I began reading from 1 Samuel recently so that I could re-familiarize myself with King David and the backdrop leading up to his rise to power. I got to Chapter 8 and came across something that really amused me. The Israelites, God’s chosen people who He rescued from trouble time after time, demanded from the prophet, Samuel a king to rule over them like all the other nations had. God told Samuel (paraphrasing), “Hey, don’t worry about it. It’s not you they are rejecting, it’s me. If they want a king, give them a king.” Samuel wasn’t happy about the whole thing and he tried to explain to the Israelites the downside of having a king, but they wouldn’t listen to him. Trying to play mediator, Samuel went back to God again. God, who seemed exhausted by it all, said (paraphrasing again), “Just give them what they want.” Can’t you hear His sigh and groan?
The Israelites wanted an earthly king to fight their battles. God was their King and promised to care for them unlike any earthly king ever could as long as they obeyed and worshipped Him. But their faith broke down and they demanded something else instead. They settled for less than the best. I think we often do this as well. Think about the following Scriptures. Galatians 2:20 says,“it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me”; Philippians 4:13, “I can do everything through him who gives me strength.” 1 Corinthians 15:10, “But by the grace of God I am what I am…”. When we believe these things, that our worth and value, our esteem comes from Christ, everything is fine, but when our faith in these Truths breaks down, we, like the Israelites, start demanding that other people fight our battles for us. We start demanding that other people give us our esteem. We covet the compliments and praises of others. We need/crave the approval of others to fight the battle waging in our minds. When we don’t get these things, we become sensitive, defensive and easily offended. It is madness. Just like the Israelites demanding protection from an earthly king, we are demanding something from a source that can’t give us what we need. Yes, people can praise us, but could we ever get enough? What happens if we don’t get their praise when we need it or think we deserve it? Do we have a bad day? Building our esteem on the foundations of other people’s praise is like building a straw house. One decently strong wind of adversity will scatter our confidence to the far corners of the earth. As Christians, we are called to love other people, but not their praises. Galatians 1:10 says, “For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.” We can’t serve Christ and seek the approval of man. When we do, this approval from others becomes an idol in our lives that we lift higher than Jesus. I think there is a commandment about this.
God wants to deliver us. He wants to protect us. He wants to fight our battles; especially I believe those in our minds, because that’s where the Enemy attacks us the hardest. “The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still.” Exodus 14:14. “For the battle is not yours, but God’s.” 2 Chronicles 20:15. “Do not be afraid of them; the LORD your God himself will fight for you.” Deuteronomy 3:22.
We need to let Him be King.