People are acting in a very foolish manner when they refuse to follow good advice. The reason, as in this passage, is often that those people have already made their decision. They care more about their own opinion than about what is the sensible thing to do. They follow their feelings and they will not even think about anyone else’s advice. They behave as if they already know the right answer to everything.
In this particular passage, the people’s plan was to appoint a king to rule Israel. They had convinced themselves that it was an excellent idea. They spoke only about the benefits of their plan. The king would lead their army. He would encourage the soldiers to fight well and he would bring success in battle.
However, they were not thinking about the problems that their plan would bring. Samuel had told them about those problems, as any wise adviser must do (8:11-18). A powerful king would behave in a powerful manner. He would force the people to work for him and he would demand the payment of taxes.
Sensible people think very carefully about any problems that their plans may bring (Luke 14:28-32). Wise people learn from the words of people who may disagree with them (Proverbs 9:8-9). Only fools refuse to listen to advice.
Advisers often have to deal with people who will not follow their advice. That is a difficult situation for any adviser. He must allow those people to do something that he knows to be foolish and wrong.
Here, God gave a clear instruction to Samuel. He should appoint a king to rule Israel, as the people wanted. So Samuel sent the people home. He had not yet appointed the king. He first needed to find out whom God wanted him to appoint as Israel’s first king.
Next part: Saul, Israel’s first king (1 Samuel 9:1-2)
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© 2014, Keith Simons.