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Written by Myles MacMillan.

Bible reading: 1 Samuel 8:4-9, 19-22

This scripture reading from the book of Samuel centers on a major change in the Israelite nation that took place while Samuel was God’s prophet to the people of Israel. The Israelites were grumbling because they wanted to have an earthly king like all the other nations around them. God told Samuel to tell the people that this was not a good idea because any earthly king they appointed would take advantage of them and cause many problems for the nation but they did not want to listen to God. Eventually, the Lord gave them over to their sinful desires by allowing Samuel to appoint the first earthly king over Israel who was King Saul.

We can see a number of problems with the Israelites' decision but the most grievous was rejecting their true King, as God says in 1 Samuel 8:8 “they have rejected me as their king.” God was the King over Israel. He led them out of Egypt, He sustained them in the desert, He went ahead of them in battle as they drove out all the other nations in the Promised Land and allowed them to live in peace in a land flowing with milk and honey. It seems amazing to me that the Israelites would want to serve an earthly king instead of only their God especially when they are warned through the prophet Samuel that it is a bad idea.

As humans, we desperately want to “fit in” with those around us and this story powerfully demonstrates the lengths we will go in order to feel like we are keeping up with the world around us. When everyone around us is doing something, it may seem natural to just follow the crowd, especially if we aren’t taking the time to examine our actions and decisions in light of God’s word.

Ephesians 5:15-17 says “Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore, do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.” As Christians, we must be people who examine the way we live carefully and compare it to what is expected of us in the scriptures. We must not use the world around us as our measuring stick but instead, we need to look to the ultimate example we have in Jesus Christ and strive to live more and more like Him each day. May God bless us and give us wisdom as we study His word.

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