1 Samuel 8 – Choosing A Godly Leader

by | Sep 19, 2023 | 1 Samuel, Old Testament

I. Israel’s Need For Godly Leadership

A. Israel Needed New Leaders For Their Future Vs. 1-5

1. V. 1 Samuel was an older man and was increasingly unable to travel the circuit of judging the nation. The days of his leadership would eventually come to an end.

a. Samuel seems to have had a blind spot regarding the ungodliness of his own sons.

b. The people could see the unsuitability of Samuel’s son for spiritual leadership.

2. Vs. 2, 3 Samuel was a godly man, but his sons did not follow his example.

a. Even godly leaders may have children who do not follow the Lord.

b. Keep in mind also that Samuel did not have a good parenting example in being raised by Eli, whose sons were also ungodly.

3. Vs. 4, 5 Samuel had a blind spot regarding his son’s unsuitability to be rulers.

a. He needed to be told by the elders of Israel.

B. The Carnality Of God’s People In Choosing Leaders Vs. 6-8

1. V. 6 Samuel had a holy displeasure with their request.

a. They were to be a people ruled by God, not by a King.

b. That was their ungodly motivation, to be like other nations.

c. Guzik- There was a difference between a king and a judge. A judge was a leader raised up by God, usually to meet a specific need in a time of crisis. When the crisis was over usually the judge went back to doing what he did before. A king not only held his office as king as long as he lived, he also passed his throne down to his descendants. Judges did not make a “government.” They met a specific need in a time of crisis. Kings establish a standing government with a bureaucracy, which can be both a blessing and a curse to any people.

d. The people were premature in asking for a King.

e. Instead of getting David as a godly King, they had to live through the ungodly reign of Saul. God had intended at some point to give them a King.

f. Deuteronomy 17:14-17 14“When you come to the land which the Lord your God is giving you, and possess it and dwell in it, & say, ‘I will set a king over me like all the nations that are around me,’  15you shall surely set a king over you whom the Lord your God chooses; one from among your brethren you shall set as king over you; you may not set a foreigner over you, who is not your brother. 16But he shall not multiply horses for himself, nor cause the people to return to Egypt to multiply horses, for the Lord has said to you, ‘You shall not return that way again.’  17Neither shall he multiply wives for himself, lest his heart turn away; nor shall he greatly multiply silver and gold for himself.

2. Guzik– We can want what God wants for us, but for the wrong motive and at the wrong time and therefore be in sin. Israel thought that the remedy for their lives was to be like the other nations.

3. Notice the line of thought that the people take.

a. You are old. This was true, Samuel would not be able to continue his ministry, and suitable replacements would be needed. Right observation

b. Your sons do not walk in your ways. This was true. His sons would not be good replacements for him. Right observation.

c. Now make us a king…like all the nations. The people had two good observations about the need for new leadership, but they came to a wrong conclusion.

d. Good observations don’t always lead to godly conclusions.

e. Proverbs 3:4, 5  Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; 6In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.

f. Samuel rightly prayed about this situation. He didn’t try to use human reason to solve this holy displeasure and concern, but he asked God for direction.

g. Example: A church has a pastor who makes carnal decisions that hurt the church. To remedy the situation, the church decides that they will never again allow a pastor to lead them, but that they will become a church which practices congregational voting. That is not the N.T. model for the church. The church was never intended to be a democracy, but a theocracy as God would lead through a man or group of men. Instead, that church should remove the pastor, and pray for a new pastor and follow the Biblical model.

4. V. 7. Here we have the answer regarding Samuel’s displeasure.

a. By asking for a King, they were rejecting God’s leadership over them thru a Priest.

b. Samuel is also being told that they are not rejecting him, but God.

c. When people reject us, it is often b/c they are rejecting God. Don’t take it personally.

d. Israel was acting prophetically: They would later reject Jesus and claim, “We have no King but Caesar.” When we reject God’s messengers, we reject God.

e. God answered their request with a “yes”, but it was a “yes” of discipline.

5. V. 8 God told Samuel that this has been their pattern since they were rescued from Egypt. God often referred back to Egypt when speaking of His own faithfulness and their unfaithfulness.

C. God’s Warning To Israel About Wanting A King Vs. 9-21

1. V. 9 God will sometimes give us what we want, but He will warn us about the consequences. God warned them specifically about what Saul would end up doing.

a. Guzik- Israel forsook God by asking for a king. When the elders of Israel asked for a king, they thought that better politics or government could meet their needs. But if they had just been faithful to their King in heaven, they would not need a king on earth.

2. Vs. 10-18 The people were warned against the idea of choosing a King.

a. They were forewarned regarding the consequences of such a decision.

b. Six times God said that the King they chose for themselves would take from them.

c. Not every king is a “taking” king. The King of Kings is a giving king.

d. “The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve”. Matthew 10:28

e. They were told that they would eventually resent that decision, and that they would cry out to the Lord about it. God warned them that He would not listen to them in that day. God warns us what ungodly consequences will come to us.

3. Vs. 19-20 The phrase that revealed their hearts-that we also may be like all the nations.

a. God’s people are not called to be like the nations, but to be different in their values and in their actions. They are to think Biblically, not culturally or pragmatically.

b. Some Christians seem to prefer a charismatic, exciting preacher over a biblical one, or an exciting church service instead of a godly one. They will choose to follow leaders who will grant these things to them. In essence, they do what Israel was asking for.

c. Without understanding it, some Believers want their spiritual life to be like the world.

d. 2 Corinthians 6:14-18 14Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? 15And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? 16And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will dwell in them and walk among them. I will be their God, and they shall be My people.” 17Therefore “Come out from among them and be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, And I will receive you.” 18 “I will be a Father to you, and you shall be My sons and daughters, Says the Lord Almighty.”

4. Vs. 21, 22. God gives His warning, but will allow His people to have their own way.

a. Guzik– Often times, God’s discipline of His people is shown in the way that He lets us have exactly what we want, even when it isn’t the best for us.

b. None of us has to accept God decisions, but we cannot escape the consequences of rejecting His will and choosing our own will.