Gotta Have It!

Bible Reading: 1 Samuel 8; 9; 10; 11; 12

"But when they said, 'Give us a king to lead us,' this displeased Samuel; so he prayed to the Lord. And the Lord told him: '…it is not you they have rejected, but they have rejected me as their king…. Now listen to them; but warn them solemnly and let them know what the king who will reign over them will do'" (8:6-8). Samuel warned them of the hardships that would come from a king. "But the people refused to listen to Samuel. 'No!' they said. 'We want a king over us. Then we will be like all the other nations, with a king to lead us and to go out before us and fight our battles.' When Samuel heard all that the people said, he repeated it before the Lord. The Lord answered, 'Listen to them and give them a king'" (8:19-22).

Sometimes we want something so much that we are convinced we must have it in order to be happy. God may try to warn us that the desired thing will bring hardship, whether financially, emotionally, or physically. We ignore the hardships it might create, however, and set our hearts on getting it. The Israelites wanted a king to lead them and fight their battles, and yet God had always led them and fought their battles for them as long as they remained faithful and obedient to him. God was the best king they could have, but they wanted to be like their neighbors. God wants our contentment to be rooted in him, trusting him to provide what's best for us. But we often think contentment will come from something or someone else and we continue to pursue and plead for the thing we must have. Then sometimes God gives it to us. At first we're elated. But the thrill doesn't last long, and we find that life is harder because of the "thing". "When that day comes, you will cry out for relief from the king you have chosen, and the Lord will not answer you in that day" (8:18).

Lord, place your desires in my heart so that I desire only what you want for me. Don't always give me what I want; instead, help me to want what you give me. Reveal to me when I am rejecting you and your plan for me by pursuing something that's contrary to your will. When I think I need something in order to make me happy, remind me that you already know all my needs and will daily supply them if I will live for you and make your kingdom my primary concern (Mt. 6:32-33 NLT). You'll provide the means for happiness; I don't need to strain for it. I surrender my desires to you. Let me look for joy in your word, not in observing what others have. Don't let me become obsessed with the pursuit of happiness from anything but you. Teach me to trust you absolutely as I find safety, fulfillment and contentment in your kingship over my life.

"God, the one and only--I'll wait as long as he says. Everything I hope for comes from him, so why not? He's solid rock under my feet, breathing room for my soul, an impregnable castle: I'm set for life. My help and glory are in God--granite-strength and safe-harbor-God--So trust him absolutely, people; lay your lives on the line for him. God is a safe place to be." (Ps. 62:5-8 Msg)