All the 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.”
But when they said, “Give us a king to lead us,” this displeased Samuel; so he prayed to the Lord. And the Lord told him: “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. As they have done from the day I brought them up out of Egypt until this day, forsaking me and serving other gods, so they are doing to you. Now listen to them; but warn them solemnly and let them know what the king who will reign over them will do.”
Over the next few weeks at Junior Youth we’ll be studying the first kings of Israel: Saul, David and Solomon. We’ll be looking at what their relationship with God was like, what we can learn to imitate and what we should avoid doing.
Saul’s introduction in the Bible marks a significant shift in the history of Israel–the shift from judges to kings. The people of Israel desired to be like the nations around them which included having a human king.
This is such an interesting passage to me. Samuel clearly sees the issue with having a king and I bet he expected to hear God tell him to disregard the people. I would imagine he was pretty surprised to hear God say what he did.
It seems that God decided that it was time for the people to learn by experience.
I can’t help but wonder if, and how often, God does this with us. How often have I persisted in prayer for some thing (that I was certain would make my life better, of course) and God has said, “No,” not because he doesn’t desire to bless me, but because it’s a blessing to me to not have that thing?
Perhaps this is a lesson to be careful of what you pray for.