“But the people refused to obey the voice of Samuel. And they said, ‘No! But there shall be a king over us, that we also may be like all the nations, and that our king may judge us and go out before us and fight our battles.’”
1 Samuel 8:19-20
Israel demanded a king. A king like all the other nations. The nation of Israel had been set up with God as their King, the Ruler who would go before them and fight their battles, the One whose counsel they would seek. But they weren’t satisfied with this.
They insisted on a human leader.
Contemplating this, I can see reflections of myself in their reasoning.
It’s easier, isn’t it, to follow guidance from someone we can physically talk with, someone we can audibly hear? To follow someone we can see going before us, a tangible figure helping to fight our battles, maybe one who will even explain to us the details of their plan?
We feel a sense of security in that. And those around us can probably better understand our decisions.
But our God is real.
He is powerful.
He is wise.
He is active here, in our circumstances.
He speaks clearly to you, to me, to each one of His own. Because He created us in the first place and knows how we each hear Him. But we have to be listening. We have to pay attention and be humble enough to lay down our own expectations and plans. We need to be communicating with Him, making time to spend just with Him studying His Word, opening our heart and choosing to trust Him.
This relationship needs to be one we continually invest in, all the time – not just when we have a big decision or considerable difficulty in front of us. It is through this that His Spirit, His voice, will become unquestionably recognizable and we will be able to hear when He tells us, “This is the way, walk in it” (Isaiah 30:21).
“For the LORD will go before you, and the God of Israel will be your rear guard” (Isaiah 52:12). In ways much greater and more effective, God goes before you. You will not walk this path alone. He goes before you to clear the way, to get things ready. To break down walls and high places. And He trains you to join Him in the fight. “He trains my hands for war, so that my arms can bend a bow of bronze” (Psalm 18:34).
It is in those times spent with God, studying His Word, growing in faith and strength, that He is preparing you for the battles to come. He will fight for you (Exodus 14:14), but He is also able to fill you with His strength to join with Him.
We are vastly mistaken if we feel more security in a human leader than in the God who reigns over all. No man or woman is able to accomplish what God will do when we choose to look to Him and trust Him to come through for us in glorious power and majesty.
God may speak through people to give affirmation and encouragement, He can use others to join us in the fight as well, but they are not our security – He is. He is the One to whom we look. The One who equips, empowers, goes before us, fights for us, and never lets us down.
“And without faith it is impossible to please him,
for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.”