“So Samuel passed on the Lord’s warning to the people who were asking him for a king. ‘This is how a king will reign over you,’ Samuel said. ‘The king will draft your sons and assign them to his chariots and his charioteers, making them run before his chariots. Some will be generals and captains in his army, some will be forced to plow in his fields and harvest his crops, and some will make his weapons and chariot equipment. The king will take your daughters from you and force them to cook and bake and make perfumes for him. He will take away the best of your fields and vineyards and olive groves and give them to his own officials. He will take a tenth of your grain and your grape harvest and distribute it among his officers and attendants. He will take your male and female slaves and demand the finest of your cattle and donkeys for his own use. He will demand a tenth of your flocks, and you will be his slaves. When that day comes, you will beg for relief from this king you are demanding, but then the Lord will not help you.’



But the people refused to listen to Samuel’s warning. ‘Even so, we still want a king,’ they said. ‘We want to be like the nations around us. Our king will judge us and lead us into battle.’


So Samuel repeated to the Lord what the people had said, and the Lord replied, ‘Do as they say, and give them a king.’ Then Samuel agreed and sent the people home.” 1 Samuel 8:10-21 (NLT)




The Israelites wanted a king and were willing to sacrifice their future blessing for what they wanted in the moment. Samuel warned the people of the negative consequences of replacing God as their King with a king that could sit on a throne in a city. This new king would create weight upon their lives that didn’t currently exist and take more from them than they were used to giving. However, the people’s desire to be more like their neighbors caused them to adamantly lobby for a king. Samuel was displeased, but God reassured Samuel that it was God that the people were rejecting, not Samuel. When the people refused to listen, God allowed them to have what they wanted. Having a king rule their country would make them look like the surrounding nations, not only in appearance but also in oppression. God had given them freedom, and by wanting their own way, their land would look a little bit closer to the bondage their ancestors had faced in Egypt. God tried to warn the people through Samuel, but they wouldn’t understand the totality of their decision until decades later.


Have you ever wanted something so much that you would do anything to get it? We probably have memories as a kid emptying our piggy bank to go buy the new toy we couldn’t live without. That human desire for what we want never goes away. The Israelites wanted a king. We want success, recognition, or a family. While none of those things are bad in themselves, circumventing God’s will, timing, and method by going our own direction will make all our accomplishments and striving feel empty. We have to surrender our will to His will. Otherwise, we can find ourselves in situations where God allows us to go our own way, even if it’s not His best plan for us. Too often we are preoccupied with comparing our circumstances to other people. However, God has called you to walk in His will for your life. He hasn’t called you to fulfill the calling of somebody else. When we become distracted by the need to fit in with our culture or peers, we can be tempted to walk step by step away from God’s way. The Israelites sacrificed their future freedom but getting what they wanted today. What are you sacrificing tomorrow by going your own way today? We always sacrifice a greater blessing when we refuse to follow God’s way over our own. Yet, when we follow Him in obedience, we get a front row seat to the unconventional ways God wants to work in our lives.

Scripture quotations marked (NLT) are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved. 

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About Hona Amer

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