Israel haven’t rejected Samuel, they have rejected God. How often do we do this as well?
1 Samuel 8:1-9
When Samuel grew old, he appointed his sons as Israel’s leaders.2 The name of his firstborn was Joel and the name of his second was Abijah, and they served at Beersheba. 3 But his sons did not follow his ways. They turned aside after dishonest gain and accepted bribes and perverted justice.
4 So all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah. 5 They said to him, “You are old, and your sons do not follow your ways; now appoint a king to lead us, such as all the other nations have.”
6 But when they said, “Give us a king to lead us,” this displeased Samuel; so he prayed to the Lord. 7 And the Lord told him: “Listen to all that the people are saying to you; it is not you they have rejected, but they have rejected me as their king. 8 As they have done from the day I brought them up out of Egypt until this day, forsaking me and serving other gods, so they are doing to you. 9 Now listen to them; but warn them solemnly and let them know what the king who will reign over them will claim as his rights.”
I always find this passage an interesting one to look at when we have just seen (in chapter 7) the Israelites turning to God and the Lord delivering them from the Philistines. Israel has just been restored and was in a time of peace, with Samuel leading them and now the Israelites decide that they want a King like all the other nations. Samuel has been a faithful leader, pointing the people of Israel to God, so this must have felt like a punch in the guts to him. If I was in Samuel’s place, I would have been sad and disappointed. I would have felt rejected, like I hadn’t been good enough for the people so they want a King now.
I love that Samuel turns to God in his sadness. Verse 7 is a stand out verse to me, where God tells Samuel, It isn’t you they have rejected but me. And this isn’t a new thing, the Israelites have been rejecting God’s kingship for years before and will continue to do so for years to come. I always chuckle a little at verse 9 when God tells Samuel to listen to the people, but to warn them what the consequences of having a king will be. As we will see tomorrow, it isn’t all that great to have an earthly King ruling over them. If only they hadn’t rejected the true king.
The Israelites weren’t the only ones to reject the true king. Jesus came to earth as God’s true king, as we see in the gospels, but he was rejected as well. Jesus was rejected in the most painful way on the cross. He didn’t just take on the rejection of the people of the day but took on our rejection of him as well. The Israelites weren’t the only ones to reject God as their true king—we do it daily. We do it when we place other things, like popularity, our family, our work, our friends, before God. When we take God out of the top spot in our lives, we are doing the same thing as the Israelites; we are saying we want to be like all other people around us.
Head: This isn’t the only passage in the Bible of God being rejected by his people. Can you think of any other passages that show God being rejected?
Heart: Have you been rejecting God as number one in your life?
Hands: What or who do you need to take out of the top spot in your life to put God back where he should be? How can you take steps to make this happen today?
Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, we are sorry that we so often reject you and don’t let you be the king of our lives. We are sorry for when we take you out of that place in our lives and fill it with others, things or ourselves. Please help us to daily let you reign over our lives. In Jesus wonderful name we pray, Amen.
A song to listen to: What Love, My God
Emily Andrews- Creek Road Presbyterian Church- South Bank