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1 Samuel 8 - The Gift That Keeps On Giving

The only thing worse than not getting what we want is God giving us what we want.

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1 Samuel 8 Summary

Samuel had restored shalom (a peaceful condition in which everything is the way it's supposed to be) in Israel by leading the people to confess their sins a pledge their full allegiance to the Lord.

At that time, the nation of Israel consisted of 12 tribes, each with its own local administration, but with no centralized authority. By God's design, Israel didn't need a sovereign sitting on a throne or a national defense, because they were His covenant people. He ruled them and protected them.

This is why even though his own sons were shaping up to be corrupt failures, the people's request for a king displeased Samuel (v6). Samuel immediately turns to God for advice. The Lord assured Samuel that it wasn't Samuel being rejected, but in following the same pattern over and over since being freed from Egypt, the Israelites were rejecting God as their king.

Then God said something really surprising: Give the people what they want (v7).

Even after Samuel makes clear the very high price a king would cost them, the Israelite's become even more determined:

There shall be a king over us, that we also may be like all the nations, and that our king may judge us and go out before us and fight our battles. - v20

Dig Deeper

Commentator John Walton makes clear what's going on in this chapter:

The Israelites were mistaken in assessing their problem as a political problem and consequently opting for a political solution. What Samuel seeks to clarify for them is that their problem is not political but spiritual. Their political solution will solve nothing unless it is accompanied by a spiritual solution.

Think of the many current events and issues that bother you. Are the core problems political, or spiritual?

Every problem we face in our society is caused by sin. Even the godliest societies need good politicians and government officials, but the next time you're in a hopeless political argument, fix your true hope on Christ rather than a politician to fight your battles (v20).

AAA Prayer:

  • ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: Our loving Father guides, guards, and provides for us even though we so often reject Him (v8)

  • ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Pray for wisdom to distinguish between the political and spiritual needs facing our country.




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