Chapter 8 of 1 Samuel tells the story of the people’s rejection of Samuel and the call for a king like all the other nations had. The elders gathered and said to Samuel, "'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’” (8:5). A couple things going on, here. Samuel had not prepared his sons to take his place, and the people were rightly fearful of an unholy rule by the two. So, they demanded a king. Here’s the problem, though, and the second thing. The error of the people, it seems to me, was not that they wanted a king, but that they expected a king to succeed where they believed the Lord had failed. It was not the Lord who had failed. The people themselves had sinned and failed to follow after God.
The man chosen and appointed as king, Saul, was not much of an improvement over the sons of Eli and, ultimately, God rejected Saul as king. Samuel was soon to deliver his farewell address; in it, he directed the people, “If you will fear the Lord and serve him and obey his voice and not rebel against the commandment of the Lord, and if both you and the king who reigns over you will follow the Lord your God, it will be well” (12:14). If only!
Let us not trust in man but in God. And let David’s testimony be ours: “For God alone my soul waits in silence; from him comes my salvation. He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be greatly shaken” (Psalm 62:1,2).