Fit for a King?
The Lord replied, “Do as they say, and give them a king” (v.22).
Singapore is a democratic state. It was a British colony for 150 years and had a string of kings and queens during that time period. But now democracy rules the day!
In 1 Samuel 1:1 we find the people of Israel demanding a king.
Why did they want a royal ruler? At first glance two reasons stand out. Samuel was old and his sons were corrupt (1 Samuel 1:5). We need to do succession planning, they argued.
But in chapter 12 we learn that the military threat posed by Nahash, the king of Ammon, was perhaps the fundamental reason the Israelites wanted a king. They wanted a king who would lead them into battle, just like all the other nations.
We call this expediency. (Haven’t you and I done something that was expedient?) Essentially the people were saying: “We don’t want to be a distinct nation. We don’t want God to be our king any longer.”
Samuel warned that having a king similar to all the nations would mean the loss of freedoms and possessions that the people presently enjoyed. (Note the recurrence of the words “take” and “best” in 1 Samuel 8:11.) Yet the people insisted.
One Bible commentator wrote: “To the Israelites the price they will pay for their king is judged as far less than they will pay for being subject to other nations. What they do not understand is that God will protect them at no cost if they simply repent of their sins, cry out for deliverance and serve Him with their whole heart.”
Oswald Chambers reminds us: “Don’t glory in man, for the best of men are but the best of men; bank on God alone.”
—Poh Fang Chia
Read 2 Chronicles 20:1 for an example of someone who banked on God alone, and notice the results of his actions.
Under what circumstances do you find it most tempting to take things into your own hands rather than to trust in God? What are the implications of being a distinct people with God as our King?