The problem which brings up the issue of a king is that the children of Samuel are corrupt. If Samuel had children who were righteous and willing to do the will of the Lord then the people never would have asked for a king. It seems like both the children of Eli and the children of Samuel were the typical pastor’s kids who were rebellious and unleashed. It is interesting how the people of Israel gather together and confront Daniel and say nothing about the corruption of his children, but rather change the subject and think: Well if we can’t have other gods like the other nations have, let’s have the next best thing, a king!
Samuel doesn’t know what to do with this request so he does the best thing, he asks God what he is supposed to do with this request. God doesn’t get angry, but is somewhat passive aggressive as he reassures Samuel that the people aren’t mad with him but that they always treated God this way, in that they wanted something tangible to take the place of God. Instead of allowing God to be their king, they wanted to choose their own king. Yeah, God wasn’t happy, but it isn’t your fault Samuel, the people have always been this way.
Before you give them an answer remind them of what it means to have a king: he will take your property, he will take your sons, he will take your wives, he will take your daughter, he will make you a slave, you will have no freedom…but if you want a king…go for it! Samuel relays this information to the people and their main issue is that they want a king for the sake of security. We need someone to lead us into battle against our enemies. Isn’t it amazing what freedoms we will be willing to give up in the name of security.
Wow, this is so applicable to today. We are willing to give up freedoms, we are willing to give up openness, we are willing to give up our obedience to love the stranger, we are willing to give so much up in order to feel safer, even if we are not safer. That is what marks our society and our culture today. It is frustrating as you know that the steps that people take are actually not going to make them safer, but the Lord says, go ahead, give them a king. Give them what they want to make themselves feel safer, even if they are not safer and are actually disobeying the Lord in what they are doing. God have mercy.