Useful Bible Studies > 1 Samuel Commentary > chapter 8

Godís reaction to a foolish decision

1 Samuel 8:7-9

Usually, God allows people to make their own decisions. If their decision is foolish, God may send someone to warn them about it. However, he then allows them to make their own choice. When the leaders of Israelís people asked Samuel to appoint a king, they had already made a definite decision. They wanted a king, whether their decision was wise or not. They did not care whether God wanted Israel to have a king or not. They were not even willing to wait for the king whom God would choose. Other nations had kings, so they wanted Samuel to choose a king for Israel at once.

This placed Samuel in an extremely difficult situation. Only Samuel disagreed with the decision to appoint a king. All the people and all the other leaders wanted a king. However, only Samuel had the authority in Israel to appoint a king whom everyone would respect. If anyone else tried to do it, the likely result would be arguments and war.

Samuel recognised that his authority to lead Israel came from God. So, Samuel asked God how he should deal with this situation.

God replied that Israelís people had often not been loyal to him. Since God rescued them from their hard lives as slaves in Egypt, they had frequently chosen to serve false gods. Their attitude now was nothing new. It upset Samuel to see this attitude; but God had long been dealing with this attitude. In the past they wanted to serve false gods; now they wanted to serve a king.

God told Samuel to warn the people. They needed to understand how a powerful king would behave. They needed to know how that king would use his authority. They needed to see that they would suffer much because of their decision.

However, if their final decision was to appoint a king, God would permit them to do it.

Next part: How a powerful ruler behaves (1 Samuel 8:10-18)


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© 2014, Keith Simons.