“They (elders of Israel) gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah. They said to him, ‘You are old, and your sons do not walk in your ways; now appoint a king to lead us, such as all the other nations have.’” (1 Samuel 8:5)
Ancient Israel had a special relationship with God. Adam and Eve first walked in the garden with him. Abraham heard from God and went to a place of which he did not know with only a promise. Moses led God’s people out of slavery in Egypt. Joshua led them into the Promised Land. God raised up judges like Deborah, Gideon, and Samson to lead Israel before the time of the kings. God was their King.
Then everything changed. Samuel, who was God’s prophet and judge, was getting old and his sons did not walk with the Lord. Israel could not replace him. Rather than going to God, the elders of Israel came up with their own solution – they wanted to be like other nations and have an earthly king.
How did God respond to this request? “And the Lord told him (Samuel): ‘Listen to all that the people are saying to you; it is not you they have rejected, but they have rejected me as their king.’” (1 Samuel 8:7) Then the Lord commanded Samuel to tell them what it would mean to have a king. 1 Samuel 8:19-20 was their response: “’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.’”
Three principles to consider:
First, place trust in God alone. Proverbs 3:5-6 says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.” We should not make the same mistake as Israel and place our trust in people or government. Our complete and absolute trust must be in the Lord.
Second, recognize God’s ownership. 1 Peter 2:9 says, “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him….” We are not to proclaim our allegiance to another. Our lives should be all about God and not following the ways of the world around us because they “seem” to work.
Third, “Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.” (Romans 13:1) Even though we are not to place our trust in kings or governing authorities, we are to submit ourselves because God has put them in place. God has graciously provided the Bible, his Word, to guide us in every way. May we follow Him completely.