1 Samuel 8:19-20
Nevertheless the people refused to obey the voice of Samuel; and they said, Nay; but we will have a king over us; That we also may be like all the nations; and that our king may judge us, and go out before us, and fight our battles.
This was a pivotal moment in the history of Israel. Samuel had served God his entire life, but now he is old. His sons were to take his place as judges, but they weren’t like Samuel. They didn’t follow his example, and so the people ask for a king to be their judge instead, to just do things like all the other nations did. And after Samuel prays about it, he brings God’s answer to the people, telling them what it will really be like to have a king ruling over them.
And despite all of those things Samuel tells them about what the king would do, they are willing to accept that. Even after Samuel points out some reasons why it might not be as good as they think it will be, they don’t change their minds. They overlook any negatives involved and blindly see it as a good thing to do. They have their hearts set not on God, but on getting their way. They wanted to be like others instead of separate and distinct. They thought they needed a king even though they had the King.
But can’t we do the same thing sometimes? We get ideas in our head of something we want or the way we think something should be. And despite the wise counsel of others, instead of considering God’s way and His plan and His viewpoint, we stubbornly insist on doing it anyway, disregarding what could go wrong. We can become so enamored by things that we get shortsighted. We don’t consider what reality might be compared to what we imagine something will be like. And things don’t always turn out like we expect them to.
We often get into trouble when we gaze longingly at the world, desiring what they have and to do things their way instead of recognizing the blessing it is to live as God’s people, the privilege it is to call Him our King. An earthly king would fail Israel, but God never fails. An earthly king could be corrupted, but God judges rightly. An earthly king has weaknesses and limitations, but God is mighty in battle, all-powerful. There is no comparison. So may we avoid the temptation to seek out the things of the world, keep our focus on the Lord, and understand that His way really is best.