1 Samuel 5-9 readings tell us about the taking of the Ark of the Covenant and the hemorrhoids that results for anyone besides the Israelites. These chapters tell us how Samuel will be the last Judge and prophet list that started in Judges. There is a great shift in governance for the people of Israel. Coming out of Egypt, the people are aligned by Tribe and clan. The administration of duties for each of the Sons of Israel are well delineated at the making of the “mobile” Tabernacle. We see this in Joshua when he seeks out Achen in the tribe of Judah. Then as we move into the occupying of the Promise Land the people are further divided into boundary areas of inheritance. The Judges were appointed/raised up by God to deliver them from the enemies, which were a result of disobedience to the Law and God. Samuel was raised as a priest, but in 1 Samuel 7 we find that he was a Judge of the people.
A side note before we get into the request for a king. In 1 Samuel 7:12 we find the “Ebenezer stone” being established by Samuel. I and maybe many of you know the song and phrase – “Here I raise my Ebenezer” having no idea what the phrase even meant. Ebenezer means a “stone of Help.” Samuel was worshipping God for the deliverance from the Philistines. Ebenezer was an altar stone – a place of worship.
Years go by with the stability of Samuel judging the people. But in 1 Samuel 8 there is the description of Eli and his sons, who profaned the Sanctuary by their reproach of the people and Tabernacle. The people raise up [cry out to God] in verse 7 – God is aware of the people’s cry, also that their cry is a selfish one. The proverb – Two wrongs never make a right applies to this passage and request for a king. Yes the people were right in identifying the immoral sons actions, no they were not right in asking for a king to rule over them. There is a great exchange between God and Samuel – Samuel argues against a king; but God says listen to the people for they have not rejected you but have rejected Me. Even though the people are putting the pressure for a king [so they could be like the other nations] God will be the one to “appoint” the “prince” to rule over His people. It is amazing how God uses even our disobedience to prove His power and sovereignty in all things.
There is so much talk today about government. Frankly I’m tired of all of it. The government – ours with a president was “asked for by the people.” Samuel explains the cost it will be to have a king. Before Israel was rule and judged by a “seer” prophet of God’s choosing. Not the people want to vote! None of us like to pay taxes, but the taxes are needed to run/support the government that we want to rule over us. It will cost our sons/daughters for armies to fight wars; it will cost us our daughters to work the jobs to make the supplies for the war. The government will take “a tenth” for support of the people needed to support the government and king/president.
There is a problematic verse 1 Samuel 8:19 – no we want to be like all the other nations. Israel was God’s own unique people. Countless times they were told do not be like the nations that you/I are disposing of in the Promise Land. AT this point as Believers, as we satisfied with God as our potentate? Or do we want to be like the rest of the world? It will cost you and I if we desire the things of this world over the Grace/Mercy of God.
Okay, so the people want a king [God identifies him as a prince – 1 Samuel 9:16] God looks at the inside of a person, the secret and crevasses of the heart. Man always looks on the outside. How tall, handsome, strong and the other human descriptors. Saul – big, brawny and beautiful. Yet this is who Samuel is led to “appoint” as king.” Yes the people will get a king, but oh what a price to pay.
In our current government shut-down, there is so much rhetoric and squabble. I have read and seen where some pastors and Christian leaders are identifying with a particular party of the government. I hear so much about “what is my government doing for me?” People fail to realize, all power is given by heaven – that power invested by God into men can bless or burden down the people. Will we as believers understand we don’t need a king, for we already have one! King Jesus! Interesting the Religious leaders of Jesus day – “we have no king but Caesar!” Be careful what you ask for!