GOD PERMITS CHOICE
Thank you Lord Jesus; I know in your presence who I am, whose I am, and why I am here!
Read 1 SAMUEL 8
Israel Asks for a King
8 When Samuel grew old, he appointed his sons as Israel’s leaders.[a] 2 The name of his firstborn was Joel and the name of his second was Abijah, and they served at Beersheba. 3 But his sons did not follow his ways. They turned aside after dishonest gain and accepted bribes and perverted justice.
4 So all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah. 5 They said to him, “You are old, and your sons do not follow your ways; now appoint a king to lead[b] us, such as all the other nations have.”
6 But when they said, “Give us a king to lead us,” this displeased Samuel; so he prayed to the Lord. 7 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. 8 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. 9 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[c] 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.”
Then Samuel said to the Israelites, “Everyone go back to your own town.”
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectDo you know anyone who is having to make a difficult choice in life? Listen out to what God is saying.
Do your sympathies lie with Samuel, the elders of Israel, or even God? We are so used to God’s people turning away from doing right, that it is easy to immediately condemn them for asking for their own king. But their motives are understandable – who would want one of Samuel’s sons to succeed his father (v 3)? Neighboring monarchies appear an attractive option (v 20). Samuel, however, knows of the weaknesses of the judges’ era when there was no hereditary leadership. He has effectively combined spiritual with civic leadership, but his sons have not absorbed that model. He can’t see this and feels rejected (v 7).
God knows his people have only ever been faithful to him intermittently (v 8). In his great wisdom, he allows them to have their own king, insisting that they are made fully aware of the dangers. The reigns of King David, Hezekiah and Josiah are evidence that kingship would not be a total disaster. This is an example of God graciously giving his people a choice.
Like God’s people we can make requests to God with mixed or confused motives. We may choose the way of compromise, or simply make mistakes.
Live in awe of God, so that you’ll not only enjoy his compassion but make right decisions.
Loving One, I need to focus on listening to you. Help me filter out the many other competing voices and clearly hear when you speak to me.
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