Give Us A King!
February 5, 2023 Speaker: Tim Merwin Series: Highlights in 1st Samuel
Topic: 1 Samuel Passage: 1 Samuel 8, Deuteronomy 31:6
Guest Speaker Give Us A King!
(1 Samuel 8:1-5 ESV) When Samuel became old, he made his sons judges over Israel.
The name of his firstborn son was Joel, and the name of his second, Abijah; they were
judges in Beersheba. Yet his sons did not walk in his ways but turned aside after gain.
They took bribes and perverted justice. Then all the elders of Israel gathered together
and came to Samuel at Ramah and said to him, "Behold, you are old and your sons do
not walk in your ways. Now appoint for us a king to judge us like all the nations."
Give Us A King! I Samuel 8
Things have not been very good for the Israelites - The Philistines have defeated them - the arc has been captured - Eli fell over and died... His sons have died as well....
Philistines and their god Dagon are winning! God’s people are defeated. But... Oh my “God is Powerful”! God Beheaded the god of the Philistines. 7:1-3 - the ark is now housed at Abinadab
- The people lament - 20 yrs go by....
- Samuel calls them to repentance
Ch 7 The people repent / return to the Lord - God defeats the enemy and all the land that was lost was restored to God’s people.
Ch 8 Now that we have all this land...we need a king to bring dominion over the domain... Ch 7 = They have just repented - rejected the false gods - turn the page to Ch 8
we need you God - we are grateful for you but... well... I am sure you understand - we need more than... just you.
How many of you have ever been skydiving....
the funny thing about skydiving is not that you would jump out of an airplane
(1 Samuel 7:3-4 ESV) And Samuel said to all the house of Israel, "If you are returning to
the LORD with all your heart, then put away the foreign gods and the Ashtaroth from
among you and direct your heart to the LORD and serve him only, and he will deliver you
out of the hand of the Philistines." So the people of Israel put away the Baals and the
Ashtaroth, and they served the LORD only.
- it is that you would fully trust a complete stranger that you just met 5 minutes ago and is now strapped to your back!
- those who don’t trust try to “help”
- that guy doesn’t want your help and doesn’t need your help
- actually the best thing you can do is to fully trust that that guy has got you...
That’s Israel - they know they have God strapped to their back but...that’s not good enough. Ch 8 is a picture of them struggling and grabbing for the ropes and in so doing not trusting.
It’s a -
In The Days Of Uncertainty Where Do We Turn? (vs1-5)
good question - one that we need to wrestle with in the midst of our days of uncertainty.
Out of all the judges of Israel Samuel has been a God send - a man of faith, character and wisdom. He has been a source of stability in life
- The land has been returned to Israel during his era.
- the people are repenting
- Samuel is mediating on their behalf
- - the Philistines are defeated....... all is good.
And then....chapter 8:1
When Samuel became old - translated - when things became uncertain and unsettled.
When we didn’t know where things were headed WE needed to sure things up. We needed to grab the ropes and take control.
Where do you turn in your uncertainty?
- It is amazing how quickly our lives can go from Ch 7 to Ch 8!
We are familiar with uncertainty - aren’t we?!?
Who knew as we wrapped up 2019 that 2020 would be a year like none other.
Who knew if you lived in Ukraine - that COVID uncertainty would transition into war uncertainty. .
Well....there will be fresh uncertainties in 2023. Uncertainty is certain b/c we are not sovereign.
Vs 1 explains the reason behind the foolishness that comes later in the chapter.
What are we going to do? We don’t know where things are headed. It feels very unsettling - The leadership gap in Israel is obvious. Samuel is old - kids are bad.
Philistines are in check but they are still lurking out there.
Does any of this sound like your life?
The level of uncertainty over the past years has reached new levels.
Pastors have resigned - church members have left - when uncertainty became certain. and the Israelites went from repentance to give us a king seemingly overnight.
Vs 4-5 In the leadership gaps - dumb things are suggested and followed. This happens in churches all the time!
