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people trying to make a decision April 11 Chronological Bible Study

Timeline. Map. Go to today’s Bible reading: 1Samuel 8:1- 9:2

Wait! Count the Cost

We want something just because all our neighbors or friends seem to have one. So, should we go ahead and buy it no matter what sacrifices we will have to make? That is foolishness, but it is exactly what many of us do. We are not satisfied with the good things God has already given, and so we make the purchase of that much desired item. Afterwards, we find it does not make our lives any better, and in some cases it makes it worse. That is buyers remorse. Perhaps it is not a thing we desire but a new coach, manager, politician, pastor, or even a mate. The same principles apply. We must learn to count the cost of our decisions. It is best to wait on the LORD and not be hasty. God gives the best to those who wait on him.

In Samuel's day Israel had judges to lead them (for the chronology of the Judges go to more...). Judges were their moral and military leaders. Israel, however, wanted a king to lead them. What brought about Israel's desire to have a king? When Samuel was old, his sons perverted justice and did not walk in his ways (1Samuel 8:1-5; 12:12 ). Also, Nahash, king of the Ammonites, was on the verge of attacking their people. They wanted a king to lead them into battle like all the other nations around them.

Samuel was displeased by their request and even took this request as a personal affront (1Samuel 8:6-9). The LORD told Samuel that it was not him that the people were rejecting but the LORD. How did God feel about their rejection? If we could paraphrase God's feelings and his words, they might sound like this: “After all I have done for you - this is the thanks I get?”

Despite his feelings, the LORD said to give them a king anyway. Instead of punishing Israel, God reserved judgment. God allowed Israel to find out for themselves that reliance on a human king would not save them. He also allowed them to have a king so they would see their need for a true king who would not be a tyrant (David). Later, in fulfillment of Moses' prophecy (Deuteronomy 18:15) and the promise to King David (2Samuel 7:16), Jesus would be their king with an eternal reign (Isaiah 44:6; Zechariah 14:9; Revelation 1:5-6). Here is a lesson for us: Allowing those who are stubborn and who will not listen the opportunity to try and fail may be the only way they can learn.

What would be the dangers of having a king? First, he might not follow the LORD and could be a tyrant. His progeny might not be any better ruler than he is, so the influence of a bad king could last for many generations. Second, there is a danger in relying on the king and the strength of his military instead of relying on the LORD. Third, the king would exact heavy taxes and take the best of everything the people had. Fourth, the king could lead the people into sin and unholy alliances that would be the ruin of the nation. People, and especially Christians, should count the cost before running ahead with their plans.

Though God was displeased with their request for a king, with foresight he gave them directives to give them the best chance for success (Deuteronomy 17:14-20). He gave strict regulations so that each king would rely on the LORD so that his kingdom could endure.

Saul was the first king and was from the tribe of Benjamin. He was tall and impressive looking (1Samuel 9:1-2). Were these good characteristics of a king? The Israelites thought so, but that shows how immature and rebellious they were. If they had waited, God would have given them, as their first king, a man after His own heart (David). Unfortunately, they had to first suffer embarrassment. Will we trust in God or ourselves? Will we wait on God or run the risk of making poor choices and suffering embarrassment?

Lessons to live by:

•  We must learn to count the cost of our decisions.

•  It is best to wait on the LORD and not be hasty. God gives the best to those who wait on him.

•  Allowing those who are stubborn and who will not listen the opportunity to try and fail may be the only way some people can learn.

•  Pray and wait on God or run the risk of making poor choices and suffering embarrassment, loss or defeat.

•  On whom do we place our confidence, our hope - on man or God? God can give you forgiveness, peace, new spiritual life, and he will always be with you to help you (more...)

Today's Bible memory verse:

Psalm 33:20 “We wait in hope for the LORD; he is our help and our shield.” (NIV)

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