1 Samuel 8 is the time when all Israel called for a king to lead them. Ole Samuel had been in service to the people since Hannah weaned him at age three and delivered him to Eli at the temple. All his days, Samuel walked before the LORD and served. He was their Prophet. He was their Judge. Yet when Samuel was old and gray, the people grumbled that they wanted a king 'like the other nations.' (1 Samuel 8:20)
Of course, the people had the best king there could be, God Himself. He was their King and they were His people. He protected them:
So the Philistines were subdued and did not again enter the territory of Israel. And the hand of the Lord was against the Philistines all the days of Samuel. The cities that the Philistines had taken from Israel were restored to Israel, from Ekron to Gath, and Israel delivered their territory from the hand of the Philistines. There was peace also between Israel and the Amorites. (1 Samuel 7:13-14).
He delivered Civil peace:
Samuel judged Israel all the days of his life. And he went on a circuit year by year to Bethel, Gilgal, and Mizpah. And he judged Israel in all these places. (1 Samuel 7:15-16).
He instilled spiritual peace: (the people were sorrowful of their sins and repented in deep humility)
From the day that the ark was lodged at Kiriath-jearim, a long time passed, some twenty years, and all the house of Israel lamented after the LORD. (1 Samuel 7:2)
Everything was orderly and calm. Yet the people weren't satisfied and wanted a king they could see. The pleaded with Samuel. Samuel warned them and prophesied to them what would happen if they got a king.
And Samuel prayed to the Lord. And the Lord said to Samuel, “Obey the voice of the people in all that they say to you, for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected me from being king over them. According to all the deeds that they have done, from the day I brought them up out of Egypt even to this day, forsaking me and serving other gods, so they are also doing to you. Now then, obey their voice; only you shall solemnly warn them and show them the ways of the king who shall reign over them.” (1 Samuel 8:6b-9).
|The people clamor for a king.|
And Samuel told them. A king would do terrible things to them. He would take their maidens, he would take their lands, he would take their men for war. He would take their oxen. He would take their grain. He would make them slaves.
The people still cried out for a king. God granted it. (1 Samuel 8:22)
There are many deep theological lessons in this chapter and in the entire books of 1 and 2 Samuel. The obvious ones are these:
1. Pray to God always for advice and to seek His face. Samuel did. The people didn't.
2. Be grateful for continued peace in your nation and in your hearts. Israel forgot, and became discontent.
3. Listen to the voice of God, He tells the truth. The people heard Samuel repeat God's words, that their kings would lead them wrongly. They rejected His word. Today we don't have a prophet to listen directly to the voice of God to tell us His ways, but we have the bible. Believe it. God tells the truth. He always tells us ahead of time. The axiom still is in force: "If you do this, then this will happen. If you do not do this, then that won't happen."
“If… then…” statements are linking words that introduce conditions. For example: “If you obey me, then you shall be my treasured possession” (Exodus 19:5). The condition of being God’s treasured possession, is that his people were to obey him. That of course has massive bearing on the whole OT and God’s dealings with his people. (source)
4. Always depend on God. Always depend on God. Always depend on God. Always depend on God. How many times must we say it and believe it? The Israelites depended on God for many years and for many years and decades peace reigned. To this very day under the New Covenant, depending on God brings the most blessing, the most growth, the most pleasure to God and the most benefit to us.
Our Jesus is our High Priest, deliverer, protector, sustainer, provider, friend. Always depend on Him.
But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. (1 Peter 2:9)