But when they said, "Give us a king to lead us," this displeased Samuel; so he prayed to the LORD. And the LORD told him: "Listen to all that the people are saying to you; it is not you they have rejected, but they have rejected me as their king. (1 Samuel 8:6-7 NIV)
The Israelites wanted a king. Other nations had a king. Yes, Samuel had led them well, but his sons weren’t going to get the job done. So, it made sense to ask for a king. The problem with this approach is that they weren’t recognizing what was happening. Samuel was leading, yes, but the LORD was King. Samuel was just a really good conduit of God’s instructions. God was really their king.
As they have done from the day I brought them up out of Egypt until this day, forsaking me and serving other gods, so they are doing to you. Now listen to them; but warn them solemnly and let them know what the king who will reign over them will claim as his rights." (1 Samuel 8:8-9 NIV)
We face the same struggle. We look to leaders of our government, the businesses where we work, and even our churches as “king.” We can see them, so we look to them as our true leader. When we do this, though, we try to have multiple kings and that just does not work. Jesus said it this way:
"No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other… (Matthew 6:24 NIV)
How about you? Do you try to serve multiple “kings”? Do you have two (or more) masters? Which master do you love?