1 Samuel 8
-When Samuel was old, having completed a very successful time as judge in Israel, he appointed his sons as judges over Israel. This appears to be nepotism more than God’s call. Samuel had somehow failed to impart his Godly wisdom into his two boys, Joel and Abijah, who were aimlessly judging in Beersheba. These two boys turned aside from the righteous ways of their father by 1) accepting dishonest gain, 2) taking bribes, and 3) perverting justice. Despicable leadership led to unrest and a turning point in Israel’s history as the elders gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah. At this time, they wanted a king to be appointed to them by Samuel to judge them “like all the other nations.” This idea displeased Samuel, and he took this issue before the LORD his God. Much to his surprise and chagrin, God’s Voice told the prophet, “Listen to the voice of the people in regard to all that they say to you, for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me from being king over them (1 Samuel 8:1-7).” God further explained His displeasure with their decisions. But, it was par for the course. They had committed deeds against Him, their Sovereign Master and Keeper of the Covenant, since the days He had brought them up from Egypt. His people, called by His Name, continuously forsook their God and served idols. Now, in Samuel’s generation, he was getting to know first-hand their unfaithful ways and petty insecurities. Therefore, God told His prophet to listen to their voice, but with a solemn warning and the proper procedure for the king that would be over them. God was at work in all of this for His salvation plan of Prophet, Priest, and ultimate King, but Israel would soon go through the tumults of bad kings (along with a few really good ones) and oppression due to their misguided desires (1 Samuel 8:8-9).
-Samuel faithfully relayed all the words of the LORD to the people who wanted an earthly king over a God appointed judge over their territory. The procedure of the king who would reign over them would:
1) take their sons and place them in his chariots for his own personal gain,
2) take their sons and put them among his horsemen, make their sons run before his chariots,
3) make them command troops by the thousands and of fifties (big and small),
4) make their sons do the plowing of his field,
5) make their sons reap his harvest,
6) make their sons make his weapons of war and equipment for his chariots,
7) take their daughters for himself for perfumers, cooks, and bakers,
8) take the best of their fields, vineyards, and olive groves to give to his own servants,
9) take a tenth of their seed and vineyards to give to his own officers and servants,
10) take their male servants, female servants, and best of their young men and donkeys for his own work,
11) take a tenth of their flocks, and make the people his servants to the point that they cry out but to no avail because the LORD will not listen in that day.
“Nevertheless, the people refused to listen to the voice of Samuel (speaking for the LORD in fact)” and they maintained, “No, but there shall be a king over us, that we also may be like all the nations, that our king may judge us and go out before us and fight our battles.” Samuel repeated these words before the LORD that the people had belligerently spoken. Then the LORD spoke again to His prophet in the same manner, “Listen to their voice and appoint them a king.” Samuel dismissed the elders back to their own cities at this point (1 Samuel 8:10-22).
-*Application* Can we say end of an era? When things get corrupt and broken down, change seems to rule the day. Sometimes the change is a good thing. At other times change takes us from the proverbial frying pan into the fire if you know what I mean. Be careful to pay attention to the LORD’s Voice in these times of difficulties, and don’t try to fix your situation in our own strength. We definitely don’t want to go from bad to worse, and this can happen. Discernment is key here. God in His grace will always warn us when we’re about to take a misstep. Pay attention to the red flags. Avoid catastrophe if we can. God has a time for everything, and yes He is still in control no matter what we might decide.
Verse to Memorize: 1 Samuel 8:7