Saturday after the Third Sunday after Trinity Sunday
Scripture: 1 Samuel 8:1-22 (NKJV)
1 Now it came to pass when Samuel was old that he made his sons judges over Israel. 2 The name of his firstborn was Joel, and the name of his second, Abijah; they were judges in Beersheba. 3 But his sons did not walk in his ways; they turned aside after dishonest gain, took bribes, and perverted justice.
4 Then all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah, 5 and said to him, “Look, you are old, and your sons do not walk in your ways. Now make us a king to judge us like all the nations.”
6 But the thing displeased Samuel when they said, “Give us a king to judge us.” So Samuel prayed to the LORD. 7 And the LORD said to Samuel, “Heed the voice of the people in all that they say to you; for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me, that I should not reign over them. 8 According to all the works which they have done since the day that I brought them up out of Egypt, even to this day—with which they have forsaken Me and served other gods—so they are doing to you also. 9 Now therefore, heed their voice. However, you shall solemnly forewarn them, and show them the behavior of the king who will reign over them.”
10 So Samuel told all the words of the LORD to the people who asked him for a king. 11 And he said, “This will be the behavior of the king who will reign over you: He will take your sons and appoint them for his own chariots and to be his horsemen, and some will run before his chariots. 12 He will appoint captains over his thousands and captains over his fifties, will set some to plow his ground and reap his harvest, and some to make his weapons of war and equipment for his chariots. 13 He will take your daughters to be perfumers, cooks, and bakers. 14 And he will take the best of your fields, your vineyards, and your olive groves, and give them to his servants. 15 He will take a tenth of your grain and your vintage, and give it to his officers and servants. 16 And he will take your male servants, your female servants, your finest young men, and your donkeys, and put them to his work. 17 He will take a tenth of your sheep. And you will be his servants. 18 And you will cry out in that day because of your king whom you have chosen for yourselves, and the LORD will not hear you in that day.”
19 Nevertheless the people refused to obey the voice of Samuel; and they said, “No, but we will have a king over us, 20 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.”
21 And Samuel heard all the words of the people, and he repeated them in the hearing of the LORD. 22 So the LORD said to Samuel, “Heed their voice, and make them a king.”
And Samuel said to the men of Israel, “Every man go to his city.”
As Samuel grew in age he appointed his two sons, Joel and Abijah, to be his heirs as judges of Israel. How ironic, though, that the situation nearly repeated itself from the days of the High Priest Eli. Samuel had been called to serve in the tabernacle in place of Eli’s two decadent sons Hophni and Phinehas. Now it would be Samuel’s own two sons, Joel and Abijah, who were themselves corrupt and unfit to serve as judges. This time, however, the solution was not God pleasing. Instead of continuing the line of judges, the people sought a new kind of ruler—a king to match the powerful nations that threatened them. Although Samuel warned that a king would lead to a dictatorship, the people had already made up their minds. God assured Samuel their quarrel was not with him, but with the one true King, the Almighty God. Because they were insistent in their sin, God permitted them to learn from their errant choice.
How often we get ourselves into trouble by insisting on our own way. Sometimes the only way we can come to our senses is by God letting us play out our lives as we see fit so that we may see the folly of our ways, much like the Israelites of Samuel’s day, or the Prodigal Son of Jesus’ parable.
Prayer: Dear Father in Heaven, let us see in You the only true Wisdom that comes down from above. May we abandon our earthly whims, and follow You in the way that leads to eternal life. Amen.