I Samuel 8
How often have you wanted something very badly, and yet when you finally got it, realized it wasn’t what you really wanted or needed after all? The Israelites were often that way. In I Samuel 8, they beg and beg for a king. God tells the prophet Samuel to give them what they want, while warning them that having a king might not be a such a great thing after all. God knew that Israel was not willing to let him be king over them, even though he had brought them out of Egypt and provided a wonderful land for them. They wanted a king like all the other countries. So, Samuel found a king for them — Saul, the first in a long line of kings in Israel, some good, some bad, but mostly bad. By the time Herod the Great was king, the country was under Roman domination, and now the people longed for the Messiah. Surely he would come and kick the Romans out, depose Herod and restore Israel to its former glory.
God certainly heard what the people wanted. But he also knew what they needed — a Savior. They didn’t need a king to rule an earthly country, they needed the “Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” as John the Baptist says in John 1:29. So God sent his son to be born a baby in humble circumstances, to grow up and teach and heal and show a new way to relate to God. Then he would die for our sins and rise again, conquering death and bringing hope to world.
Because of Jesus, our hope doesn’t need to rest on earthly rulers. Governments come and go — some good, some not so good, some downright evil. But our hope is in Christ and our citizenship is in the Kingdom of God. We have an eternity of communion with God to look forward to.
Sometimes, like the Israelites, we think we need something other than God to make our lives better — maybe a new car or a new house or a different spouse or a different president. But all through the Bible God is teaching us that all we really need is him. I don’t know about you, but I find that comforting.
May your Christmas season be filled with the peace that comes from knowing Christ.