“Then all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah, and said to him, ‘Look, you are old, and your sons do not walk in your ways. Now make us a king to judge us like all the nations.’” 1 Samuel 8:4–5
We’ve all experienced what the elders of Israel were going through. Problems were coming to them bigger than they could handle. Challenges were coming at them so fast they were being overwhelmed and they were looking for solutions.
The prophet Samuel was facing a similar situation, though it must be admitted that his was a bit more specific than that of the elders. Samuel was old and tired and simply not able to do the work of judging the people that he once had. The elders were just not prepared to lead the people in all the ways the people needed leadership.
So Samuel and the elders considered their problems and came up with solutions.
Samuel decided to appoint his sons Joel and Abijah as judges over Israel, and this was a disaster. Samuel’s sons didn’t have their father’s integrity and instead of giving the people the justice they were appointed to give their decisions were sold to the highest bidder. That’s right, with Samuels sons If you had the money you could make sure that the judge saw things your way.
This particular brand of injustice is what motivated the elders to put on their thinking caps and come to the conclusion they came to.
They knew they needed honest judges and every year they knew that the people need someone to rally the troops and lead them into battle so after looking at every aspect of this problem they could think of they came to the conclusion that they needed a king.
The problem I see with both the elders’ and Samuel’s decisions is that these decisions were made by Samuel the the elders. What was at stake was far bigger than they were capable of giving the level of consideration required and still they made the decision.
Friends, God has given us intelligence, and creativity, and problem solving abilities, and so many other wonder mental abilities but perhaps the most important thing we need to be able to do, when it comes to decision making, is to recognize when the problem is too big for us and then give it over to God.
God raised up Moses and each one of the prophets and judges to lead the people. He knew the hearts of the men and women he was calling, and he understood the problems they would face; the situation wasn’t too big for him. If the people had been patient and willing to submit to God they would have received God’s best but they weren’t so they didn’t, at least not at that time.
Are we willing to give our dilemmas over to God? Are we then willing to abide by the solutions he brings to us?
O Father, humble my heart. Make we willing to submit to your best for my life. In my desperation make me patient while you teach me faith, and within the scope of my intelligence and experience make me willing to listen to the prompting of your Holy Spirit.