Reading For Wednesday 1 Samuel 8:1-22
Samuel repeated the same tragic mistake that Eli had made before him. He appointed his two sons, Joel and Abijah, to judgeships. Perhaps he was trying to make the office of Judge familial and go back to the original pattern of the Levites. The problem was that Samuel’s sons did not walk in the godly ways of their father. These boys of questionable character turned aside after dishonest gain, took bribes, and perverted justice. This was not just idle gossip, the people knew what was taking place, and they wanted it to stop.
The elders of Israel utilized Samuel’s sons as the pretext for demanding a king. They came to Samuel's home and requested that he appoint a king to judge them like all the nations. God had said that he would give his people kings. Even the law of Moses could forsee the day when Israel would have a king. Nevertheless, the request offended Samuel, and he interpreted it as a rejection of his life and ministry. Samuel responded in the way all wounded souls should respond, and he went to the Lord in prayer. God instructed Samuel to listen to the voice of the people and helped him to understand that they had not rejected the judgeship of Samuel, but the kingship of God. This was but another case of the spiritual rebellion demonstrated by Israel since God had brought them out of Egypt. Samuel did not just yield to the request for a king. He was first to go on record with a warning of what kingship would mean in Israel.
Samuel warned them about what they could expect from their king: conscription for military service, seizure of private property, a labor tax, coercion of persons into royal service, and heavy taxation.
You would think that a list like this would result in withdrawing the request because ultimately all Israelites would be servants of the crown. Samuel even warned the people that they would cry to God for relief because of the king that they were now demanding and in that day the Lord would not respond to their prayer. In spite of the very negative portrayal of kingship, the people insisted that a king should rule over them as they did in the surrounding nations. Their king would be a Judge and a leader in battle. Samuel repeated all the words of the people to the Lord, and God sanctioned Samuel to appoint a king for Israel. After assuring the people that they would get their king, Samuel dismissed the assembly to their respective cities.
Things To Consider:
- Why do you think patterns in families continue even when there is a desire to change?
- How is ministry corrupted in the same way today?
- Why do we think we know what is best for us?
- What do you think happened between Samuel and his sons after this?
- Why do you think God warns them since he knows they will reject what he has to say?