Summary: In Chapter 6 of 1 Samuel, the people of Israel experienced some of the darkest days of their history. Their enemies had won a great victory and the Ark of the Lord had been captured. Because God had brought a great plague upon their enemies, the Ark of th
In Chapter 6 of 1 Samuel, the people of Israel experienced some of the darkest days of their history. Their enemies had won a great victory and the Ark of the Lord had been captured. Because God had brought a great plague upon their enemies, the Ark of the Lord was returned, but the Israelites were careless and casual in their treatment of the Ark, and so the Lord struck down many men.
They people mourned over the consequences of their sin, but did not genuinely repent of their sins until 20 years later. When they repented, God brought a mighty revival upon the land. Captured territories were restored. Their enemies were subdued. And there was peace in the land.
Now another twenty years have passed since that great revival. The winds of change have begun to blow.
• Samuel’s youthful energy has given way to old age
• God’s people have forgotten His revival and have returned to their own ways
• Samuel’s sons have forsaken their Father’s ways, and have embraced wickedness
• The mighty fire of revival has waned and a selfish and sinful decision is hatched in the minds of the religious leaders of the day
• A sinful seed was planted in the mind of the elders of Israel, and this seed sprouted and grow up to be a poisonous bitter plant that returned the people to their unrighteous ways, rejected God has their true King, and ruined the revival that He had begun
a. When Samuel grew old, it was obvious that the time was coming for him to pass the mantle of authority to someone. Naturally, he turned to his two sons Joel and Abijah.
b. But it was obvious that his sons did not walk in his ways. They were ungodly and unrighteous. They turned aside to dishonest gain and accepted bribes and perverted justice.
c. Their job was to pronounce judgment for the people, but instead they perverted judgment before the people.
d. Because of this, the elders (the leaders) of the Israelites gathered together and approached Samuel. In verse 5 they said, “You are old and your sons do not walk in your ways; now appoint a king to lead us such as all the other nations have.”
e. The people of God then make a disastrous decision by not seeking the Lord but instead doing what their leaders tell them to do. (Blackaby, Chosen to be God’s Prophet, p. 123).
f. Joel and Abijah were wicked, but so was the request of the elders. Notice the reason for their request: to be like all the other nations. So what’s the big deal? Was their anything wrong in the request?
g. “The sin of Israel in requesting a king did not rest in any evil inherent in kingship itself, but in the kind of kingship the people envisioned and their reason for requesting it. Their desire was for a form of kingship that denied their covenant relationship with the Lord, who himself was pledged to be their savior in deliverer. In requesting a king ‘like all the other nations’ they broke the covenant, rejected the Lord who was their King, and forgot his constant provisions for their protection in the past.”
h. Deut. 5:1-3, “Hear, O Israel, the decrees and laws I declare in your hearing today. Learn them and be sure to follow them. The Lord our God made a covenant with us at Horeb. It was not with our fathers that the Lord made this covenant but all of us who are alive here today. (6) I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. You shall have no other gods before me…”
i. God entered a covenant relationship with the people of Israel, and a key element of that covenant was their allegiance and obedience to God as their King. As their King, God had a special calling for His people.
i. Leviticus 20:26, “You are to be holy to me because I, the LORD am holy, and I have set you apart from the nations to be my own.”
ii. Numbers 23:9, “From the rocky peaks I see them, from the heights I view them. I see a people who live apart and do not consider themselves one of the nations.”
j. It was God’s desire from the beginning that His people be set apart! It was His desire from the beginning that His people should not consider themselves like the other nations of the world.
i. His people were to be different.
ii. In the world’s eyes, His people were to be peculiar.
k. But here, His people cry out and ask permission to be like all the other nations.
l. The elders requested a change in government. They requested a change; they wanted a new leader. “Give us a King!”