19 But the people refused to obey the voice of Samuel. And they said, “No! But there shall be a king over us, 20 that we also may be like all the nations, and that our king may judge us and go out before us and fight our battles.” 21 And when Samuel had heard all the words of the people, he repeated them in the ears of the Lord. 22 And the Lord said to Samuel, “Obey their voice and make them a king.” Samuel then said to the men of Israel, “Go every man to his city.”
(1 Samuel 8:19-22)
Yesterday we learned that Israel wanted a king to rule over them so they could be like all the other nations. They saw the kings that the nations around them had and likewise wanted a similar king for themselves.
They wanted a king to judge them (correct their mistakes and resolve their disputes) and who would go out before them and fight their battles. What they didn’t realize was they already had a leader who did those things in God Himself.
Beginning at the exodus, God had been leading Israel [Exodus 13:21]. After Israel was settled in the Promised Land, God appointed human judges such as Deborah, Gideon, and Samson. These judges would lead Israel in battles against their oppressive enemies such as the Moabites, Ammonites, and Amalekites among others [Judges 3:12-14, 4:1-3 et. al].
Furthermore, God Himself would often directly fight Israel’s battles for them. Shortly before Israel demanded a king, God miraculously defeated the Philistines [1 Samuel 7:10-11]. But apparently the people of Israel – and more astonishingly, their leaders – had forgotten all this.
Israel already had a king. They had the perfect king in God Himself. But they did not want God to lead them. They wanted a human being to lead them. Sounds just like today, doesn’t it?
In our modern world, people have rejected the notion of God and instead place their hopes and trust in human leaders be they government officials, business leaders, or entertainers. The sad part of all this is, just like ancient Israel, people are spurning the best for a much more inferior substitute.
This is, of course, nothing new. Israel rejected God in favor of a human king. Centuries later they would reject Jesus as their savior and king declaring that they had no king other than the human – and incredibly cruel – Caesar [John 19:15].
Rather than accept the benevolent leadership of God and His Son, the human race would rather be led by less-than-perfect, often-cruel, and certainly-flawed human leaders. The two major candidates in this year’s presidential election in the United States are prime examples.
The truth is we could not ask for anything more than God’s love, power, concern, and wisdom. In God we have all that we could possibly need [2 Peter 1:3]. With God there is nothing lacking. And He’s more than willing to give it all to us… if we want it [Psalm 16:5-9].
God will not force Himself on people. He gives us the ability and freedom to choose. We can accept Him or reject Him. Sadly, the vast majority of the human race has chosen to reject Him and does so more and more with the passage of time. As Jesus told us, only a very few of all the people who ever live will accept Him [Matthew 7:13-14].
One of the Old Testament names for God is Jehovah-Jireh – “the Lord who provides” or, more literally, “the Lord who will see to it”. God will see to it that all of our needs are met [Genesis 22:12-14].
God provides forgiveness. He provides healing. He redeems. He offers perfect wisdom. He protects [Psalm 23:1, 103:2-5; Psalm 91; James 1:5]. And so much more.
God provides all we could ever need [Philippians 4:19]. There’s no reason to look anywhere else.
Comments? Questions? I’d love to hear from you. Please feel free to contact me about this post.