems crazy, but the Israelites were all for the transfer of authority no matter the cost.
On a personal level, we may find ourselves doing this sort of thing every day. For instance, rather than exercising self-control we decide that our physical fitness issues would be better addressed if we join a weight loss program or hire a personal trainer. Yes, it is going to cost us in resources and time but it will be worth it. Our lives will be better if we do. Then our coach reveals to us the directions we must follow— we must exercise self-control. Same prescription but now it’s gonna cost us. The key to success all along was our willingness to follow.
Don’t be a hater because I use exercise and diet as an example. It just happens to be the one I struggle with, but to have success in it, I must choose to follow the leader. Same with how I spend my money, studying Scripture, handling marriage and parenting. God has already taken the lead, has given me hand written instructions and is even willing to coach me through if I am just willing to be under his authority and follow him. I can look to man for help but the truth is, if it’s going to work God has already thought of it. He designed the world and all that is in it. And He can see the big picture from beginning to end. God knows just how things will work best. In the story of our friends the Israelites, they were still going to be required to follow His lead if they would see victories under their new leadership. It would be up to them to take action. As for me, I think I will choose success with God and His leadership every time.
Some trust in chariots and some in horses,
but we trust in the name of the LORD our God.
Therefore encourage one another and build up each other, just as you are in fact doing. 1 Thessalonians 5:11