The people of Israel wanted a king.
They had been led by a prophet named Samuel, who spoke God’s words to them and helped them. However, when he got older, the people realized he couldn't serve as a judge like he used to and the sons he appointed to take his place didn't follow in his ways.
So, they approached him and said they wanted a king. They said, "Look, you are old and your sons do not follow your example. Therefore, appoint a king to judge us the same as all the other nations have …." (1 Samuel 8:4). The problem wasn't the fact that they asked for a king. It was the fact they’d forgotten who was leading them the whole time. Not only that, but they wanted to be "like other nations."
God told Samuel it wasn't him that the people rejected, it was God. He gave them what they wanted. God does the same for us. We ask him for something and he will give us an answer (if he chooses to do so). What I’ve learned, especially with the events from last week, is that the answer might not be what we planned or hoped for. The Israelites got their king, but Samuel warned them that their 'king' came at a pricey cost. You can find more about King Saul in the chapters following 1 Samuel 8.
I mentioned in my last column (the Nov. 4 issue) about God still being in control, no matter who's elected as the President. I believe God appoints leaders for a reason and he can use anyone he wants for his purpose. However, if anything, we need to keep praying and tread carefully. It's dangerous to claim so-and-so will save us from this or that. I also believe saying, 'Look what I did,' is equally troublesome. I've been there myself and I’ve winded up with a nice piece of humble pie on my plate. It’s not just our efforts alone that makes a company or a business successful. We need the hand of God on every part of it.
As I talked to a friend about the election results, I knew he wasn't happy by it. He did, however, point out something I won't forget.
"Humility," he said. "Both candidates lack humility. They keep saying, 'Here's what I'm going to do,' but they never really acknowledged God."
That’s what got the Babylonian ruler, King Nebuchadnezzar, in a bind. He spent seven years eating grass like an animal and his sanity diminished because he praised what 'his own hands did,' instead of praising the one who gave him the kingdom he ruled. When he finally looked up and acknowledged God, King Nebuchadnezzar’s honor and kingdom was restored.
People want a leader and they’ll get one, but every leader has his faults and strengths. That’s where leaning on God is so essential and we shouldn’t stop seeking him.