But the people refused to listen to Samuel. “No!” they said. “We want a king over us. Then we will be like all the other nations, with a king to lead us and to go out before us and fight our battles.” (1 Samuel 8:19-20 NIV)
Samuel took it personally. After years of his wise leadership, the elders of Israel on behalf of the people were stating clearly that they no longer wanted him or his kind. They had a point with regard to his sons who he had set up in his place. They were nothing like their Dad – Samuel was a wise and godly just leader, the sons in contrast exploited the system for their own gain.
God, however, gave a larger perspective of the problem. Israel historically had chafed against divine rule despite His acts of goodness to them. Whenever they could they would run after the gods of others and reject God. This desire for a king was another snub to their Deliverer. Rather than trusting the One who delivered them from Egypt and more recently from rule from the Philistines they wanted to be like their defeated neighbours.
As snubs and disrespect goes this was a particularly hurtful one. Rejecting all sufficiency for mediocrity and then poverty. Rejecting rightful and just rule for the stringent and potentially oppressive rule of man was not just disrespecting God it also showed a lack of regard for their own welfare.
What did God do in the light of this? Did He wipe them out? Nope. He let them have it. Despite severe warnings from God, they wanted to press ahead and God let them have it.
As they would soon discover it’s not good following others in what appears good and rejecting the best.
For His Name’s Sake
C. L. J. Dryden