Why did the children of Israel want a king? Please read 1 Samuel 7-8 and the attached notes to find out. What does good parenting have to do with this? How big is our God? Do we allow God to rule and reign in our lives?
SAMUEL, PRIEST AND JUDGE OF ISRAEL
1 Samuel 7-8
And the Lord said unto Samuel, Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee: for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them. (8:7)
Eli’s sons caused the nation of Israel to transgress. Eli’s successor, Samuel, had his own family issues.
Samuel Priest and Judge of Israel
After the death of Eli, the Philistines ruled over Israel for twenty years. Then Samuel said, “And Samuel spake unto all the house of Israel, saying, If ye do return unto the Lord with all your hearts, then put away the strange gods and Ashtaroth from among you, and prepare your hearts unto the Lord, and serve him only: and he will deliver you out of the hand of the Philistines.4 Then the children of Israel did put away Baalim and Ashtaroth, and served the Lord only.” (7:3-4)
Samuel prays, God answers
Samuel prayed, sacrificed, and cried unto the Lord for Israel. Israel repented, humbled themselves, and trusted the Lord. God gave Israel victory over the Philistines. “So the Philistines were subdued, and they came no more into the coast of Israel: and the hand of the Lord was against the Philistines all the days of Samuel.14 And the cities which the Philistines had taken from Israel were restored to Israel, from Ekron even unto Gath; and the coasts thereof did Israel deliver out of the hands of the Philistines. And there was peace between Israel and the Amorites.15 And Samuel judged Israel all the days of his life.” (7:13-15)
Samuel’s wicked sons
Unfortunately, this is not the end of the story. Samuel grows old and made his sons judges over Israel. His sons, Joel and Abiah, were wicked. “And it came to pass, when Samuel was old, that he made his sons judges over Israel.2 Now the name of his firstborn was Joel; and the name of his second, Abiah: they were judges in Beersheba.3 And his sons walked not in his ways, but turned aside after lucre, and took bribes, and perverted judgment.” (8:1-3)
Elders of Israel demand a king
The elders of Israel come to Samuel. They tell him that they do not want Joel and Abiah to judge over them when he dies. The elders demand a king. “Then all the elders of Israel gathered themselves together, and came to Samuel unto Ramah,5 And said unto him, Behold, thou art old, and thy sons walk not in thy ways: now make us a king to judge us like all the nations.6 But the thing displeased Samuel, when they said, Give us a king to judge us. And Samuel prayed unto the Lord.” (8:4-6)
Samuel did not train his sons in such a way that they obeyed the Law of Moses. Because of their disobedience, it caused the elders of Israel to demand a king. Although the Bible characterizes Samuel as a Godly man, who taught the nation of Israel well, his sons did not.
The elders of Israel no longer wanted God to rule over them, but they desired a man. “And the Lord said unto Samuel, Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee: for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them.” (8:22) How sad!
Men still reject God
And yet, as we share Christ with the unsaved and they reject Him, they have not rejected us, but have rejected Jesus. As believers in Christ, we are commanded to “Go”. “And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” (Mark 16:15) It is our duty to tell others about Christ. It is the Holy Spirit’s work to bring them to Christ. It is not our job to win souls. We are to proclaim the Good News of Jesus death, burial, and resurrection.
Our King is Jesus Christ.
Tom Stearns, WASI Chaplain, 907 715-4001