In the absence of a leader - churches have hopped on to every imaginable wind of doctrine and pragmatic approach to building the church.
Let’s copy the Magical World Of Disney’s approach to creativity - let’s copy Starbucks approach to leadership structure
- Let’s copy the marketing genius of amazon
- let’s be edgy like Apple.
I am not saying there is nothing to learn from secular companies - Of course there is - after all - most of them have unknowingly borrowed principles from scripture. By all means - let’s be creative for the glory of God - Let’s grow in engaging our culture for the advancement of the Kingdom - let’s use all that God has given us.
But that isn't what is going on here.
In the gap of leadership - let’s bail on God and turn to the world’s wisdom and get us a king.
Trust in methods rather than in God Himself
Trust in man’s wisdom rather than God’s Word
Trust in man’s leadership rather than Christ who builds the church
So as we continue in ch 8 - we all need to be asking ourselves - in the days of uncertainty where do we turn?
II. In The Days Of Uncertainty, We Must Turn To The King’s Word Rather Than Turn To The kings Of The World (vs 5-9)
vs 6 - Samuel prays - YES! We need vs 6! And yet....something is missing in verse 6?
The only person praying is Samuel.
Why is he the only one? Where is the prayer meeting?
Where is the verse that says - having repented (chapter 7) The elders came together and they called the people to prayer and all the people fasted and prayed.
Warning: It’s easy to look at these people self righteously - what’s wrong with them...!! Well..... God tells Samuel to “obey them” and “warn them”
- In fact this has been their history vs 8
- God has been their King - but wow - they rejected him at every turn.
- God says - give them what they want.
? How kind of the Lord to warn them.
? Friends, that is the story of the bible... a warning of human foolishness that lives
IN all of US! That is why we have the OT - to instruct us away from the
foolishness that has gone before us....
? Perhaps you are here today and you know you have been rejecting His
wisdom... rejecting the Lord’s rule and reign
them vs 10
? You have wanted another king - a king like this world's kings. You heard Allen preach about it last week. Idols... The kings of wealth, sex, power, beauty, recognition, respect, or whatever - give me something to hang on to in the days of my uncertainty.
While on the one hand this is shocking - on the other hand... it’s just run of the mill OT Israel stuff - it is run of the mill “us” stuff.
There are 2 ways to reject God:
1.) Some say - I don’t want God in my life. No thanks, I am not interested....
2.) Others say - “God you are welcome in my life but I am sure you will understand I need
an insurance policy here. I know that you are Immanuel - God with us - and that is really great - but.... just in case something really goes wrong - I am sure you understand I need more than just you. You do understand, right? I just don’t feel I can trust you fully.....I need a king here and now.”
Both of these are a rejection of God!
The problem wasn't that they asked for a king.
The problem was that they were rejecting the King they already had!
A few examples:
Why am I anxious? Is it not b/c I am uncertain that the King has got this?
Give me a king - maybe that is a cry for world peace - a better government - or for everyone to vaccinate or maybe it's a cry that no one would vaccinate.
(Matthew 6:25-27 ESV) "Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?
Why am I depressed? Is my depression a form of grief that the King’s plan is not the best one? Give me a king because I don’t like how my life is working out and life is spinning out of MY control? I am depressed because I don’t like His sovereign rule at this time....
(Romans 8:28 ESV) And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.
Why do I fear? Is it not that there are uncertainties lurking around the corner? Uncertainties beyond my control - what will happen with my job, health, marriage, children, church...?
(Isaiah 41:8-10 ESV) But you, Israel, my servant, Jacob, whom I have chosen, the offspring of Abraham, my friend; you whom I took from the ends of the earth, and called from its farthest corners, saying to you, "You are my servant, I have chosen you and not cast you off"; fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
I don’t mean to oversimplifying anxiety, fear, and depression. There can be chemical imbalances - poor diets - lack of sleep and many other things... but... let’s not jump over... there might be a need for repentance and that anxiety attack might be God’s means to reveal to us that we need to do some heart work. It might be the kindness of God to call you to trust and prayer.
