With the prophet Samuel getting older, the elders of Israel realized they would need a new leader. Instead of depending on the Lord as their King, they were willing to settle for less.
Look, they told him, “you are now old, and your sons are not like you. Give us a king to judge us like all the other nations have. 1 Samuel 8:5
When you go shopping what is the determining factor as to whether you purchase an item or not? I have to admit, for me, it’s usually the price.
I will often settle for less only because I don’t want to spend more on the product. Even though the others may be better brands.
My mother once told me I was so cheap the buffalo squeals when I squeeze a nickel. I hate to admit it but I guess I have to agree with mom.
Settling for less is fine when it comes to buying products. But we must never settle for less when it comes to our spiritual well-being.
That, however, was the very thing happening in Israel. They had the very best when it came to a king. But they wanted to settle for something less and far more inferior.
They liked the leadership of Samuel, but they realized that he wouldn’t live forever. And his sons weren’t even a consideration to follow in his steps.
Joel and Abijah, his oldest sons, held court in Beersheba. But they were not like their father, for they were greedy for money. They accepted bribes and perverted justice. 1 Samuel 8:2-3
Samuel Did Not like What They Were Willing to Settle with
Verse 6 tells us that Samuel was displeased with their request so he went to the Lord for guidance. The Lord replied with this answer.
“Do everything they say to you,” the Lord replied, “for they are rejecting me, not you. They don’t want me to be their king any longer. 1 Samuel 8:7
God went on to say that Samuel should do as they asked. But He also told him to sternly warn them about the way a king would reign over them.
So Samuel passed on the Lord’s warning to the people who were asking him for a king. “This is how a king will reign over you,” 1 Samuel 8:10-11
Samuel laid out God’s warning in great detail
- “The king will draft your sons and assign them to his chariots and his charioteers, making them run before his chariots.
- Some will be generals and captains in his army, some will be forced to plow in his fields and harvest his crops, and some will make his weapons and chariot equipment.
- The king will take your daughters from you and force them to cook and bake and make perfumes for him.
- He will take away the best of your fields and vineyards and olive groves and give them to his own officials.
- The king will take a tenth of your grain and your grape harvest and distribute it among his officers and attendants.
- He will take your male and female slaves and demand the finest of your cattle and donkeys for his own use.
- He will demand a tenth of your flocks, and you will be his slaves.
- When that day comes, you will beg for relief from this king you are demanding, but then the Lord will not help you.” 1 Samuel 8:11-18
History Confirmed God’s Warnings
These warnings given by Samuel proved extremely accurate. And having access to the history of the kings of Israel we have “the rest of the story.”
Saul served as the first of the 44 Kings who reigned over God’s people, Israel. 31 of them did evil in the sight of the Lord.
4 others did good and evil before God. Which left only 9 who were labeled as good kings in the sight of God.
So Samuel warned the people like God instructed him to. Verses 19 and 20 recorded for us their response.
But the people refused to listen to Samuel’s warning. “Even so, we still want a king,” they said. “We want to be like the nations around us. Our king will judge us and lead us into battle.” 1 Samuel 8:19-20
And so the Lord told Samuel to give them what they wanted. With that in mind, let’s consider how this account in the Old Testament can relate to us.
Don’t Settle for Less when it Comes to Spiritual Things
If we are set on doing things our way while living on this earth, God will usually allow it. With that said, however, the Lord always wants us to live in the center of His will.
He knows though, that there are times that we are willing to settle for less. But when it comes to getting into heaven only one option is available.
Many people want to go to heaven, yet they want to get there on their own terms. Many believe the lie that says all roads lead to heaven.
The Bible though plainly states that Jesus is preparing a place for us. And He is the only way to the Father.
So, when it comes to eternity, don’t try to settle for anything less than God’s best. Because if you do you will suffer forever in torment away from the presence of God.
Lord, help me to never settle for anything less than relying on you for the best you have for me.
Check out this related post from 1 Samuel called How To Overcome Sinful Desires Against God.
Read all of 1 Samuel 8.
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