A king like the nations – part 1 (1 Sam 8)

Today, we begin a new series through 1 Samuel 8-17, looking at the beginning of the monarchy in Israel: the rise and fall of Saul, and the start of David’s ascendancy. Although it may seem like a world far removed from our own, you might be surprised at some of the similarities. C.S. Lewis’s incisive comment on the human condition is as applicable now as it was in his day, and even back in ancient Israel:

‘We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in the slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at  the sea. We are far too easily pleased.’

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A king like the nations – part 2 (1 Sam 8)

Yesterday, we began a series in 1 Samuel. We saw that our three day journey through 1 Sam 8 can be summarised in one sentence: The desire to be like everyone else will enslave us, but God will let it if that’s what we really want.

Yesterday we looked at the first part of this sentence, starting with Israel’s desire for a king like all the other nations had. It was a slap in the face to God’s kingship, and tragic, since they had something far better on offer than a human king like everyone else. But Israel, like we often are, was ruled by her desire to be like everyone else.

Today, we look at how that desire can enslave us.

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A king like the nations – part 3 (1 Sam 8)

The desire to be like everyone else will enslave us, but God will let it if that’s what we really want.

That’s what we’ve learned so far in 1 Samuel 8. Israel wanted a king like the nations around her, despite God’s warning that it would enslave them. But as we saw in Solomon’s lifetime (1 Kings 4, 10), that’s what happened. God had something far better on offer – himself as their king – but Israel chose to be like the other nations instead.

In our final look at this chapter, we look at the final part of the sentence: God will let it enslave us, if that’s what we really want.

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