Over the last few weeks, we’ve seen Samuel become a good prophet and judge for Israel. He led Israel well and turned the hearts of the people back to the LORD. Like all of us, however, he could not do this forever. He was human.
When Samuel grew old, he appointed his sons as Israel's leaders. The name of his firstborn was Joel and the name of his second was Abijah, and they served at Beersheba (1 Samuel 8:1-2 NIV)
It makes sense that his position of leadership would be passed down from generation to generation. Samuel walked with God and helped others do the same. His children, then, would know how to walk with God and help others do the same as well. Knowing, however, is different from doing.
But his sons did not follow his ways. They turned aside after dishonest gain and accepted bribes and perverted justice. So all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah. They said to him, "You are old, and your sons do not follow your ways; now appoint a king to lead us, such as all the other nations have." (1 Samuel 8:3-5 NIV)
The elders of Israel did well. They recognized that Samuel’s sons were not qualified to be Godly leaders. Heritage was not enough. Leadership of God’s people starts with leadership of self. The leader needs to walk together with God. Samuel’s boys did not.
The elders of Israel did not do well. Rather than asking the LORD for God’s next representative to replace Samuel, they looked at the pattern of the nations around them. They asked for a king. The problem with this request was that they already had a King: the LORD. Now, they were asking to split their allegiance. They were asking for a second king.
How about you? Do you have two kings in your life? Do you have more? Is God one of them? What is it like to follow two kings?