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God gave Israel what they asked for. He gave them a king.  But He was not about to do so without making clear that Israel’s choice, (to be like everyone else), was the ultimate rejection of God.  He called them to be holy–separate from everyone else. But throughout the history of Israel, they turned aside from God time after time.  When they did so, they fell into captivity and were treated horribly.  They would then return to God and He would deliver them. Sadly, once free, they would return to their wicked ways and God would once again pull back.

God saw that giving Israel a king put power into the hands of a leader that could easily lead them away from Him.  The king would also take their freedom and make them subject to his will not God’s. The people began to grasp how they had destroyed a great gift–true freedom, by taking a king.  Samuel encouraged them–he let them know that God would not abandon them despite their rejection of Him. He was clear, however, that If the king or the people walked away from God, then the nation would be on its own.

The same holds true for us. God wants to lead us and keep us free. Daily pressures are constantly drawing us away from the very One that can free us.  We are often looking for a quick fix to make things easier rather than looking for God’s lead to make things better.  Like Israel, we are constantly looking around at what others have; rather than looking to God to see what he has planned for us.  God will not share the throne. Either we choose to follow Him, or we choose to abandon Him–He allows either. Simply put, if we choose to follow the Lord–our lives will be full, meaningful and purposeful. If we abandon Him, we will have what the rest of the world has–chaos and madness!

God Bless You

Samuel said to all Israel, “I have listened to everything you said to me and have set a king over you. Now you have a king as your leader. As for me, I am old and gray, and my sons are here with you. I have been your leader from my youth until this day. Here I stand. Testify against me in the presence of the Lord and his anointed. Whose ox have I taken? Whose donkey have I taken? Whom have I cheated? Whom have I oppressed? From whose hand have I accepted a bribe to make me shut my eyes? If I have done any of these things, I will make it right.”

“You have not cheated or oppressed us,” they replied. “You have not taken anything from anyone’s hand.”

Samuel said to them, “The Lord is witness against you, and also his anointed is witness this day, that you have not found anything in my hand.”

“He is witness,” they said.

Then Samuel said to the people, “It is the Lord who appointed Moses and Aaron and brought your ancestors up out of Egypt. Now then, stand here, because I am going to confront you with evidence before the Lord as to all the righteous acts performed by the Lord for you and your ancestors.

“After Jacob entered Egypt, they cried to the Lord for help, and the Lord sent Moses and Aaron, who brought your ancestors out of Egypt and settled them in this place.

“But they forgot the Lord their God; so he sold them into the hand of Sisera, the commander of the army of Hazor, and into the hands of the Philistines and the king of Moab, who fought against them. 10 They cried out to the Lord and said, ‘We have sinned; we have forsaken the Lord and served the Baals and the Ashtoreths. But now deliver us from the hands of our enemies, and we will serve you.’ 11 Then the Lord sent Jerub-Baal,[a] Barak,[b] Jephthah and Samuel,[c] and he delivered you from the hands of your enemies all around you, so that you lived in safety…“Now then, stand still and see this great thing the Lord is about to do before your eyes! 17 Is it not wheat harvest now? I will call on the Lord to send thunder and rain. And you will realize what an evil thing you did in the eyes of the Lord when you asked for a king.”18 Then Samuel called on the Lord, and that same day the Lord sent thunder and rain. So all the people stood in awe of the Lord and of Samuel.

19 The people all said to Samuel, “Pray to the Lord your God for your servants so that we will not die, for we have added to all our other sins the evil of asking for a king.”

20 “Do not be afraid,” Samuel replied. “You have done all this evil; yet do not turn away from the Lord, but serve the Lord with all your heart. 21 Do not turn away after useless idols. They can do you no good, nor can they rescue you, because they are useless. 22 For the sake of his great name the Lord will not reject his people, because the Lord was pleased to make you his own.