Day 4

Israel’s Demand for a King

from the 1 & 2 Samuel reading plan


1 Samuel 7:1-17, 1 Samuel 8:1-22, Proverbs 1:29-33, Hebrews 1:1-3

BY Missy Fuller

Scripture Reading: 1 Samuel 7:1-17, 1 Samuel 8:1-22, Proverbs 1:29-33, Hebrews 1:1-3

In 1 Samuel 8, we find Israel rejecting their God, the One who rescued them from slavery, provided for them in the desert, and gave them victory over their enemies.

Israel instead demanded a king who would judge them, go before them, and fight their battles (1 Samuel 8:20). Ironically, the King they rejected was the only king to fulfill this request. God had already been their Judge (Deuteronomy 32:36), gone out before them (Exodus 13:21), and fought their battles (Exodus 14:14).

But they wanted a king “the same as all the other nations” (1 Samuel 8:5). So they rejected their true King, the God of heaven and earth. God granted their request and gave them over to their desires, but not without a warning. He promised to give them a king like all the other nations. He would give them one who was selfish, oppressive, and ruthless. They didn’t heed His warning.

I want to be like everyone else, too. I want to look like everyone else, to be both beautiful and adorable, and so I make my appearance king. Then I find myself overcome by my obsessive eating habits and exercise routine. Turns out that king won’t provide what I need.

I want to have what everyone else has, to feel important and sophisticated, and so I make my possessions king. I spend my time, money, and energy, filling my closet with pretty new dresses. But I’ll never have enough because this king demands more and more and more.

I could go on, and I’m sure you could, too.

Our individual kings demand more from us than we’d ever be willing to give. They lie and tell us that if we could have what the world has, we would have freedom.

Second Peter 2:19 warns against this:

“They promise them freedom, but they themselves are slaves of corruption, since people are enslaved to whatever defeats them.”

This is what happens when we, like Israel, fall prey to the desire of being like everyone else. Instead of gaining freedom, we become slaves of corruption. When we turn from the wisdom of the Lord and His ways, we “will eat the fruit of [our] way” (Proverbs 1:29-33). In our efforts to be like the world, we miss out on what we truly need: freedom that can only come from submitting ourselves to the true King, Jesus Christ.

But God is rich in mercy. He pursues us and draws us to Himself until we long for Him again (1 Samuel 7:2,6). He even works through our rebellion, just as He did with Israel, providing what is truly best for us. God would later appoint David as king over Israel, and through his family, provide the true King in Jesus Christ. He is the One who ultimately goes before us and fights our battles (Revelation 19:11-16). He is all we need, and only in submitting to Him as King will we find freedom instead of slavery (Luke 4:18).

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Post Comments (68)

68 thoughts on "Israel’s Demand for a King"

  1. Tessa Bakke says:

    Wow, this message came to me in such a perfect time. I wish I could shout this from the rooftops to all of the beautiful men and women who are slaves to their “kings,” whether that be beauty, presentation or body type. The Lord is our King of Kings and I am heartbroken for the people who do not have the one and only King in their hearts. I love the message so much, thank you!

  2. Kristen Clegs says:

    God’s allowance does not mean God’s approval: in Israel’s case, it just meant that God was no longer going to force Himself between His people and their own foolishness. Yet He so mercifully warned them before He permitted their demands, He remained so faithful to them throughout their rejection of Him, and He unconditionally loved them enough to judge their disobedience. We are just as prone to wander as Israel was, but we have something they didn’t: they had fallible human judges to warn them and guide them, but we have the very Holy Spirit in our hearts, coming alongside our weak faith and frail obedience, making us supernaturally competent to live lives of glowing Christlikeness in spite of our pagan culture.

    1. Maria Zalesky says:

      Thanks for the great comment Kristen! I love this : “but we have something they didn’t: they had fallible human judges to warn them and guide them, but we have the very Holy Spirit in our hearts”

  3. Jaimey Etten says:

    Definitely one of the more thought provoking daily readings. I can relate to wanting what everyone else has or wanting to follow the path that everyone else has done. I even beat myself up for different directions my life has taken, but it was on the random path that I was brought into a personal relationship with Christ.

  4. Danya Ho says:

    In our efforts to be like the world, we miss out on what we truly need: freedom that can only come from submitting ourselves to the true King, Jesus Christ.

  5. Josie says:

    This reading really hit home to me. I tend to believe my worth comes from the possessions I own or the friends I have. True worth and freedom and joy come from Christ, and while I know that truth in my head, I struggle to believe it in my heart sometimes. This is something I need to work on. I need to declare Christ as King of my life every day.

    1. Meredith says:

      I struggle the same way! Will pray for you, Josie! :)

    2. Janna Seal says:

      I feel ya Josie. Same here. Christ is King of my life. Even as I type those words I feel the blessed reassurance of peace pass through me.

  6. Lana says:

    I am set apart. Oh Lord, please help me surrender to this notion. Please help me remember it daily. Please help me rejoice in it hourly. Please help me trust in your incredible plans. Please keep my spirit divinely flexible in a joyful way!

    SRT and the comments have been hitting it out the ballpark with this study! Love it!

  7. Christa says:

    What stuck out to me was Israel’s ignored warning. I am looking back on times in my life when God has whispered warning to me and I ignored it, digging myself into a situation of deeper pain than the one I was trying to escape. My prayer today is that I listen to and heed loving warnings from the only good King!

    1. Jyndia says:

      Man! Isn’t that the truth! I had not thought of that, but sure does shed light on how similar we are to those of Israel

    2. Leah says:

      Your words definitely hit home with me, good point!

  8. Debbie L says:

    I’m so glad to have discovered SRT!
    “Our individual kings demand more from us than we’d ever be willing to give. They lie and tell us that if we could have what the world has, we would have freedom.” Sometimes I feel over run with too many “individual kings” demanding loyalty (aka: enslavement)! It’s only when I abdicate my throne and surrender to my One and True King, Jesus Christ, that I find real freedom and release.

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