(Rev 3:11) Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown.
(1 Cor 10:12) Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.
Both of these warnings were given to Christians. People who were members of local New Testament churches. They were given as warnings against losing our rewards, failing in our Christian life, and suffering the consequences of that failure. In the Old Testament, God has given us examples to teach us concerning our walk as believers. One such example is found in the book of 1 Samuel. Here the life of Saul is recorded for our benefit. Saul, the first king of Israel, is a study in contrasts. Saul began his reign in victory, and he ended it in humiliating defeat. He lost his character, his power and, ultimately, his crown and his life. King Saul stands as a warning to all of us that no matter what our station in life may be, we cannot rebel against God and get away with it. What a tragedy it is to fall and to lose your crown!
Note: 1 Sam. 8:1-7
I. The Cry for a King.
A. Human Reasons
1. There was internal division.
(Judg 21:25) In those days there was no king in Israel: every man did that which was right in his own eyes.
a. At this time in history, the nation of Israel was not really much of a "nation."
1) It was more like a loose confeder-ation of tribes.
2) The tabernacle held them together, as did the prophets and judges; but there was really very little unity.
3) This was dangerous because, when the enemy attacks, you need to be united.
4) Now, remember we are talking about human reasons for their request.
5) God was their 'King', but they were not in obedience to Him.
6) "…Every man did what was right in his own eyes."
b. The people wanted a king, but for the wrong reason.
c. They wanted a king because all the other nations around them had kings.
2. There was external danger.
(1 Sam 12:12) And when ye saw that Nahash the king of the children of Ammon came against you, ye said unto me, Nay; but a king shall reign over us: when the LORD your God was your king.
a. The Ammonites were about to attack.
b. The Philistines also presented a danger to the tribes.
c. They were unable to unite and fight against their enemies.
d. The leaders saw the need for a king.
3. A third reason they wanted a king was because of leadership decay.
a. Samuel's sons were not walking in the way of their father (8:1-5).
b. They were accepting bribes and perverting justice, and their only purpose in serving was to make money.
c. This tragedy also happened with Eli's sons, Hophni and Phineas. (2:12-3:18).
d. One of our greatest obligations as Christians is to raise our children to know the Lord.
e. No matter what we may do for the Lord, if we lose our own children, what have we gained?
f. The nation faced external danger, internal division, and leadership decay.
B. Divine Reasons
1. Besides the human reasons for wanting a king, God had His own purposes for giving the Israelites a king.
2. God, who sees the heart, always knows what the true motive is.
3. The basic reason for their request was spiritual decline of the people.
4. The people were acting in fear and unbelief.
5. They wanted to imitate the other nations.
a. When the other nations went to war, their king guided them.
b. When the nations had their council, the king led them.
c. The Israelites forgot that they were not to be like other nations.
(Num 23:9) For from the top of the rocks I see him, and from the hills I behold him: lo, the people shall dwell alone, and shall not be reckoned among the nations.
d. Israel's distinction was that it was not to be like the other nations but was to be separated from them and different from them.
e. The Israelites rejected God the Father in the days of Samuel; they rejected God the Son in the days of our Lord Jesus Christ; and they rejected God the Holy Spirit in the days of the apostles.
f. Israel had the Almighty God as their King and Defender, and yet they wanted a substitute!
g. This was their spiritual decline; they did not trust God to protect them.
6. Another reason why God allowed them to have a king was for divine discipline.
a. God gave them what they asked for, and they lived to regret it.
b. God responded to their needs out of compassion, but He also responded in discipline.
c. God was compassionate, but He was also concerned because they were rejecting His leadership.
d. He was not caught off guard but was well aware of their true motives.
e. In giving the Israelites a king, God was actually disciplining them.
f. Samuel warned the nation that their king would make difficult demands on them (I Sam. 8), but they insisted that God give them a king.
g. God used that king to discipline them. He gave them their request to teach them not to trust in man but to trust in Him.
(Mat 6:33) But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.