Monday, October 10th
1st Samuel 8:19,20
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.”
by: Terrence Raper
I said yesterday that I struggled drawing a parallel with the God of the Old Testament, and the grace of Jesus shown in the New Testament. Jesus represented God, but in a way that seems to us studying the Bible years later completely new. In some ways he made obedience seem more realistic. He also taught us that even though obedience may be more realistic, it will require a lot of forgiveness and a different way of thinking about obedience. We will have to strive for excellence in how we treat each other. We will no longer work out our good deeds on some sort of accounting ledger in hopes that we are in the black with God.
Before, it was about how well we followed all of the law. The law seemed tangible, and measurable. In a way, that’s how we like it. We love tracking our progress. At the very least we like noticing the failings of others. Then Jesus tells us, we are missing the point. He explains that God has a plan. We say “okay, what is it?” We are told to trust in the plan. We ask again, “what is it?” We seem to only trust in God’s plan when we understand it. We have a hard time tracking the measurables within God’s plan. This has been the story of us for a long time. The people of Israel got tired of waiting. So when Samuel got old they told him “appoint a king to lead us, such as all the other nations have (I Samuel 8:4).” Basically we have done it God’s way, now we are interested in the system they have in other nations. This is the longing for more than what God has given us.
We all act this way. We act impatiently with our money, our relationships, with our expectations. This is not the behavior of faithful followers of God. One thing I have heard said in every church I have ever attended is “God is good”. Some of us even say this on Sunday mornings to stir the congregation to comment back “all the time”. Do we truly believe that God is good? Because if we did truly believe God is good, our whole world would be different. We would trust that God had our best interest in mind. We would stop rushing our own plans. We would stop trying to make relationship works that aren’t blessing us. We wouldn’t try to make scriptures and truths fit into our own agenda. We would be more faithful with our time and resources.
The Israelites failed to remain faithful. They stopped believing God was going to do what was best for them. So they wanted a king. King Saul is a fascinating person in the Bible. I find something newly perplexing every time I dive into these Scriptures. I hope I find something new to share with everyone moving forward.