by Christopher Harbin

Give Us a King
Christopher B. Harbin
1 Samuel 8:4-17; John 6:5-15

We rarely really know what it is we want or need, much less what we really ask for. We have many ideas of what is good, what is better, or what is necessary, but all too often our beliefs are less than true. We think we know what we want, but we don't really understand the issues. We think we understand, but we don't really grasp what is important. We see the world with through blinders, too often unaware of what is before us, at least what lies under the surface we more readily see. It happened over and over to the Hebrews and Jews, just as it happens over and over in our own lives.

Samuel was concerned with Israel's request for a king. There was a sense in which they were rejecting his own leadership, as they did not trust his sons to follow in his footsteps. As Eli's sons had not been faithful in following their father in service to Yahweh, so Samuel's own sons had departed from a life of submission to Yahweh's direction. The people looked around and saw other nations with their kings who would lead them in battle against their enemies, offering protection. That is what they wanted for themselves. They wanted the security they attributed to having defined, strong leadership to carry them into battle and increase stability for the nation.

Samuel tried to argue with them, but they would not listen to him. Their decision was already made and his words fell on closed ears. They heard the words, but did not truly process the implications of their meaning. They did not closely evaluate the consequences set before them.

Samuel warned them of the cost to having a king. They answered without thinking it through. God alerted Samuel not to take the decision personally, for it was actually not Samuel who was being rejected, but Yahweh. The people did not want to trust in god they could not see. They did not want to place their lives, futures, and fortune in the hands of Yahweh when they could no ...

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