This week King Saul is installed as King of Israel. But how did we get here?
Last week, we saw how God was incredibly patient with his rebellious people. He knew they rejected Him … yet still He warned them of how a human king would mistreat them. And of course, as expected, his people don’t listen. See 8v19,
But the people refused to listen to Samuel. “No!” they said. “We want a king over us. Then we will be like all the other nations, with a king to lead us and to go out before us and fight our battles.”
What utter foolish arrogance!!! The Israelite rejection of God was Genesis 3 all over again. God warned Adam and Eve, but they refused to listen. They’d rather trust themselves than God. Refusing to listen is the nature of “hardness of heart”. If you were to look through all the passages in the Bible that speak of people hardening their heart, you’ll find that it’s always about people not listening to God’s warning. Think about the classic example of Pharaoh. God sent Moses time and again to warn him and that’s God’s way of hardening his heart because he knew that Pharaoh would not listen.
The irony of it all is that God’s punishment of Israel involved him listening to their request. “Listening” (or “hearing”) is more than just receiving a string of words through our ears, but also includes the act of doing what the words say. So 8v21-22 says,
When Samuel heard all that the people said, he repeated it before the Lord. The Lord answered, “Listen to them and give them a king.”
God would punish the people by listening to them. In the rest of the OT, we see Israel suffer the consequences. The selfishness and tyranny of their evil kings actually led the whole of the Northern Kingdom, Israel itself, to destruction. In ch 7, Israel had God leading, going before them and fighting their battles. God gave them victory and subdued their enemies. But when Israel replaced God with human kingship, the irony now is that the king would take their best and send them out to fight their own battles.
Yours in Christ,
Loves Jesus and loves telling people about Him.