Read 1 Samuel 8:1-22
Some people just seem to have a problem with authority. It doesn’t matter who the authority figure is or what rule or restriction he/she may be trying to enforce, those who struggle with authority will likely object.
Indeed, this was part of the challenge that Samuel faced in the latter part of his life. Having served as a prophet/judge over Israel for decades, he sought to leave in place the next generation of leaders. His sons seemed like the right choice. Unfortunately, they, unlike their father, led selfishly. And other leaders in Israel objected. Now, certainly, their objection was in part justified. Those who lead should be unselfish people of integrity, and Joel and Abijah were not.
But in their objection, they also voiced a wish. They wanted a king. They wanted to abandon the use of judges that had been part of their last 350 year history. They wanted to try something new. Their rationale was based on romanticized reasoning found in verses 19 and 20.
- “All of the surrounding nations have kings. It seems to work for them. We should have one too!”
- “Our king will be a person skilled in battle. We will probably never lose again!”
Did they really know what they were getting themselves into? Good question! God tried to warn them about a military draft, about government servants, and about taxes. Still they insisted. In their minds, a king would solve all of their problems.
Even though God permitted Samuel to move ahead with the selection process, He, however, made clear that there was a deeper seated problem. This was bigger than, “We don’t like the way the sons of Samuel are leading!” No, it was more than a rejection of human authorities. At its core, the nation had been unwilling to submit to the very authority of God!
Do you submit to His authority? Are there areas of your life where you cut corners and compromise? Do you perhaps rationalize that the expectations are too high? Or that you don’t feel any immediate repercussions for choosing a course contrary to His plans? Don’t be like the Israelites! Gladly submit to God and to the authority structures within the nation, church, and family that are part of His plan!