Day 7 1 Samuel 16 ... Tale of Two Kings

The Philistine military threat never entirely went away. As Samuel aged, Israel needed continuing vigorous leadership, but Samuel's sons hardly measured up to the task. What could be done? Looking around them, the tribes saw that virtually every other country had a king. Aha, that's the answer, they concluded, and urged Samuel to appoint an Israelite king (8:4-5).

The idea of a king seems to have been popular with everyone except Samuel and God, who sensed in the request an underlying rejection of God's own leadership. Samuel warned the elders bluntly against the problems they might be inviting: tyranny, oppression, a military draft, high taxes, maybe even slavery. But the people begged for a king despite his warnings.

Did God oppose the very notion of a king? Probably not. many years before, Moses had predicted the Israelites would someday have a king, and God eventually used the royal line to produce his own son Jesus, King of Kings. But the Bible makes one thing clear: God opposed the people's motives, as expressed by the elders, "Then we will be like all the other nations" (8:20). God did not now want them to be like all the other nations. He, no human being, was the true ruler off the Israelites.

Israel's first king began his reign with enormous promise. Saul was a perfect physical specimen-handsome, strong, intelligent, a head taller than anyone else. Leadership qualities oozed out of him. But he failed, for one simple reason: He disobeyed God, refusing to acknowledge him as the true ruler. And without hesitation, God ended that royal dynasty and looked elsewhere for a replacement.

The replacement king was utterly unlike the first king. No one had imagined royalty potential in the shepherd boy David-not even his own father. But, as God said, "Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart." David had the kind of heart God could work with. Despite his humble beginnings, despite his many flaws, he went on to become the greatest king in the history of the Israelites.

Point to Ponder: : Would the leadership qualities God values be an asset or a handicap to someone running for president of the United States?