They said, “Give us a king to lead us.” So Samuel prayed to the Lord. The Lord said to Samuel, “Do everything the people request of you. For it is not you that they have rejected, but it is me that they have rejected as their king… So now do as they say” (1 Sam 8:6b-7, 9 NET)
Be careful what you ask God for; you just might get it. God intended to rule His people directly through the theocratic structure given in the Law, but His people had other ideas. They wanted to have a king, “just like all the other nations.” So God relented and gave them what they asked for, even though it was not the best thing for them.
The man God chose as Israel’s first king was exactly the kind of man the people wanted. He was tall (“head and shoulders” taller than the rest), he was strong, he was passionate, and in this passage, he even came across humble. The people expected him to lead them and fight their battles for them (8:20), and he did exactly that (ch. 11). They got what they wanted – a man ruling over them instead of the Almighty God.
It’s interesting to me to think that an answered prayer may not be what is best for me. At different times in my life, I have begged God for a certain outcome – please let me get into that school, please let me date that girl, please give me that job, please get me out of this mess. It’s stunning to think that sometimes God may have said yes, not because it was the best thing for me, but because I asked, and because I would not be have been able to learn any other way.
It’s been said that prayer is not about getting our will done in Heaven but is instead about getting God’s will done on earth. But how often do I approach God’s throne ready to mold my expectations and needs to His will? Too often when I come to God in prayer I am more concerned about getting what I want than I am about getting God’s perspective and understanding His will.
Father, forgive me for my deep-rooted selfishness. Forgive me for not seeking after your will and waiting for what is best. You know me completely and you have a perfect plan for my life. Work your will in me so that I can proclaim your faithfulness to those around me, for your glory and for my good.