The First King of Israel
Is this the title of a book or movie? Because it should be. I am studying the life and times of King Saul who was Israel's first king. I started reading I Samuel about 2 weeks ago and just wanted to share a few things on here about what I've been reading. First some thoughts regarding Samuel and some questions I have raised.
Chapter 8 of I Samuel
One thing that startled me here is Samuel's family. The prophet Samuel had sons who "walked not in his ways, but turned aside after lucre, and took bribes, and perverted judgement."(v.3) All the elders of Israel even knew this: "...they sons walk not in thy ways..."(v.5). Yet, still Samuel appointed them judges over Israel. Firstly, why did Samuel's sons not walk in his ways? Secondly, if Samuel knew they didn't, why did he appoint them judges over Israel?
According to verse 5, the aforementioned rebelliousness of Samuel's sons is part of the reason the elders asked for a king to judge them. Obviously, this request was not entirely a reflection of Samuel's failures. Had this been the case, they would have simply cast out Samuel completely and appointed their own king. They must have had some respect for Samuel to bother asking him. The Lord spoke to Samuel and said "they have not rejected thee..."(v.7) although it may have seen like rejection to Samuel.
They wanted a king because all the other nations had one. They did not hide their reasons: "...like all the nations."(v.20). So Samuel told all the people who had asked for a king the words the Lord had spoken to him on the matter (v.10). The people's response is found in verse 19-20: "...we will have a king over us; that we may also be like all the nations; and that our king may judge us, and go out before us, and fight our battles."
It seems that Israel is a reflection of the heart of people everywhere. Even Samuel, who was quite obedient to the Lord, yet failed at teaching his sons to do the same, was imperfect. And so the people of Israel had no mortal leader at this time, saw that all the other nations did, and wanted that for themselves. They were God's chosen people, but rejected what could have been in favor of their selfish desires. In essence:
They wanted someone to do for them what they didn't believe they could do themselves.
Yet, so is it in the church today. Yet, so is it in my life today. We want another to go out before us and fight our battles. So we elect our spiritual leaders and have them tell us what we should do and how to live. We have them preach to us over and over again because we can't read the Word for ourselves. We want a king, but not the one that pierces our hearts, convicts us, causes repentance and then makes us holy. That sort of king has no business meddling in my personal affairs. I want a king that is like me. One that suits my needs.
God help us.
Hear the Word of the Lord spoken to Israel through Samuel in verse 18: "And ye shall cry out in that day because of your king which ye shall have chosen you; and the Lord will not hear you in that day."
For me, the Lord is saying: There is a true King that wishes to rule in your hearts and change you into His image. Will you take the king made in your image? Or the King which will make you into his?