Israel Wanted A King

20 “We want to be like the nations around us. Our king will judge us and lead us into battle.”
1 Samuel 8:20 (NLT)

We shall continue with the story in the previous article. Since Prophet Samuel took over the top job in Israel, he initiated reforms to the nation to bring his people back to God. His reformation made Israel strong again. The Philistines were defeated and they stayed on their side of the border. No one dared to attack Israel and the nation prospered.

As Samuel grew older and older, he began to delegate his duties to his sons. Unfortunately, he had the same problem as his predecessor, Prophet Eli. His sons were corrupt. They abused their positions to demand bribes from the people.

1 As Samuel grew old, he appointed his sons to be judges over Israel.
2 Joel and Abijah, his oldest sons, held court in Beersheba.
3 But they were not like their father, for they were greedy for money. They accepted bribes and perverted justice.
1 Samuel 8:1-3 (NLT)

One day, all the elders of Israel had a meeting with Samuel and asked for a king over them. What was their reason? Samuel’s sons were corrupt and hopeless. A king is better.

4 Finally, all the elders of Israel met at Ramah to discuss the matter with Samuel.
5 “Look,” they told him, “you are now old, and your sons are not like you. Give us a king to judge us like all the other nations have.”
1 Samuel 8:4-5 (NLT)

The question here, is having a king the solution to the corrupt and incompetent sons of Samuel? What made them think that the king would be less corrupt than Samuel’s sons? We shall look into this issue later. Let us see how Samuel responded.

6 Samuel was displeased with their request and went to the Lord for guidance.
7 “Do everything they say to you,” the Lord replied, “for it is me they are rejecting, not you. They don’t want me to be their king any longer.
8 Ever since I brought them from Egypt they have continually abandoned me and followed other gods. And now they are giving you the same treatment.
9 Do as they ask, but solemnly warn them about the way a king will reign over them.”
1 Samuel 8:6-9 (NLT)

Samuel was not pleased. He went to the Lord for guidance. The Lord was not pleased too. As far as God was concern, it was his people’s rejection of him. The Israelites preferred to have a human king than the Lord as their king because they wanted to be like the nations around them. However, God behaved like a gentlemen. Since the people wanted a king, the Lord will give them one. He told Samuel to tell them the cost of having a king.

10 So Samuel passed on the Lord’s warning to the people who were asking him for a king.
11 “This is how a king will reign over you,” Samuel said. “The king will draft your sons and assign them to his chariots and his charioteers, making them run before his chariots.
12 Some will be generals and captains in his army, some will be forced to plow in his fields and harvest his crops, and some will make his weapons and chariot equipment.
13 The king will take your daughters from you and force them to cook and bake and make perfumes for him.
14 He will take away the best of your fields and vineyards and olive groves and give them to his own officials.
15 He will take a tenth of your grain and your grape harvest and distribute it among his officers and attendants.
16 He will take your male and female slaves and demand the finest of your cattle and donkeys for his own use.
17 He will demand a tenth of your flocks, and you will be his slaves.
18 When that day comes, you will beg for relief from this king you are demanding, but then the Lord will not help you.”
1 Samuel 8:10-18 (NLT)

This is my response to the above passage: Wow, so expensive! I do not think Samuel’s sons would demand that much. If I were them, I would rather live under the rule of Samuel’s corrupt sons than to have a king that made the above demands for the simple reason that the former option is cheaper. Was that the respond of the Israelites as well?

19 But the people refused to listen to Samuel’s warning. “Even so, we still want a king,” they said.
20 “We want to be like the nations around us. Our king will judge us and lead us into battle.”
1 Samuel 8:19-20 (NLT)

They still wanted a king despite the high cost they had to pay. This tells us that their reason of having a king to solve the problem of Samuel’s corrupt sons was not valid at all. They did not want a king because they thought the king would cost them lesser than Samuel’s sons. They wanted a king because the other nations around them had one each. They wanted to go to the trend despite the higher cost they had to pay.

Since they wanted a king, God agreed to give them one.

21 So Samuel repeated to the Lord what the people had said,
22 and the Lord replied, “Do as they say, and give them a king.” Then Samuel agreed and sent the people home.
1 Samuel 8:21-22 (NLT)

Let us stop here to evaluate what we can learn for this story. The Israelites wanted a king. Why? The only answer is vanity. They just wanted to copy their neighbors. They did not expect the king to help them in any way. The nation under Samuel was strong and prosperous. The only problem there was Samuel corrupt sons. There are ways to solve corruptions and having a king is not one of them. In fact, Samuel had even told them that the king would even cost them more money. Yet the Israelites insisted on having one and they were willing to pay for that all because they wanted to be like other nations.

How can we learn from this? Do not let vanity get into our heads. It is good to have nice things but we must always count the cost. You may be dreaming of buying a bigger house or car. That is great. Our Christian lives must not be stagnant. We should be constantly improving. Having a bigger house and car is only part of our progress in life. However, we must also consider the cost of doing so.

You need to ask whether you have the finances in place to pay for those dreams. If you don’t, then delay those plans and make enough money first. It is better to defer your dream house than to buy now and have it repossessed because you cannot afford the installments.

The worst reason for buying expensive things is to follow others. Just because many people around you are driving expensive cars, it does not mean you must get yourself similar car as well. You must think of whether you really like driving those types of cars and whether you can financially afford it. It will cause even bigger embarrassment if your car got repossessed.

In conclusion, God wants us to have good things in life. He also wants us to be secured with who we are. We are the head and not the tail. We do not have to subject ourselves to a heavy financial burden just because we want to follow the crowd. Trust in God. He is the one we should follow, not the crowd and he will give us a better future if we choose to trust in him.

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One Response to “Israel Wanted A King”

  1. Daniel Says:

    I’s interesting how much alike we are allover the world. I guess it has something to do with our grandfather Adam.

    Daniel


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