We (the world) tend to be short sighted and yet we have the gift of knowing long history. I’m going to speak about Samuel and the Israelites waiting a king, but I will start with the example of present day SNOW. We just got a couple inches of snow. I saw it in the forecast, but this was not hyped like they did for every flake at the beginning of the winter… Plus after 2 days of 60 degrees in February, the snow is a surprise but we must remember that it IS February… We shouldn’t be surprised. (and isn’t it weird to get emergency alerts to your phone when a snow squall is arriving? It IS February – we are SUPPOSED to get these storms).
The Olympics this year, in contrast, is on fake snow, but the other day they got 3 inches of real snow as a surprise? Only a surprise to those not paying attention. And they did get the shovels out for the ski and snowboard courses, they kept grooming so that the paths would not become snowed over.
We need to know knowledge. We need to burn fires of keeping attention and then watch snow melt!
Samuel was paying attention. Paying attention to the Lord. Actually, there was direct conversation between the Lord and Samuel. You would have thought the others would comprehend that what Samuel said FROM THE LORD was IMPORTANT to listen to. After all those years, the memories faded quickly… Time and time again, throughout their history, Israel fell into their evil ways. One would think that they would remember the times of peace and try to keep the peace, but they were pulled back again and again. The people WERE astute enough to figure out that the sons of Samuel were not good and could not lead self-lessly. However instead of asking God to answer and guide, the people directly asked for more than a ruler or judge, they asked for a king. They coveted what they saw of their neighbors. Did they not know that kings often become selfish? Samuel repeated the Lord said: “Do you know what you are asking for?”
The Lord spelled out all the downfalls of getting a king, serving and surrendering under a king. The times just following the law, offering sacrifice, and waiting for the “next Samuel” were not good enough any more. The Lord provided and protected, yet there was worldly viewing of the people. Same as today.
Why did they want a king and why did they think they needed protection and why were there adversaries? Because way back in the time of Joshua they did not deal with the people who would give them trouble in the future. They did not eliminate the risks but assimilated the stumbling blocks.
Was Samuel upset? Have you ever been upset because nobody was listening to you? God knows all about this!!! 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.”
And He told Samuel to warn the Israelites about setting up their own king: there would be unfortunate assignments of jobs, ruthless dealings, and essentially they would become slaves. They would get stuck… (We probably know that the Lord won’t ALWAYS unstick you so quickly from quicksand that you laid down yourself.)
AND WITH A KING, YOU FORSAKE YOUR RIGHTS. God again and again asks for us to discern His Will. I hope that we realize reliance upon our TRUE HEAVENLY KING has given us good things. Earthly kings will never compare. It is good to rely upon GOD. He has accomplished final victory and will bring us out of our desert. The Israelites had the Promised Land, ability to live, and a sacrificial system of atonement. God already knew how life would be. He also knew the crowd scene, just like when the mob mentality took over and many years later the people took Barabus over Jesus for release. God knew and knows those ways in us that get caught up in the moment and take on a worldly view of “what have you done for me lately?”…
Snowed over… when you don’t see the pitfalls coming, you might become snowed over in life. When you don’t keep up with clearing obstructions from the Way He HAS set out for you, you can quickly realize you have been snowed over…
Snow NOW, So NOW we need to realize there is nothing the Lord can NOT handle. When we look to HIM we don’t always have to always have to wait until the snow melts. He can light our way. He can handle us a shovel. (He can hand us a cross to bear too – we must decrease, and He must increase, as John the Baptist taught). He knows the Way and He who made the day can save our day. Let’s just let Him do it His Way. We also know that in Him, we don’t have to follow “new and improved systems of rule”, be wary of the latest quick fix, stick with the One Who Knows… He is fighting our battles. Hope in the Lord.
Remember Psalm 46
God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.
There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells.
God is within her, she will not fall; God will help her at break of day.
Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall; he lifts his voice, the earth melts.
The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.
Come and see what the Lord has done,
the desolations he has brought on the earth.
He makes wars cease to the ends of the earth.
He breaks the bow and shatters the spear; he burns the shields with fire.
He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”
The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.
Israel Asks for a King
When Samuel grew old, he appointed his sons as Israel’s leaders. The name of his firstborn was Joel and the name of his second was Abijah, and they served at Beersheba. But his sons did not follow his ways. They turned aside after dishonest gain and accepted bribes and perverted justice.
So all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah. 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.”
But when they said, “Give us a king to lead us,” this displeased Samuel; so he prayed to the Lord. 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. 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. 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.”
Samuel told all the words of the Lord to the people who were asking him for a king. He said, “This is what the king who will reign over you will claim as his rights: He will take your sons and make them serve with his chariots and horses, and they will run in front of his chariots. Some he will assign to be commanders of thousands and commanders of fifties, and others to plow his ground and reap his harvest, and still others to make weapons of war and equipment for his chariots. He will take your daughters to be perfumers and cooks and bakers. He will take the best of your fields and vineyards and olive groves and give them to his attendants. He will take a tenth of your grain and of your vintage and give it to his officials and attendants. Your male and female servants and the best of your cattle and donkeys he will take for his own use. He will take a tenth of your flocks, and you yourselves will become his slaves. When that day comes, you will cry out for relief from the king you have chosen, but the Lord will not answer you in that day.”
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.”
When Samuel heard all that the people said, he repeated it before the Lord. The Lord answered, “Listen to them and give them a king.”
Then Samuel said to the Israelites, “Everyone go back to your own town.”