Over the years, I have tended to read chapter 8 as a stand-alone daily reading. It is so pivotal and important in that which it teaches us. Over and over again, throughout the Scriptures, we note the faithfulness and goodness of God toward Israel, even while the nation was spurning him for the idols. Now, in chapter 8, the people demand a king. Samuel thinks they are rejecting him, but in reality, as the Lord points out, they are rejecting God (1:7). How ungrateful! But I’ve touched on this before. Another observation, I think, is also helpful.
Yes, the people are ungrateful. Yes, they are idolaters. Yes, they are acting like unruly children. But here’s the thing, God is able to use even all this mess to accomplish his purposes. Without the monarchy, there would be no kings. Without kings, there would be no David. Without David, there would be no Son of David. Without the Son of David, we would have no hope.
And so, it seems to me, the kingdom was a part of God’s plan all along; at the very least, God worked through the reality of the kingdom to bring about his purposes: a kingdom and kings and, ultimately, the eternal King to rule over an eternal kingdom. God will have his way, and he will fulfill his promises. And all the stubbornness and sinfulness of Israel, or us, will not sidetrack our God in the accomplishment of his will. It’s a shame, though, that the people acted like they did. We should be better and do better. We should trust not in any man but in our good and faithful God.
God is my strength! I bless his name;
the same his pow’r, his grace the same;
the tokens of his friendly care
open and close and crown the year.
In ‘midst ten thousand dangers stand,
supported by his guardian hand,
and see, when I survey my ways,
ten thousand monuments of praise. -- Philip Doddridge (1740)