“Then all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah and said to him, “Behold you are old and do not walk in your ways. Now appoint for us a king to judge us like all the nations.” But the thing displeased Samuel when they said, “Give us a king to judge us.” And Samuel prayed to the Lord. And the Lord said to Samuel, “Obey the voice of the people in all that they say to you, for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected me from being king over them. According to all the deeds that they have done, from the day I brought them up out of Egypt even to this day, forsaking me and serving other gods, so they are also doing to you. Now then, obey their voice; only you shall solemnly warn them and show them the ways of the king who shall reign over them.”
1 Samuel 8:4-9
Giving generously starts with knowing that you have a king. Here in 1 Samuel we do not so much have a handbook on generous giving; rather, we encounter one of the essential truths that must always govern our giving: Yahweh is King.
Israel is just getting into the baby stages of realizing their status as God’s people. He has wed himself to them in covenant, and they, in turn, are to obey him within the bounds of loving relationship. All of Israel’s status, wealth, military success, and peace are from Yahweh. He alone is their God, and they are his people. Yet they are only beginning to discover all that this means for them. In this story, they are enticed by the way the nations around them are ruled. They long for a king that will bring military success to their name, peace to their land, and prosperity to their homes. Carnality and materialism trump obedience to their King, and they beg Samuel to give them a king “like the other nations.”
To put it another way, they conclude that since Yahweh is not meeting their perceived needs in the ways they would prefer, they should probably get another king. Are you kidding me!?!? “Do you remember what I’ve done for you?” he asks. “Don’t you remember how helpless you were? And how I rescued you? I own you, and everything you have. If only you obey me and walk with me, we’ll have the greatest relationship in the world!”
When we forget that Yahweh is our King, we turn inward, seeking our own entertainment, success, and pleasure. When we seek and rest in Yahweh our King, we are filled up, and have the resources to give toward others’ entertainment, success, and pleasure. We can be a “blessing to the nations,” because we are God’s people. We can love because we are loved. We can served because we have been served.
And so, allow me to ask the question…what nation have you turned to today to be your king?
Return afresh to your Deliverer, Sovereign, Lover, Captain, and King. He is ever ready and willing to love, serve, protect, and bless you with His presence!