June 12, 2018

Demand for a King

June 12, 2018


Psalm 108
1 Samuel 8:1-22
Revelation 20:7-15

This weekend’s reading: Acts 15


For the next few days, we are going to explore the passages in 1 Samuel which mark the end of the period of Judges and the beginning of the period of Kings for the Israelite people.  Once the Israelites entered the Promised Land under the leadership of Joshua, the Israelites were led by people who God raised up as judges.  These judges usually united the different tribes of Israel to face a threat from their neighbors or within their community.  These judges include famous leaders like Joshua, Samson, Gideon, Deborah and Samuel, the last of the judges.  

In 1 Samuel 8, near the end of Samuel’s life, we see the people of Israel demanding a king.  They want to be like all the nations that surround them with a king to lead and protect them.  They believe that a king would keep them safe and give them security.  Samuel is reluctant, however.  He attempts to appoint his sons as judges but the people reject them because they don’t follow in Samuel’s footsteps.  Samuel is a man after God’s heart and asks God what to do.  God says to give them what they want, but warn them of what having a king really means.  The people want a king for security, but they don’t realize that seeking security in a human king reveals that they have failed to trust in God as their heavenly king.  It’s as if they have forgotten that God has provided for them every step of the way since they left Egypt and has given them the leaders that they need in the form of judges.  Instead, they want to be like everyone else and trust in a human king to provide for their needs and their protection.

So Samuel explains that a king may give them a form of security, but a king will also demand tribute and service from the people.  A king will give them status and authority in the eyes of their neighbors but will take from their crops and their cattle and their people in order to maintain his court and his status.  

And yet the people still want a king.  They want to put their trust in someone who will demand a lot from them and will make their lives hard, rather than a heavenly king who would lead with love and generosity.


  • Have you ever chosen something that you think is best for you, but later realized that what God had planned was really better?
  • What makes you feel safe? 
  • What do you put your trust in to protect you?
  • How can you put your trust in God?


  • What makes you feel safe? 
  • How can you put your trust in God?

Faithful God, thank you for your patience and forgiveness when I trust all the wrong things.  Help me to put my trust in you today.  Amen.