King Nahash of Ammon both impressed and frightened the people in Israel. They saw how, by his powerful words and cruel actions, he controlled Ammon’s soldiers completely. It seemed certain that, with such a strong leader, Nahash’s army would win all their battles.
The people in Israel convinced themselves that they too needed a powerful king like Nahash. Otherwise, they did not believe that they could defend themselves from his army. That was why they urged Samuel to appoint a king to lead Israel’s army.
Saul seemed an unlikely choice to be Israel’s king. However, when Nahash attacked, Saul acted in a very powerful manner. The result was that Saul defeated Nahash’s army completely.
Then the people in Israel began to realise how foolish they had been. They thought that nobody could defeat a powerful king like Nahash. In fact, they themselves had easily defeated him, in a battle that lasted just for one morning. So they saw that it does not make a nation safe to have a powerful king.
In previous centuries, Israel’s people had often not been loyal to God. However, they had always considered God to be their king. When their troubles were severe, they appealed to God and not to any person for help. Then they trusted God to save his nation from its enemies.
In a way, the people who lived at the time of Samuel and Saul were even less loyal to God. They did not want God to save them from their troubles; they wanted a king to save them. They did not want God to rule their nation and they did not trust him to defend their nation.
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© 2014, Keith Simons.