But the people refused to listen to Samuel. "No!" they said. "We want a king over us. Then we will be like all the other nations, with a king to lead us and to go out before us and fight our battles." When Samuel heard all that the people said, he repeated it before the Lord. The Lord answered, “Listen to them and give them a king.” 1 Samuel 8:19-21
Have you ever desperately wanted to be like other people?
When I read this story, in 1 Samuel 8, I thought, What in the world is wrong with you? Why would you do that?
It doesn't seem like such a big deal when you just read that passage, but there's more to the story. Isn't there always? When the Israelites asked Samuel for a king, he got upset and prayed to God about it. You see, Israel was supposed to be different.
They were a people set apart for God.
He was their king.
When Samuel prayed, God listened and told him to tell the people what would happen to them if they demanded a king. He said, "This is how a king will treat you:"
*The king will draft your sons into his army and make them run before his chariots.
*Some will be commanders of his troops, while others will be slave laborers.
*He'll force some to plow and harvest and others will make his weapons and equipment.
*He'll take your daughters and force them to cook, bake and make perfumes for him.
*He'll take your best fields and vineyards and olive groves and give them to his servants.
*He'll take a tenth of your harvest and distribute it to his officers and attendants.
*He'll want your male and female slaves and demand the finest of your cattle and donkeys.
*He'll demand a tenth of your flocks and you will be his slaves.
Then God said this: And you will beg for relief from this king, but I will not help you.
1 Samuel 8:9-20
And the people basically said, "Sounds good to us!"
Talk about free will!
Talk about freedom...to be stupid.
And yet, I understand because I've wanted to be like the others around me too.
And I know all about wanting someone else to fight my battles.
This gives new meaning to the phrase: Be careful what you pray for!
Will this change the way you pray?