Israel’s Request for a King

Editor’s Note: We have now explored the role of a prophet as God’s mouthpiece to speak His Word and of the priest as God’s worker and intercessor to call the people into His presence and into worship. Our Immanuel is both a better prophet and priest as He perfectly fulfills the intention of both roles. This week we plan to look at one more aspect of our Immanuel as the King. Our Immanuel is Prophet, Priest, and King as He speaks, draws us to Himself, and in His power and righteousness rules over His creation.

Pause: I Samuel 8, Psalms 110

My great-grandmother contracted mumps when she was in her thirties. God spared her life through the illness, but she never recovered her hearing. She prayed and prayed for healing and met with many doctors, but she spent the last 70 years of her life completely deaf. Later we found in one of her dairies these words penned during the period right after losing her hearing: “Lord, please heal me and allow me to hear again, but if that healing will cause me a leanness of soul, please allow me to remain deaf.”

My grandmother’s response to hearing loss was that of total surrender. She knew God’s best for her might not look like her own idea of what would be best. In today’s passage, the people of Israel plead for what they think is best for them instead of accepting God’s best for them. They see what others around them have, and instead of trusting God to give them His best, they demand to have their way. In His graciousness and mercy, God grants them their desire for an earthly king, and they end up with a few good but many harsh and corrupt kings that eventually lead them into exile. 

Sometimes what we deem best is not actually the best for us. We make demands based on what we can see and forget that we have a King in heaven who can see the whole picture, who loves us and wants to give us His best. Instead of making demands, we should learn to pray as my grandmother did out of trust and surrender to our King.

Ponder: What requests shape your prayers to your King? Are they prayers of trust and surrender, or do they demand what you think is best? How can you turn your prayers into ones of trust and surrender today?

Pray: Father, I confess that I want what I think is best for me. I know from Your Word that You are trustworthy and that You love me. I do want Your best for me even if it means not getting exactly what I want, knowing that it will work out for good. Thank You, Father, for Your good gifts. Amen.

— Jamie Harms