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hey knew they would need help. It  to dictate the terms of His help in a way
              was a sure thing that enemies would  that will allow us to blend into the world
        Trise up against them as before. And  rather than stand out as unique within it.
        when they did, the Israelites would need  “Lord, help us to be good Christians,” we
        deliverance, which in the past had been co-  pray. But we reserve the right to demand
        ordinated through God’s prophet Samuel.  that this won’t mean looking, behaving or
        But Samuel was now old and none of his  sounding too different. Yet God’s demand
        corrupt sons would be a suitable successor.  for His people today is to be distinct, holy
        It was time for something different. The  (1Pe 1:16), as it was for Israel under the old
        elders of Israel didn’t ignore Samuel’s role  covenant (Lev 19:2).
        and act on their own, but sought to use it   But the more egregious error of the Isra-
        to get what they wanted from the Lord.  elites’ demand for a king was that in doing
        “Appoint over us a king to lead us, just like  so, they were rejecting God Himself. The
        all the other nations have” (1Sa 8:5 NET),  Lord said to Samuel, “They have rejected
        was their demand.                    me, that I should not reign over them” (1Sa
          There’s a sad contrast between 1 Samuel  8:7 KJV). Their fault lay not in the demand
        7 and 8. In chapter 7, the crisis of the Philis-  itself, but in the motive behind it. The
        tine invasion was met with Israel’s repen-  pending shift from theocracy to monarchy
        tance and cry to the Lord for rescue. They  mirrored a shift that had already occurred
        were without a human king, but had both a  in their hearts. Their confidence was now
        faithful intercessor in Samuel and a faithful  in man and in princes rather than in the
        God, who indeed delivered them. They still  Lord (see Psa 118:8-9). Are we not guilty
        had Samuel and still had the Lord, but now  of this inclination also? Often we are more
        they wanted something else. They wanted  interested in prescribing what form God’s
        God’s help on their terms, not His. “God,  help must take rather than simply leaving
        help us … and here’s how,” was essentially  the matter in His hands, allowing Him to
        their request.                       act as He sees fit. When we do so, our trust
          The demand exposed two sad realities,  is really in our ideas rather than in the Lord,
        both of which we are often guilty. The first  and, like the Israelites in Samuel’s day, we
        was that the Israelites wanted to be “just  reject God Himself.
        like all the other nations.” In their minds,   Perhaps our cries to the Lord need some
        having a king would make them fit in, be-  amending or paring down. Far better to
        long, be up to date with the world around  pray, “God, help us,” followed by a pe-
        them. Theocracy was old-fashioned. It was  riod, and leave the “here’s how” to Him.
        time for monarchy. Is this not our sad ten-  Sovereigns order, servants obey. We’d be
        dency as well? We recognize that we need  wise to remember where we belong in that
        the Lord’s help in our lives, but we’d prefer  sentence.

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