“Fed up, all the elders of Israel got together and confronted Samuel at Ramah. They presented their case: ‘Look, you’re an old man, and your sons aren’t following in your footsteps. Here’s what we want you to do: Appoint a king to rule us, just like everybody else.’

When Samuel heard their demand—’Give us a king to rule us!’—he was crushed. How awful! Samuel prayed to God.

God answered Samuel, ‘Go ahead and do what they’re asking. They are not rejecting you. They’ve rejected me as their King. From the day I brought them out of Egypt until this very day they’ve been behaving like this, leaving me for other gods. And now they’re doing it to you. So let them have their own way. But warn them of what they’re in for. Tell them the way kings operate, just what they’re likely to get from a king.’

So Samuel told them, delivered God’s warning to the people who were asking him to give them a king. He said, ‘This is the way the kind of king you’re talking about operates. He’ll take your sons and make soldiers of them—chariotry, cavalry, infantry, regimented in battalions and squadrons. He’ll put some to forced labor on his farms, plowing and harvesting, and others to making either weapons of war or chariots in which he can ride in luxury. He’ll put your daughters to work as beauticians and waitresses and cooks. He’ll conscript your best fields, vineyards, and orchards and hand them over to his special friends. He’ll tax your harvests and vintage to support his extensive bureaucracy. Your prize workers and best animals he’ll take for his own use. He’ll lay a tax on your flocks and you’ll end up no better than slaves. The day will come when you will cry in desperation because of this king you so much want for yourselves. But don’t expect God to answer.’

But the people wouldn’t listen to Samuel. ‘No!’ they said. ‘We will have a king to rule us! Then we’ll be just like all the other nations. Our king will rule us and lead us and fight our battles.’ Samuel took in what they said and rehearsed it with God. God told Samuel, ‘Do what they say. Make them a king’.” 1 Samuel 8:4-21 (MSG)


The Israelites looked around at all the other nations and saw what they didn’t have. They didn’t have a king to rule them. Out of their dissatisfaction came a desire that was not God’s best. The people demanded that Samuel, the prophet, give them a king. God had already instructed the people that He would be their King, but the people’s vision for the future was clouded by the nations surrounding them. Interestingly, God allowed the Israelites to get their own way. Their desire for a king changed the course of history for the nation. As the decades began to unfold, they would be tempted to put their faith in their king’s ability to lead and defend them instead of God. At other times, kings with evil in their heart would lead the people astray, far from God. Comparison sowed a seed of discontentment in their hearts. One desire to be like the nations surrounding them would impact and have consequence for generations. Samuel warned them of the danger of having a king rule over them, but the people did not heed his warning.

We can fall prey to a similar desire. We look at the people around us and see what we don’t have. We don’t have the spouse or the family that we thought we would have by now. We don’t have the dream job or the paycheck that we want. Our list of the things we don’t have can begin to cloud our view of our future. Out of our dissatisfaction from comparing what we quantify as our “lack” to other’s “plenty,” we can miss God’s leading or take matters into our own hands. In wanting our own way, it can be tempting to replace God’s priority in our life with something else. The people wanted a king, and God allowed their request to be granted. Can you imagine how God must have felt when the people quantified God as their King as not enough? Even though God knows all, sometimes He allows us to get our own way- even if it’s not His best for us. When we start comparing ourselves to others, we can become disillusioned. What things in your life are you wanting to take into your own hands because you are frustrated at God’s timing or His silence? When you are faced with destiny defining decisions, trust God’s way instead of going your own way. Don’t allow your desire to fit in cause you to make decisions that wouldn’t honor God. When we start comparing ourselves to those around us, it plants seeds of discontentment and dissatisfaction in our hearts. Then, we forget the ways God has blessed our lives. God wants to work strategically in your life for His glory and your good. Even if how God is working in your life doesn’t look like those around you, trust that He is bringing the best into your life at the right time.

Scripture taken from THE MESSAGE. Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002.  Used by permission of NavPress Publishing Group.