We want A king… not THE KING!
So I realize I haven’t been as active in the blogging world as of late. It probably has more to do with the addition to the family, ministry responsibilities and other things that would make a pretty long list, but I’ll spare you. And I don’t ever write feeling I have something to say that others need to read, as much as I write because I need to read! This serves as my online journal I guess.
Anyhow, I was reading in 1 Samuel 8 the other day and was really struck by the request of the people… God’s chosen people for leadership. In verse 5 the elders met with Samuel and said, “Give us A king to judge us like all the other nations have.” Seems an innocent request at first glance. We want to have a king to rule us, and why not, everyone else does.
But then Samuel’s reply, “Samuel was displeased with their request and went to the Lord for guidance.” I just have to wonder why the elders from all the tribes didn’t do this in the first place. For generations, God had spoken to, led, provided for, instructed and cared for His people. Yet the lure of “having what everyone else had” became too great, yet again, in their life. God answers Samuel by saying, “They don’t want me THE King any longer. So give them what they want.”
Before I get to critical of the Israelites, I had to do a little soul searching. How many times have I said – verbally or non-verbally, intentionally or non-intentionally – “I want A king, not THE King!” So, thousands of years later, not only does the pattern continue among God’s chosen people, but it is even evident in my own life. It is so tempting to look around and see what the world offers and desire their king(s) over the one and only King.
For as much as we all push against authority, we’re still always asking for it. As much as we want freedom, we ultimately by our choices end up as slaves. But the distinction isn’t in having authority – it’s being able to select what authority we fall under. Do we live in humble obedience, a life pleasing to THE King? Or are we out looking to set up our own kingdom with our own king? It doesn’t matter what king we are bowing down to – the king of popularity, power, prestige… the list goes on and on and on.
As that passage continues you can hear the heartbreak in God’s response. He basically recounts His faithfulness and love for His people and their continued fickleness, abandonment and downright rejection. How it must break the heart of God when we decide we would rather have a king over the King of kings!