Let’s be honest - we reach for the ropes - we want control.
“God, I am glad you are strapped to me as we free fall to earth but you are not enough - give me a king. Give me some security - give me some assurance - I need more than.... you....
Well....God gave them what they lusted for!!
Give us a king like the other nations - a king who “looks'' like a king. You understand, don’t you, God? All these nations have their guy - someone who can lead them. Lead them into battle and things such as that.
Be Reminded: they lived under the shadow of Deuteronomy and Exodus and Joshua
(Deuteronomy 31:3 ESV) The LORD your God himself will go over before you. He will destroy these nations before you....
(Deuteronomy 31:6 ESV) Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the LORD your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you."
So point 1 - in the days of uncertainty where do you turn?
Point 2 - in days of uncertainty - I exhort you - turn to the King’s Word rather than kings of the world.... Because - point 3
III. In The Days Of Uncertainty, Rejecting The King To Then Embrace A king Will Bring Consequences (vs 11-17)
If you make beauty your king - well... beauty fades
If you make marriage your king... well.... Marriage will fail you. If you make the Government your king
If you make X side of the aisle your king- the Republican Party - The Constitution - friends.... As much as I am a conservative - politically - if I make that my king, my source of hope - if that is where I place my trust - then consequences will follow.
Now... no one in the room is saying - yep - that’s me...
Let me present it to you like this.
Are you anxious, stressed, or afraid about the government today?
What are we saying? We are saying - if my guy was in there - THEN all would be at peace.
Is the king you have made the government to be... not giving you what you want... friends... Samuel 8 exists that we might repent!
The Sovereign King - Their God - Our God - is too small a Sovereign in their eyes, our eyes. A weak Sovereign - a limited Sovereign - so we - just like them - cry out - we need a king.
Except we say - We need a president - We need to return to the constitution - we need new laws.
I believe in a monarchy!
Friends - our greatest need today is not this or that president - our greatest need is the Sovereign King - our Greatest need is not a return to the constitution, (as great of a document as that is...) it is not our greatest need = our greatest need is the Word of God. We are citizens of another Kingdom - another King - so we join with Samuel - and we pray!
Over the years... Each of our children has come to kim and I and said - I am thinking I want to move out
- I want to get a place of my own
- what do you guys think about that...
We have always leaned into that conversation.
We have never been afraid of the conversation - actually - that is how it's supposed to be -- that’s actually the plan!
Now - we need to talk and we need to pray and we need wisdom... but... You should want to move out. That’s normal - that’s the plan.
But... you are only 9 years old.... So, no.... Not yet....
That’s us - the cry for a king wasn’t bad - it was just misdirected.
“I want to move out now! - I reject your wisdom and your counsel and I reject waiting on that plan” This was Abraham - This was Moses - That is Samuel 8 - This was the disciples - This is... me.
To the people living in the days of Samuel 8
The plan is that there will be a king! - His name is Jesus - but we don’t want to wait on Him - we want a king now - we want to be like those other nations.
When we reject thee King - we are embracing “a” king.
When we in essence say - I don’t fully reject you God - I need you - but you are not enough...
I am not sure which is worse.
The person who doesn’t know God and outright rejects God and says - I have no need of you. Or the person who knows God and says - yes, I need you.... but you are not enough....
Samuel then warns them of the consequences of their lust for a king to be like the other nations vs 11-17 Take = 6x’s
- Take your sons to die in battle and when not fighting to plow and reap
- Take your daughters
- Take your fields and orchards and vineyards
- Take your servants
- Take a tithe
In summary - you get to be just like your ancestors living as slaves in Egypt.
They want a king they can control but the king will control them. That is the folly of sin and idols. The kings we create turn their subjects into servants. WE are not just talking about Saul here.... David - the guy with a heart after God. He will take someones daughter - take someones wife - he will have that husband killed and many others killed as well to hide his sin. His son will take his daughter and will one up dad - David 2.0
That is where the kings of our making will take us. The lie of the king is that it says - if you make me your king you will have comfort and peace and we buy the lie and the king laughs and mocks us - you actually thought that you could reject God and there would be no consequence to that foolishness?
