Originally, the Nation of Israel was a theocracy meaning they were governed by God. While it is true they had leaders such as Moses, Joshua and later judges such as Gideon and Samuel, these leaders were chosen by God to lead the people as He directed.
In 1 Samuel 8, the leaders of Israel, dissatisfied with the corruption of Samuel's sons, met with Samuel and demanded that they have a king like all the other nations had. It was right that they were upset about the corruption but rather than seek God in regards to correcting the situation, they had their made up their minds about the matter. What they thought they needed was a king and they would settle for nothing less than that.
Upset, Samuel sought God for advice. God told him to give them what they asked for. He told Samuel that they had not rejected Samuel... they had rejected God.
Another word for patience is "long-suffering". I think that word aptly describes the patience of God. However, there comes a time when even God will say that enough is enough and it had reached that point.
Listen to what God says to Samuel:
Samuel faithfully passed on God's warning to the people. He told them that the king would draft their sons into the army. Some would command the troops but others would become slave laborers. He would force them to farm his fields, forge his weapons, force their daughters to work in his household, take the best of everything, take a tenth of their harvest and livestock and in short, they would no longer be free. They would be slaves of the king.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. Do as they ask, but solemnly warn them about the way a king will reign over them.- 1 Samuel 8:8-9 (NLT)
Saul looked like a king. The Bible tells us he was the most handsome man in Israel and he was head and shoulders taller than anyone else in the land. (1 Samuel 9:2). Saul protests to Samuel later that his family was the least important of all the families in the Tribe of Benjamin (1 Samuel 9:21) which gives us the impression that Saul came from a poor or at least "middle class" family. To put it bluntly what Saul was saying wasn't true. You see, prior to that statement, the Bible tells us that Saul's father, Kish, was a rich and influential man. (1 Samuel 9:1) This gives us our first glimpse at the character of Saul. He exhibited false modesty and later other behavior such as believing it was okay for him to disobey God and his consuming jealousy of David suggests he may have even been a narcissist.But the people refused to listen to Samuel’s warning.“Even so, we still want a king,” they said. We want to be like the nations around us. Our king will judge us and lead us into battle. So Samuel repeated to the Lord what the people had said, and the Lord replied, “Do as they say, and give them a king.” Then Samuel agreed and sent the people home.- 1 Samuel 8:19-22 (NLT)
While reading the account of Saul, I came across something which I had never noticed before. Please take a look at the following verse:
Did you catch that? God was no longer the focus of all of Israel's hopes. Saul and his family were now the focus. In other words, rather than looking to God as their provider and deliverer, they now looked to Saul and his family.And don’t worry about those donkeys that were lost three days ago, for they have been found. And I am here to tell you that you and your family are the focus of all Israel’s hopes.- 1 Samuel 9:20 (NLT) (emphasis mine)
Who or what is the focus of your hope?
Good blog with a strong message.
you know, I had never realised the significence of that verse until just thre now. Wow.. who is the focus of my hope? maybe my actions belie my words
[quote]“And don’t worry about those donkeys that were lost three days ago, for they have been found. And I am here to tell you that you and your family are the focus of all Israel’s hopes.” - 1 Samuel 9:20 (NLT) (emphasis mine)[/quote]
Who would have thought that something so vital to our Christian walk would be tucked in after a sentence about donkeys! Shows the importance of reading carefully.