Samuel: we want a king!

Cover to Cover

Reading: 1 Samuel 8:1-11:15

Focus: 1 Samuel 8:6-9

As people, as physical beings, we desire tangible objects to associate and interpret our world. The basis of science is the observable world, not the invisible and intangible—that which is intangible remains under the category of “theory”. Even in the search to understand the invisible and intangible, it is through the tangible which it is interpreted…which can cause a few problems because they are often nothing alike. The invisible and intangible is a state that can’t be paralleled with the tangible. Yet, we will try, try as we might, to parallel the known with the unknown.

The history of Israel is not lacking of stories of the people seeking to reconcile that which they knew with what they did not know. There is a vast history of idolatry and rebellion against God; against His messengers, the prophets. Here, in Samuel’s lifetime it is no different, the people simply could not tolerate being set apart, different, from the nations around them. They wanted a king! It wasn’t good enough that God was their king…they couldn’t see Him, they couldn’t bow before Him, they couldn’t speak to Him face to face. They rejected this invisible, God King in place of a visible, human king.

Today, as Christians, we may not outrightly reject God’s reign in life, but we still continue to seek the tangible. We pray prayers like “God, give me a sign that this is from you…” or “God, confirm this through a message from someone…” It is not to say that we are not discerning as we seek God’s wisdom and guidance, but where is the trust that God will speak to a person without need of a sign, without need of confirming messages from others. Where is the confidence and faith that God whispers His wisdom in the midst of life’s busy schedule?

I do not say this to discredit the voices of those who speak for God (whatever your view on prophetic words and visions may be), but each person in a relationship with God, empowered by the Holy Spirit, does not need to rely on anything or anyone but trust in the work of the Holy Spirit as they seek to hear God’s voice. Even during the time of Israel, it was not as though the prophets were the final word from God, rather they merely spoke during a critical season where the people of Israel distanced themselves from God, rather than when they were pursuing Him. Even in their foreknowledge, their message was focused upon a return and restoration of God’s people rather than simply divulging information of their future.

Where do you turn in your hour of need? Who is it that you turn to for guidance and wisdom? Is it the pastor who speaks each Sunday? Is it the writer with the title, “Follow these 5 steps to hear God’s voice!”? Is it the podcast who replaces the reading of God’s Scripture? Is it the friend who is “spiritually in-tune with God”? Or do you come on bended knee before the King of Heaven and Earth, silencing everything around you, so that you might hear the gentle heavenly whispers of love, grace, mercy and wisdom which are constantly surrounding you, trying get you to understand that there is nothing more important than sitting at His feet…

Next Reading: 1 Samuel 12:1-14:52