Breaking Bad (Part I)
How God Works Through Our Bad Choices
Lessons in 1 Samuel 8 & 9
God’s people had been through a lot. Generations lived as slaves in Egypt, and then they witnessed God’s power against the Egyptians and experienced freedom from slavery. They witnessed His miracles in the desert but rebelled against Him, turning to idols and false gods. They wandered for forty years and finally, the new generation overtook the city of Jericho and God established them in the land He had promised. To govern His people, God established prophets and judges but, once again, His people rejected Him. One of these prophets was Samuel, and in chapter 8 of 1 Samuel, Samuel has grown old and appointed his sons to be judges over Israel. But his sons were not honorable like Samuel; they were greedy, accepted bribes, and perverted justice. The people of Israel did not want them for judges so the elders asked Samuel to give them a king “like all the other nations have.”
“Samuel was displeased with their request and went to the Lord for guidance. ‘Do everything they say to you,’ the Lord replied, ‘for they are rejecting me, not you. They don’t want me to be their king any longer. Ever since I brought them from Egypt they have continually abandoned me and followed other gods. And now they are giving you the same treatment. Do as they ask, but solemnly warn them about the way a king will reign over them.’” (1 Samuel 8:6-9)
So God gave a warning to Samuel: This king they so desired would draft their sons and daughters, making them join his army, forcing them to work in his fields, and make weapons, food, and perfumes for him. This king would take, for himself and his officials, their best fields and vineyards. He would take their slaves and their finest cattle for himself, he would demand a tenth of their flocks and grains. The people would become slaves of this king.
“‘When that day comes, you will beg for relief from this king you are demanding, but then the Lord will not help you.’ But the people refused to listen to Samuel’s warning. ‘Even so, we still want a king,’ they said. ‘We want to be like the nations around us. Our king will judge us and lead us into battle.’” (1 Samuel 8:18-20)
We have such a long history of choosing exactly what is wrong for us. The people of Israel decided that God’s system was no longer good enough for them, that God as their King wasn’t enough. They looked around at other nations and coveted their system of governance. Despite the Lord’s warnings, they still wanted to be like the other nations. How often have we made that same mistake? Despite all of the warnings we find in Scripture, we look around at how other people live and want to try it their way instead of God’s way.
“So Samuel repeated to the Lord what the people had said, and the Lord replied, ‘Do as they say, and give them a king.’ Then Samuel agreed and sent the people home.” (1 Samuel 8:21-22)
You see, even when we know God’s warning and we choose the wrong thing, God works through our bad choice. His plans are bigger and much better than anything we could ever imagine because from this monarchy would come the Messiah and His eternal Kingship and Kingdom. Our wrong choice isn’t going to stop God’s perfect plan. He breaks through our bad choices to bring about His good.
May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.