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)
Today we read that Samuel went to the Lord for the second time, telling Him all the words of the people who had again demanded a king [1 Samuel 8:19-20]. And God told Samuel, for the third time, to obey their voice and make them a king.
It’s not that God was pleased with their request. He was not. He knew, as did Samuel, that the demand the people were making – to have a human king rule over them – was a bad idea. Having a king would create more problems than it would solve. But the people weren’t thinking that rationally.
They were only thinking of the alleged positive aspects of having a king. Even after hearing all the negative ways their lives would change as a result of having a king the people were undeterred. They stubbornly refused to listen to God’s advice.
So God decided to give them exactly what they wanted in order to show them it was exactly what they didn’t want. This is an important principle about God that we need to understand.
God certainly loves to give His children good things [James 1:17]. But sometimes God will give us something that is bad for us out of His love for us. He does this to teach us that we are better off without such a thing and to also teach us that He knows best: we should listen to His advice.
God only wants the best for us [Jeremiah 29:11; John 10:10; 3 John:1-2]. And He will constantly try to give it to us. But if we’re not wise enough to take it He won’t force it on us. Instead, He’ll give us what we think we want thereby providing us the regretful opportunity to learn the hard way that what we wanted wasn’t really as good as we thought it would be.
Wise people think their ideas through [Luke 14:28-32]. They look at the pros and cons. If the cons outweigh the pros, they wisely decide not to move forward. Only a fool would continue with a plan that was destined to fail.
Sometimes we have our heart set on something and are so enamored with the idea that we don’t see the pitfalls in front of us. It is at times like this that we need the counsel of someone who knows more than we do and who is not so emotionally attached to the situation.
Wise people are humble. They realize they may not have all the answers. So they seek out and heed the advice of those who know more than they [Proverbs 12:15; 19:20; 14:16; 1:5; 1:20-23 et. al].
And there is no wiser counsel than God [Psalm 119:105; Proverbs 1:7 et. al]. God gave Israel the advice they needed to hear. But they ignored it, thinking they knew better. So God let them have their way.
There was no more need for discussion so Samuel sent every man back to his own city. Israel was going to get their king. And they were going to regret it.
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