1 Samuel 8
This is the passage where Israel approaches Samuel and asks for a king. Asking for a king was not wrong, in and of itself, but how and why they asked for a king was. We must always understand our asking (for whatever it may be) still must be Christ-centered, God-centered, and Gospel-centered not self-centered, situational-centered, and sin-centered. The how and why of Israel’s asking for a king was anything other than Christ, God, and Gospel-centered.
First they observed the sons of Samuel and how they lived contrary to the ways of a priest. Samuel’s sons, Joel and Abijah, were men who took bribes and perverted justice. Second, having noticed Samuel’s replacements were no good and then seeing that Samuel was rising up in age, the elders of Israel approached Samuel and said, “Behold, you are old and your sons do not walk in your ways. Now appoint for us a king…” I guess you can say this is pretty cut and dry. “Hey old man, you got some pretty crappy sons who are no good, we need to replace both you and them.” How sweet!
Thus far, Israel is reactionary against the sons, against Samuel’s age, and against the position of priest. They asked for a king to judge them, rather than a priest to judge them. Not only did they request a king, if that was not hurtful to Samuel, but they desired a king so that they could be “like all the nations.” Fourth, rather than desiring to be more godly, they wanted to be like all the pagan nations. Fifth, Israel demanded a king. Who cares about authority or honoring positions, Israel took it upon themselves to demand a king.
The ‘how’ and ‘why’ they ask for a king is not in the right spirit, nor in the right direction. Like I alluded to earlier, it is not that asking for a king was wrong, but the ‘how’ and ‘why’ they ask were. God had promised to Abraham that kings would come from his loins. So, having a king seems like it was in the deck of cards early on. However, there was probably a better way to arrive at inaugurating a king. Think about this: our asking may be a right request to be making, but we may be requesting it in the wrong way and for the wrong reasons. There is nothing God glorifying about this way of asking, just as it was not glorifying to God for Israel to ask for a king in the manner they did. Samuel was displeased and God was rejected through their request.
In our asking and desiring, we must check them at the door of our heart to make sure that we are not reacting negatively in our situations and circumstances. We also must check our motives for the ‘why’ of our asking.
Are the request(s) we are making, like Israel’s request, selfish, situational, and/or sinful? As believers who are loved by and who love the King of Kings, our prayers and request must be God-Centered, Christ-Centered, Gospel-Centered, and Missional Centered.