Links Daily Devotional

Getting What We Want

The Lord answered, “Listen to them and give them a king.” (1 Samuel 8:22, NIV)

When you were a child, your mother likely encouraged you to eat everything on your plate, encouraging you to try new things. Sometimes this paid off. The new taste was delicious. But other times, you were left with a mouthful of uh-oh, and spitting it out was never a proper option.

As you grew older, you made more of your own choices, some with more daring, some with less. At times, the results were great—a true blessing. But not always. Sometimes, what looked so good turned out to be quite bad.

It’s hard, when you’re only human, to nail all these risk-reward decisions we face.

In the Old Testament, we are given two prominent examples of God’s people making a case for something they desperately wanted. God responded by showing them with rather ugly consequences that this was not what they needed.

The first example comes from the years in the wilderness when God was supplying the people their daily nutrition in the form of manna. It was, a dietician might say today, “the perfect food.” It was tasty, easy to eat, and supplied the nutrients the people needed. But they grew tired of this one-note provision and pleaded for meat. So God gave them what they asked for—in stunning abundance. The quail piled up, three feet high, “as far as a day’s walk in any direction.” And then the Lord struck the people with a plague for their insolence. It was not Israel’s finest hour.

But Israel, like all peoples of the earth, did not hold well to the lessons of history. So, in Samuel’s time, they arose together again, bringing forth another “better idea.” They assembled before the prophet-judge and said, “Give us a king.” Again God balked, recognizing in their request a rejection of his own rule. But he gave them what they wanted, a king to lead them in the best of his human ability. That king was Saul, and though his reign began promisingly enough, he soon chose his own counsel over that of Samuel and that of God. His choices cost the people many lives, as did the choices of so many kings that followed him.

Getting what we want, you see, is not all it promises to be. We live a far smarter life when we seek the will of the Lord.

When you open the pages of Scripture, when you go to your knees in prayer, when you sit under the instruction and counsel of godly leaders, ask the Lord, “What are trying to show me, Father, for the course of my own life? I want to do what you would have me do, and be blessed as you would have me blessed.”

Jeff Hopper
February 16, 2015
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