“And it came to pass, when Samuel was old, that he made his sons judges over Israel.”
“And his sons walked not in his ways, but turned aside after lucre, and took bribes, and perverted judgment. Then all the elders of Israel gathered themselves together, and came to Samuel unto Ramah, And said unto him, Behold, thou art old, and thy sons walk not in thy ways: now make us a king to judge us like all the nations. But the thing displeased Samuel, when they said, Give us a king to judge us. And Samuel prayed unto the LORD. And the LORD said unto Samuel, Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee: for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them.” (1 Samuel 8:1, 3-7)
Samuel’s sons were terrible judges, no doubt. Israel’s leaders were right to complain. Yet they did not just tell Samuel to get rid of them. They said, “…thy sons walk not in thy ways: now make us a king to judge us like all the nations.” Does that statement sound fishy? It should. Here’s why.
When a leader in America is accused of corrupt activity, even the President, legal procedures are followed. We don’t scrap the Constitution. It is our guide for government. Likewise, God had also given Israel its “Constitution” with His Word. Yet these leaders, on the pretense of getting rid of bad leadership, wanted to scrap God’s Word, His Constitution, and appoint a leader their way.
They went to Samuel because he still had authority as judge, but he only had so much time left to live. Apparently the leaders had been talking for a while about wanting a king, and the idea had gained in popularity. The corrupt activity of Samuel’s sons provided the elders with a convenient opportunity to present the idea.
As a judge, Samuel taught the people from God’s Word and prayed for them. Those in favor of a king did not want that. They wanted a king, “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.” (1 Samuel 8:20) Hadn’t God done a good job delivering them from Egypt, feeding them in the wilderness, and giving them many victories in the Promised Land? What was so great about those other nations, anyway?
1 Samuel 16:7 says, “…the LORD looketh on the heart.” God knew why they wanted a king. They didn’t want Him. He told Samuel, “…they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them.” God told Samuel to give them what they wanted, but also to warn them that the king would abuse his power. Samuel told them. They still insisted on a king.
Leaders need to fear God and His Word. “He that ruleth over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God.” (2 Samuel 23:3) If you are a leader, how important is God’s Word to you? Do you seek guidance from it as a leader? If you must take a stand on an issue and find a conflict between God’s Word and what some people or media outlets or others in your party want, what do you do?
Most importantly, are you sure you will be in heaven for eternity? If you are not, please go to www.clevelandbaptist.org, click, “Helpful Links,” then “How Do I Go to Heaven?”
Brian Miller 9/14/2022
Cleveland Baptist Church 4431 Tiedeman Road, Brooklyn, Ohio 44144 216/671-2822