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.” But the thing displeased Samuel when they said, “Give us a king to judge us.” And Samuel prayed to the Lord . And the Lord said to Samuel, “Obey 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. According to all the deeds that they have done, from the day I brought them up out of Egypt even to this day, forsaking me and serving other gods, so they are also doing to you. Now then, obey their voice; only you shall solemnly warn them and show them the ways of the king who shall reign over them.”
1 Samuel 8:4-9 ESV
Indeed, the Bible gives us a full view of the contrasting condition of man’s and God’s heart. While man has rebellious and wicked heart, God remains to have a loving and firm heart.
As I reflect on the passage, I began to think that the unrighteousness of Samuel’s sons was not the real reason why they asked for a king. They thought they knew what was best for them and they decided follow their own way. Sadly, we are these very same people. We give in to our compulsions and desires, when we come to God we already made up our minds and we just want Him to go along with it. In spite of this, God still cares. He is not happy with our own choices if it is not for our good and according to His will. For sure, like what He commanded Samuel to warn the Israelites, He also never misses to do the same. At times, we feel uneasiness in our actions because we know that He is appealing to our conscience. Yet He allows our bad choices to prevail because He is sovereign. Our bad choices does not cause inconveniences to Him, what He does not want is to destroy ourselves with our independence from Him. So if it will restore us to Him by allowing us to suffer the consequences of our actions then He will allow it.
Living a Christian life is a rollercoster ride, there will be times that you are on fire with God and there will be times that you feel so far away from Him. But that does not mean that He moved away when the truth is we are the ones moving away from Him. I know this very well because I always fall on the trap, the trap I make for myself. Every time I don’t feel like praying, read the Bible or work on my GLC online class but choosing to watch tv or play games all day, I feel like the Israelites falling into idolatry. Leisure is not bad but if it takes priority over God and spiritual discipline then I’m letting myself revive the old ways that Jesus has freed or restoring me from. Sad but true.
Sometimes, I wish that God will not allow me to choose and just make me follow only His ways always. But then again, God is gracious and loving that He gives us free will. Instead of questioning Him, I should appreaciate His grace. This same grace which gives hope that whenever I fall, God is sovereign to know how to bring me back to him. And that by every fall is a learning and opportunity to know Him more helping me to mature and grow as Christ’s follower. My prayer is I will not lost my focus in Jesus and the good works He has done in me. I do not want to be like the Israelites who forgot the God who brought them up out from their slavery in Egypt and chose them as His people.
Finally, I want to finish the race and fight the good fight of faith with Jesus as my King!
Soli Deo Gloria!