By Henry Mahan
1 Samuel 8:1-22
Samuel, Hannah's son (whose name means 'asked of God'), remained with Eli, the priest and prophet of God, and ministered unto the Lord before Eli (1 Sam. 2:11; 1 Sam. 3:1). Eli was quite old and had failed to discipline his sons; therefore, God slew them (1 Sam. 3:10-14). Samuel became God's prophet and judge in Israel (1 Sam. 3:19-21). Samuel was a faithful prophet of God all the days of his life (1 Sam. 7:15-17). When he was old, Samuel made his sons judges over Israel; but, like Eli's sons, they perverted judgment, took bribes, and displeased the Lord (1 Sam. 8:1-3). The elders of Israel came to Samuel and requested that he establish a KING over Israel, like the nations about them (1 Sam. 8:4-5).
This matter had risen before during the days of Gideon (Judges 8:22-23); and Gideon had wisely replied to their request, 'I will not rule over you, neither shall my son rule over you; the Lord shall rule over you.' The people of God have no king but Jesus Christ, the Lord (Matt. 23:8-11). Christ is King of kings and Lord of lords (Acts 2:36; Rom. 10:9-10; Phil. 2:9-11).
The request of the elders displeased Samuel, and he knew it to be evil. But he took the matter to the Lord in prayer, and the Lord revealed what was really behind their request. 'They have not rejected you, Samuel, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them' (1 Sam. 8:6-8).
Thomas, the disciple, summed up the faith and submission of all believers when he said, 'My Lord and my God.' Christ is our King by the Father's design and decree; he is our King by his death (He died that he might be Lord of the dead and the living); and he is our King, by our submission. It is his crown rights that men refuse to own. 'We will not have this man to reign over us' (John 19:15). He was delivered to Pilate, charged with saying, 'He himself is Christ a King' (Luke 23:1-2). The soldiers mocked him as 'King of the Jews' (John 19:1-3). Over his head, nailed to the cross, was the charge against him, 'Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews' (John 19:19). And it is as prophet, priest, and KING that believers recognize, receive, and bow to the Lord Jesus, not just as 'personal Saviour.' There are those in modern religion who talk of accepting Jesus as their Saviour but not as their Lord. This is an impossibility! One knows nothing of the saving mercy and merits of Christ who does not bow to Christ, the Lord! Israel was glad to receive God's blessings, but not his reign! They never refused his benefits, but they refused his sceptre! One noted evangelist often said, 'Christ will be Lord of all or not Lord at all.' Christ said to his disciples, 'Ye call me master and Lord; and ye say well; for so I am' (John 13:13). Redemption is the enthronement of Christ in the heart. A man cannot serve two masters. Our Lord demands total submission and surrender to his Lordship of those who would be his disciples (Matt. 10: 34-39).
The Lord told Samuel to tell the people what to expect when they reject his reign and make a man to be king over them (1 Sam. 8:9-18). But the blind and foolish people only cried out the more, 'Nay. but we will have a king, over us' (1 Sam. 8:19-20).
Samuel heard their words and rehearsed them in the ears of the Lord, and the Lord said, 'Make them a king' (1 Sam. 8:21-22; 1 Sam. 10:18-19).
The first order of business of the new king, Saul, after he had reigned but two years, was to usurp the authority of the priest, reject God's way of atonement, and offer a sacrifice himself to God (1 Sam. 13:1, 8-14). The people reject Christ the King, and then Christ the Priest and sacrifice.