There’s a passage in the Old Testament that’s hard for me to wrap my head around. It’s a familiar passage but the more I read it the more it’s convicting. It’s convicting on many levels. First, let me set the scene so that you can understand why this passage bothers me.
The Israelites have had a history of an “on again, off again” relationship with God. However, God loves His people so much He would allow different situations to take place in their life to show them their need for Him. Each situation was different however the Israelites would, in a time of extreme adversity, acknowledged their need for God and would follow His leadership.
That brings us to this verse. The Israelites was in the time known as “the Judges.” What that meant was that if certain situations arise, the Judges would sort things out and their leadership would end once they were through. However, this was not enough for the Israelites.
The Prophet Samuel was God’s mouthpiece for the Israelites at this time. He would teach, rebuke, and correct their lives. During this time, the Israelites became restless and began wanting something more than what Samuel could give. This was not a lack of Samuel’s leadership but a lack of contentment in the lives of the Israelites. Here’s a passage from this event:
“But the people refused to listen to Samuel’s warning. “Even so, we still want a king,” they said. “We want to be like the nations around us. Our king will judge us and lead us into battle.”— 1 Samuel 8:19-20 NLT
We see that the Israelites made it clear that they wanted a king. This in and of itself was not wrong. They knew that one day there would be a king that rises from them. In Deuteronomy 17:14-20 we see God’s plan for a king for Israel. However, it wasn’t God’s timing for them to have a king at this juncture. Furthermore, what made this a bad situation was that Israel already had a king: The Lord was their King. They were rejecting God’s protection, providence, and guidance over their lives. God told Samuel to give them a king, but warn them of the mess it would be. This was not God giving in but Him allowing them to see what happens when they decide to control their own lives. It was not time for the King that God had planned for them. So, since their reason for wanting a king was born out of selfishness, God gave them a selfish king. If you continue to read the book of 1 Samuel, you will see the burden that King Saul was on the nation of Israel.
You might be asking, “Why is this passage out of 1 Samuel so convicting to me?” For starters, I, like the Israelites, find myself wanting to be like the world. They were discontent with not having a king like the other nations. They did have a king that fought for them, always coming to their rescue but that was not enough. Life them, I want the stuff of this world. I’m not satisfied with what God has blessed me with. This is a sign of a corrupt heart. Don’t get me wrong; I love God. It’s just sometimes, I don’t love Him with everything and that scares me. If you’re honest with yourself, you do the same thing too. Knowing what becomes of the Israelites because of their demand for a king, makes me frightful because of my demand for more stuff in my life. I am just like them. What I’m really saying is that GOD IS NOT ENOUGH for me.
I John 2:15-17 gives a warning to us all:
“Do not love this world nor the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you. For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world. And this world is fading away, along with everything that people crave. But anyone who does what pleases God will live forever. (NLT)
So, what have I been doing about it? I’ve been seeking repentance. A corrupt heart begins healing with repentance. However, repentance is only as good as your willingness to follow through. I have to physically remove myself form the things that draw my attention away from God. What saturates your life is the treasure of your heart. For too long, my “stuff” has saturated my life and has become the treasure of my heart. This has removed God from being the treasure of my heart. Taking all of this in consideration, I have to be held accountable to keep my desire from turning to the “stuff” of this world. If I do not forge a relationship with someone who will correct me and guide me then I will return to those things demanding that they become the “king of my life” so that I can be like the world.
So, in closing, I’m a messed up person wanting to get my life back into fellowship with God. Although 1 John 2:15-17 gives us a stern warning, we can find comfort from the same book. 1 John 1:9 reads:
“But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.” (NLT)
Have you begun confessing yet? I have and the healing has begun.