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A Better King by Pastor Jeremy Collins

1 Samuel 8:1-9


The history of God's relationship with Israel is also our history! Therefore, we need to learn more about Israel to learn more about ourselves.


When we look at the big picture of Israel's relationship with God, we see God's unbroken faithfulness to Israel and Israel's "on again and off again" relationship with God. As a nation among other nations, Israel felt vulnerable in a violent world ruled by sin and the evil it birthed. Israel yearned for tangible means to be led and protected by God. When she looked to other nations, Israel saw and feared the power of human kings. Therefore, Israel wanted her own king.


As a boy, Samuel was raised and trained to be a priest at the Tabernacle, the "tent of meeting," where Israel worshipped God and offered sacrifices according to the Law God gave to Moses. Samuel was a devout man who grew in stature and regard by the people of Israel. When the Philistines threatened Israel, Samuel kept her eyes on God when they were tempted to seek the favor of other gods and idols. Under Samuel's spiritual and military leadership, God protected the Israelites from the Philistines. By faith, we see the faithfulness of God to His people, no matter the strength or weakness of their trust in God.


Israel became anxious when Samuel showed signs of aging, and his sons showed no sign of leading as he led. Samuel's sons were a straying generation. The Israelites asked Samuel to seek God's favor of a king. Their request offended Samuel, and he took his offense to God in prayer. God told him that if anyone should be offended, it should be Him! To Samuel's surprise, God told him to give the people what they wanted by appointing a king. To make a long story short, no human king can take God's place - and any security offered by having a king would be short-lived.


Samuel appointed Saul to be the first king of Israel. After Saul, David became king. There were other kings after David, and none offered Israel relief from her fears of national annihilation or subjugation. While living under the false hope of human kings, God remained sovereign over Israel. God worked out a plan of kingship that demonstrated His faithfulness to Israel. From the line of King David, God's son would be born in human flesh to become a better king, the King of kings, and the Lord of lords.


The story of Israel wanting a king is our story. We are God's people. And like Israel, when the world marginalizes us or threatens us, we are tempted to turn to idols and want what people in the surrounding culture have. We want security. We want to be liked. We want to be accepted. We want to be exempt from the world's criticism, accusations, oppression, or persecution. But with eternity in view, is this what we need? 


Advent is a time when we express a yearning for the return, protection, and salvation of a better king. The question of Advent is this: Are we ready to take a posture of submission to Jesus' authority over all aspects of our lives - personal, family, work, community, and church? Life under the authority of Jesus leads to a very different and ever-transforming life. Please, for your own sake, take inventory of your life. How are you doing with your submission? What needs to change? Who do you need to join with to be encouraged and strengthened? 


God knows the desires of your heart and grants the means to meet those desires. The answer to your pleas is always Jesus, and union with Him leads you to union with His bride, the Church. Amen

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