1 Samuel 7:3-10:27
We see a period of reform and flourishing in Israel upon the return of the Ark as Samuel serves as yet another judge over the nation (7:3-17). But we know Samuel to be the last Judge because here is where there is a significant shift in Israel’s leadership history when they demand for a king and monarchy thereafter. For whatever reason(s) the Israelites so strongly desire a king [e.g. military security, to be like all the other nations (c.f. 8:5,20)], they fail to see the irony in asking God for one. In articulating the need for “a king over us…that [he] may judge us and go out before us and fight our battles,” the Israelites were too blind to see that they already had a God-king amongst them doing just that! Having the Ark and God’s very presence with them was not enough, and so they demand Samuel for a fabricated sense of security in a man-king.
Despite Samuel’s reluctance and God’s warning of an earthly monarchy, the Jews are given what they so desperately covet. Chapters 9 through 10 introduce the person of Saul who will inaugurate kingship in Israel. There is not much that we know about Saul that uniquely qualifies him as king over others aside from the fact he was very handsome and was taller than everyone else (9:2; 10:23). But the reality to highlight here is God’s favor upon Saul to bring him from the mundane to royalty. Having come from the “least of the tribes of Israel” (9:21), God raises Saul from obscurity, and through a rather ordinary series of events, lays the crown to Israel right on his lap. The narrative further demonstrates the sovereignty of God and the need that we have as human beings to depend on Him.
Reflect and Connect
While in hindsight we can label the convictions of the Israelites for a king as stubborn and short-sighted, we would be guilty of hypocrisy. What are ways in which we usurp God as king over our own lives? Is there an area that you have difficulty fully trusting God and find yourself wrestling control away from Him? Meditate on Isaiah 9:6-7 and the very identity of the king Jesus claims to be.
6 For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given;
and the government shall be upon his shoulder,
and his name shall be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
7 Of the increase of his government and of peace
there will be no end,
on the throne of David and over his kingdom,
to establish it and to uphold it
with justice and with righteousness
from this time forth and forevermore.
The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.
- Rev. Nameun Cho
This blog is part of the ministry of City Reformed Presbyterian Church. Unless otherwise noted, the entries are written by Matt Koerber. This is part of a project that our church is doing as we read through the narrative sections of Scripture between early January and Easter 2020. New entries will be scheduled to drop automatically at 5:00 am on the scheduled day.