A King Like Theirs

Background Story: Samuel was the last Judge of Israel and a prophet of God who received and spoke messages from God to the people.

Read 1 Samuel 8:1-21

When Samuel grew old, he appointed his sons as Israel’s leaders. The name of his firstborn was Joel and the name of his second was Abijah, and they served at Beersheba. But his sons did not follow his ways. They turned aside after dishonest gain and accepted bribes and perverted justice.

So all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah. They said to him, “You are old, and your sons do not follow your ways; now appoint a king to lead us, such as all the other nations have.”

But when they said, “Give us a king to lead us,” this displeased Samuel; so he prayed to the Lord.And the Lord told him: “Listen to all that the people are saying to you; it is not you they have rejected, but they have rejected me as their king. As they have done from the day I brought them up out of Egypt until this day, forsaking me and serving other gods, so they are doing to you. 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.”

10 Samuel told all the words of the Lord to the people who were asking him for a king. 11 He said, “This is what the king who will reign over you will claim as his rights: He will take your sons and make them serve with his chariots and horses, and they will run in front of his chariots. 12 Some he will assign to be commanders of thousands and commanders of fifties, and others to plow his ground and reap his harvest, and still others to make weapons of war and equipment for his chariots. 13 He will take your daughters to be perfumers and cooks and bakers. 14 He will take the best of your fields and vineyards and olive groves and give them to his attendants. 15 He will take a tenth of your grain and of your vintage and give it to his officials and attendants. 16 Your male and female servants and the best of your cattle and donkeys he will take for his own use. 17 He will take a tenth of your flocks, and you yourselves will become his slaves. 18 When that day comes, you will cry out for relief from the king you have chosen, but the Lord will not answer you in that day.”

19 But the people refused to listen to Samuel. “No!” they said. “We want a king over us. 20 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.”

21 When Samuel heard all that the people said, he repeated it before the Lord. 22 The Lord answered, “Listen to them and give them a king.”

Big Idea: We are called to have only one King and ruler of our lives.

A king to rule over us. The people of Israel came to Samuel the prophet asking for him to appoint a king to rule and preside over their nation. To this point, Israel had no king but God. God had led Abraham to a new land. God had delivered His people out of Egypt by parting the Red Sea. God had fed them in the desert raining down bread from heaven. God had brought down the walls of Jericho. God had delivered them from the Canaanites, the Perizzites, the Midianites, the Philistines, and many other armies. Yet in verse 19 and 20, 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.” Had not God gone out before them to fight their battles time and time again?

“Like all the other nations.” These words have been playing in my mind over and over. Israel wasn’t called to be like the other nations. They were called to be set apart to belong to God. They were made to be different. They were made to be holy. They were made to be God’s chosen people. When Israel asked for a king, as God said “it is not you they have rejected, but they have rejected me as their king.” (V7)

As Christians or Christ followers, we are not called to be “like all the other” turning to the idols of this world “to lead us and to go out before us and fight our battles.” We are called to be set apart… to be different. We are called to be His. 1 Peter 2: 9-10 says, “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, to proclaim the virtues of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.”

Today, pray and ask God to reveal how you are conforming to the world reaching to their idols for your comfort, protection, defense, security and fulfillment. Ask for forgiveness for any idolatry (setting other things above God) that lives in your heart. Praise Him for who He is. Ask God to help you this week to be set apart “to proclaim the virtues of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.”

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