This chapter starts off by telling us that Samuel had appointed his sons, Joel and Abijah, as Israel's leaders. However there was a problem! Verse 3 goes on to tell us that "...his sons did not follow his ways. They turned aside after dishonest gain and accepted bribes and perverted justice." And so, realising this may be a problem, the elders of Israel gather together. However, there is a problem! At no point are we told that the elders of Israel take their concerns to God. At no point are we told that they gathered together and sought God as to what they should do.
The elders of Israel go to Samuel and they say to him "You are old, and your sons do not follow your ways; now appoint a king to lead us, such as all the other nations have." This desire to have a king appointed to lead them displeased Samuel, and so what does he do about it? In contrast to the elders of Israel, we are told that in his deep concern, he prayed to the Lord! And when Samuel brings his problem and his concerns to God, God speaks! What do we do when we have a problem or when we have a deep concern or trouble? Do we try and sort it out on our own like the elders of Israel, or like Samuel, do we bring it before the Lord in prayer?
And look at the desire of the elders of Israel: To be like the other nations. Here are God's people, whom God has rescued time and time again, who delivered them from the hands of the Egyptians, who provided for them time and time again, who protected them. They already had a King who was ruling over them: the King of Kings, Creator of all things! However their desire now is to have another king ruling over them, so that they can be like the other nations. This is why God says to Samuel "It is not you (Samuel) they have rejected, but they have rejected me as their king."
This week during the Tent Mission, in the Kids Club we are looking at the theme "Who's the King of me?" And that is the question for the Israelites in this passage, and it's a question for us today: Who is the King of me?
Is your answer to that question 'God is the King of me?' Then let's make sure that we allow Him to be the King in our lives. Let's make sure that we allow Him to lead us, to guide us, to be the first in all that we do, and the first that we go to in all situations! Let's be like Samuel!
And let's not be like the elders of Israel in this chapter, trying to do things on our own and in our own strength - they got it badly wrong, and so will we! And let's seek first the Kingdom of God, and not desire to be like the world around us! God has called us to be set apart, as children of God.