“Whatever you depend on for happiness and security, you become the slave of that thing.” Thomas and Greer
So - Samuel Warns them... the people...“ok sure... we’ve got that...now.... give us a king...”
Everything about God’s character tells them to trust him and yet they just can’t stop wrestling with the ropes.
IV. The King Gives Them What They Want (vs 19-22)
? You don’t want this response to your rebellion - go with it...
? There are some prayers that you don’t want God to answer!
? God - be King over my life - I want you to override my stupid desires. Those
things I think are best for me....don’t give me a yes to all my requests and when it’s a confusing or a difficult “no” help me to put my trust in you completely.
Ugh - they actually get what they are asking for.
Do you have any unanswered prayers hanging out there? Thank The LORD!!! I am so grateful for prayers he did not give me what I wanted!
They desire a king - because they have come to believe they can’t live without a king - INCREDIBLY - they feel they are actually at a disadvantage to the surrounding nations.
V. Who's Your King? Don’t miss the Gospel point...
There is a Gracious irony to all of this!
Because God remains King in spite of them. His faithful reign exists in spite of them and us!
So - Samuel is our guy - but his sons are a mess - You know the story - kings will have sons who will tear the kingdom in two...lets appoint a king - But -- in a surprising twist of grace - that will actually be the ultimate salvation - because through the lines of the kings there will be a King.
Don’t miss the gospel point to Sam 8!
We DO need a KING! YES! One who will rule and reign - One who is for the people and does what he does to serve and care for the people. One who is not seeking to take for His own gain - A King who will take the towel and wash his disciples feet.
A King who will be tempted in everyway and yet his rule will be without sin!
God will give them Saul - and Saul will fail to fulfill all he promises David will follow and even this godly man will fail miserably
But... Christ your King fulfills every promise
Saul will fail to obey God and defeat their enemy
David will become so prosperous that he will even go out to battle like he once did and that is where he will fall
But friends another King has come.....
Christ died on the cross crushing and destroying our enemy
Saul started well and fizzled out
Christ started well in Bethlehem and did what he said he would do - It is finished at Calvary
Saul’s reign turned Israel into his servants
We need a better king!
A King who came not to be served but to serve by laying down his own life as a ransom
Saul’s sinful reign caused many to die
Christs reign caused his own death which is why we now have life - new life / eternal life
We all have to choose our king. We have ch 8 for our benefit. Don’t look at the OT self righteously - we actually have an advantage. We have the OT and a much longer history of God’s faithfulness. We can read of those who went before us and gain from their story.
They rejected God and they will reject Him again.
(Luke 23:13-16, 18-23 ESV) Pilate then called together the chief priests and the rulers and the people, and said to them, "You brought me this man as one who was misleading the people. And after examining him before you, behold, I did not find this man guilty of any of your charges against him. Neither did Herod, for he sent him back to us. Look, nothing deserving death has been done by him. I will therefore punish and release him." ... But they all cried out together, "Away with this man, and release to us Barabbas"-- a man who had been thrown into prison for an insurrection started in the city and for murder. Pilate addressed them once more, desiring to release Jesus, but they kept shouting, "Crucify, crucify him!" A third time he said to them, "Why? What evil has he done? I have found in him no guilt deserving death. I will therefore punish and release him." But they were urgent, demanding with loud cries that he should be crucified. And their voices prevailed.
His rejection became our salvation.
God’s plan for us was always a kingship - I believe in a monarchy. Christ is not only my Savior - He is my King!
(Isaiah 9:6-7 ESV) For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this.
More in Highlights in 1st Samuel
May 28, 2023A Beautiful Friendship Part Two
May 21, 2023A Beautiful Friendship Part One
May 14, 2023The Torment of Jealousy