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"...now appoint a king to lead us as all the other nations have."

But when they said, "give us a king to lead us" this displeased Samuel; so he prayed to the LORD. And the LORD told him, "Listen to all that the people are saying to you; it is not you they have rejected as king, but Me."

I Samuel 8:5-7, NIV 


One of the strangest decisions that the nation of Israel ever made was to ask God to set a dictator over them in His place. God knew exactly what would happen when they requested that a man lead them instead of Him, but since that's what the people wanted, that's what the people got. Further, God even gave them a man to be king that looked like a king:


They ran and brought him out, and as he stood among the people he was a head taller than any of the others. Samuel said to all the people, "Do you see the man the LORD has chosen? There is no one like him among all the people."

Then the people shouted, "Long live the king!"

I Samuel 10:23-24, NIV


Weren't the Israelites a strange people? They had God ruling over them, but they wanted to be like the rest of the nations that had a king. God who had rescued them from enemy after enemy was cast aside for someone who was tall and good looking. 


And the people were delighted with their trade. They were like a teenager who moves out of his parents house to live with a group of "fun" friends who just party all day long. The prospect of such a deal seems wonderful, but the reality is something different. You see, at Mom and Dad's there is food, clean clothes, air conditioning and heat, as well as structure and peace and love. At the "fun house" there is squalor and disease and turmoil and heartache.


In a similar manner, Israel's delight soon turned to misery! Like a naughty child who left their mean old parents for a party house, Israel learned what all such naughty children learn: Sin has consequences! When a teen leaves the security of home for the anarchy of the world he discovers that the world has nothing to offer but fleeting moments of pleasure in exchange for long term suffering. 


It's always that way when you exchange God for a king. A naughty child can repent and go home, but it is much more difficult to leave a dictator to go back to God. I think that many people in many nations in this world are now learning that difficult lesson. Wouldn't it have been a lot simpler if they had learned that lesson from reading the Word of God, rather than learning it through hard experience? This is why we study! 


Samuel told all the words of the LORD to the people who were asking him for a king. He said, "This is what the king who will reign over you will do: He will take your sons... He will take your daughters... He will take the best of your fields and vineyards and groves and give them to his attendants. He will take a tenth of your grain... the best of your cattle and donkeys he will take for his own use... When that day comes, you will cry out for relief from the king you have chosen, and the LORD will not answer you on that day."

But the people refused to listen to Samuel, "No!" they said, "We want a king..."

I Samuel 8:10-19, NIV 


Today is day 8 of the 30 Day Challenge to read through the books of the champions and the kings. The reading for today is I Samuel 4-10. May God richly bless your efforts as you seek to truly make Him the King of your life!