A king for Israel.
1 Samuel 8:1-9
After Samuel was old having judged Israel for 40 years, knowing he could no longer do the job, he appointed his sons as judges. The Bible tells us that these men were evil, corrupted men, and did not walk in the way of Samuel which created a problem. The elders of Israel were upset and demanded a king to lead them that was like the nations around them. This vacuum of good leadership is what lead them to demand a king. Apparently, they felt like these young judges had failed them and they needed a better way to lead the nation.
The only solution, at least in their minds, was to try to be like the nations around them. God sees this as a rejection of Him and His leadership as their King. They doubted God’s ability to correct the problem of these evil judges and lead them forward to a better future for the nation.
Obviously, based on Samuel and God’s reaction to their demand, they wanted to be free from God, from the requirements of following God. This decision came with profound consequences that they could not have foreseen. By rejecting God, they are rejecting His power, protection, and blessings. All the good things He had done for them would no longer be available to them.
Most people read this account and conclude that God did not want Israel to have a king. Nothing could be further from the truth. In Genesis 17:7 God promises Abraham that kings would come from him. In Genesis 49:10, a prophecy about Jesus, God promises that Judah would become the line of the kings and that the scepter would not depart from between his feet. Obviously, God intended for them to have a king. Numbers 24:17 also mentions the king and his scepter but the most important passage, to prove that God intended for them to have a king in Deuteronomy 17.
In Deuteronomy 17:14-20, God gives specific instructions for the day they ask for a king and what he is supposed to be like. God commands that the future king must be an Israelite and he cannot acquire for himself horses or cause the people to go back to Egypt. He could not have many wives, or they would turn his heart away from God. It is a shame Solomon did not read this passage. God instructs that the king would need to write a copy of the Law for himself and it should be with him. He instructs the king to read it all the days of his life so that he could learn to fear the Lord by keeping his laws and not elevate himself above his brothers.
God wisdom and knowledge is sovereign, and He knew they would eventually demand a king like the nations around them. He planned for it and gave specific instructions about what this king should do. He gave them instructions on how to protect the future king from the inevitable allure of wealth and power. God was not upset Israel wanted a king or even a king like the nations around them. God was upset because they are rejecting Him and His leadership.
This stands as a lesson for all the people of God. Do not allow your desire for health, wealth, and prosperity to drive you from the only thing that truly gives you those things. God alone can bless us but not if we reject Him and His leadership for our lives. Let us learn to submit to God, read and learn His words. Let us learn to turn to Him, His words, and His power for our future and blessings.