We are now in week six and that means we’ve just crossed the halfway point in our reading plan.
We’ve read about the promises God has made to Abraham and how he has remained faithful to a people who are often faithless. God brought them out of slavery to a land that he had prepared for them. But they turn from him again and again. He still blesses them and while Israel has no problem enjoying the promised land, they fail to be a blessing to others.
We’ve also seen how God has has been their king leading through the judges that he has brought up in Israel in times of need, but Israel rejects God and wants an earthly king. They want to be like the other nations. But no leader can compare with God. In fact, the leaders that rise up often do more harm than good. Those who are entrusted to watch over Israel have oppressed the people.
This week we will look closely at those failure of leadership in Israel and see what God plans to do to about it.
We’ve made our way through all of 1 Samuel and there are clear lessons learned about authority. It begins with Israel not content to have God as their king and preferring to be like everyone else. They want an authority over them they can see and so they plead to have their own human king. Samuel tries to dissuade them, but even as God allows for it, the situation in choosing Saul makes it clear that this is from God. Even in having another authority, the king, we are to understand where the true authority lies. This king Saul makes the greatest errors when he doesn’t accept this truth. He thinks since he is king, he can takeover for God and for God’s servant Samuel. When he acts as though he is in charge, Saul makes great mistakes and loses God’s blessing.
David is then anointed to be the next king. His job is to do the opposite of Saul: to seek the Lord in all things and lead Israel as one whose authority is found in God. He is not one, as we’ll see in 2 Samuel, who does this perfectly. But when he does make errors that are unfortunately similar to Saul’s, David recognizes the voice of God in others, repents, and brings himself back into a position of humility, even as a king.
If a king, with so much power and authority, still must seek God in all he does, how can we not follow suit. Following the example of David doesn’t mean we’ll be perfect, but it does mean that when we stumble, we know where to turn. Saul relies on himself, David relies on God.