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Give the People What they Want

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Introduction

The last line in the book of Judges shows us the state in which the nation of Israel is at in this point in history.
Judges 21:25 NRSV
In those days there was no king in Israel; all the people did what was right in their own eyes.
The people are doing what they want.
Israel has turned to idol worship and have turned their back on God.
The Philistines are oppressing the nation of Israel. They stole the ark of God.
1 Samuel 4:22 NRSV
She said, “The glory has departed from Israel, for the ark of God has been captured.”

The People Ask for a King

Because of the oppression of the Philistines, the people grow frustrated and long for deliverance from the oppression.
Samuel is the elder judge at the time, he has been a good leader and the people have looked to him for leadership.
But the oppression of the philistines is to much, and Samuel is getting old. His sons have taken over and they are not the same as Samuel.
1 Samuel 8:1–9 NRSV
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 Beer-sheba. Yet his sons did not follow 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, “You are old and your sons do not follow in your ways; appoint for us, then, a king to govern us, like other nations.” But the thing displeased Samuel when they said, “Give us a king to govern us.” Samuel prayed to the Lord, and the Lord said to Samuel, “Listen to the voice of the people in all that they say to you; for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected me from being king over them. Just as they have done to me, from the day I brought them up out of Egypt to this day, forsaking me and serving other gods, so also they are doing to you. Now then, listen to their voice; only—you shall solemnly warn them, and show them the ways of the king who shall reign over them.”
4. The people want a King, so God gives them what they want.
a. Notice though it comes with a warning.
1 Samuel 8:10–22 NRSV
So Samuel reported all the words of the Lord to the people who were asking him for a king. He said, “These will be the ways of the king who will reign over you: he will take your sons and appoint them to his chariots and to be his horsemen, and to run before his chariots; and he will appoint for himself commanders of thousands and commanders of fifties, and some to plow his ground and to reap his harvest, and to make his implements of war and the equipment of his chariots. He will take your daughters to be perfumers and cooks and bakers. He will take the best of your fields and vineyards and olive orchards and give them to his courtiers. He will take one-tenth of your grain and of your vineyards and give it to his officers and his courtiers. He will take your male and female slaves, and the best of your cattle and donkeys, and put them to his work. He will take one-tenth of your flocks, and you shall be his slaves. And in that day you will cry out because of your king, whom you have chosen for yourselves; but the Lord will not answer you in that day.” But the people refused to listen to the voice of Samuel; they said, “No! but we are determined to have a king over us, so that we also may be like other nations, and that our king may govern us and go out before us and fight our battles.” When Samuel had heard all the words of the people, he repeated them in the ears of the Lord. The Lord said to Samuel, “Listen to their voice and set a king over them.” Samuel then said to the people of Israel, “Each of you return home.”

The People Get the King They Wanted

God Accommodates the People.
The people are looking for a worldly King, a King that looks the part, a king that will lead them into war against the Philistines.
The problem is God was suppose to be their king, as they are rejecting His leadership through Samuel.
This is a great example of God accommodating the people. God does this sometimes, he gives us what we want even though it’s not the right thing. We are being selfish, yet God lets us be that way and works with us.
The People Chose a King.
The people chose Saul as their King, which makes perfect sense.
Saul looks the part, in chapters 9 and 10 we are told he is literally a head taller then everyone. He is a warrior, who looks like a king. The translation of the original Hebrew word is “Geboha” which literally means tall.
The Kind of King God Wants.
Deuteronomy 17:18–20 NRSV
When he has taken the throne of his kingdom, he shall have a copy of this law written for him in the presence of the levitical priests. It shall remain with him and he shall read in it all the days of his life, so that he may learn to fear the Lord his God, diligently observing all the words of this law and these statutes, neither exalting himself above other members of the community nor turning aside from the commandment, either to the right or to the left, so that he and his descendants may reign long over his kingdom in Israel.
4. God wants a king with a torah heart. A transformed king.
a. Saul is not that transformed king, soon after he begins his reign, Saul goes against God by taking things into his own hands. Saul makes an unlawful sacrifice, that angers God.
b. So God rejects the worldly king, and send Samuel out to find the new king. The king that God wants. The king with a torah heart.
1 Samuel 16:1–7 NRSV
The Lord said to Samuel, “How long will you grieve over Saul? I have rejected him from being king over Israel. Fill your horn with oil and set out; I will send you to Jesse the Bethlehemite, for I have provided for myself a king among his sons.” Samuel said, “How can I go? If Saul hears of it, he will kill me.” And the Lord said, “Take a heifer with you, and say, ‘I have come to sacrifice to the Lord.’ Invite Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will show you what you shall do; and you shall anoint for me the one whom I name to you.” Samuel did what the Lord commanded, and came to Bethlehem. The elders of the city came to meet him trembling, and said, “Do you come peaceably?” He said, “Peaceably; I have come to sacrifice to the Lord; sanctify yourselves and come with me to the sacrifice.” And he sanctified Jesse and his sons and invited them to the sacrifice. When they came, he looked on Eliab and thought, “Surely the Lord’s anointed is now before the Lord.” But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for the Lord does not see as mortals see; they look on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.”

David Chosen As King

After Samuel rejects Jesse’s sons, he asks for the son who is out in the field tending the sheep. Jesse’s youngest son, David. When David arrived God told Samuel that this was the next King.
David goes on to be the king with a Torah heart.
He makes many mistakes, but always repents and turns his life over to God.
He became the greatest King Israel has ever had.
Notice the difference is how Saul became King, at the request of the people. And notice how David became King.
The people looked at the outward appearance of Saul and assumed he was the king they wanted.
Yet God choose a king for his heart, his character. And God blessed the reign of that King.

We Can’t Always Get What We Want

1. Often What We Want is Rooted in Selfishness.
a. If we follow the temptations of the world we end up making wrong decisions that we regret. Because the decision is based on what we want, not on what God wants.
2. If We Line Our Hearts Up with God We Make Better Decisions.
a. Our decisions in life need to be made through the guiding of the Holy Spirit, not our wants.
b. We should be praying for God’s will in our lives, not our will be done.
3. If we look past the Surface, we can see what God wants.
a. Our measure is Jesus, who he was and how he was with others.
b. If your asking the question, “How do I line my heart with God’s”? the answer is simple. Follow the lead of Jesus.
c. How did Jesus make decisions? He made them on his knees!
Big Idea: What we want is often not in line with what God wants. It is often more in line with the world. To change this we must focus our heart on Jesus, and let the Holy Spirit guide our desires.
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