12. “But when you were afraid of Nahash, the King of Ammon, you came to me and said that you wanted a king to reign over you, even though the LORD your God was already your King.
13. All right, here is the King you have chosen. You asked for him, and the LORD has granted your request.
1 Samuel 12: 12–13 NLT
Today’s Passage is the culmination of the Theme of this portion of The Story of Samuel. We’ve been discussing how the Children of Israel, God’s Chosen people, have rejected God, requesting that He no longer be their Ruler.
They have asked God for a King like their neighbors had, and God is Granting them their request. However, even in the same breath as God presents them with their request, He admonishes them about their decision.
There is an Essential Dynamic at work here that we would be foolish not to observe. That Dynamic is that sometimes God will allow us things that are not good for us, in the long run, to either appease us or teach us a lesson, sometimes both.
God knows what is best for us, but we have no clue what our optimal circumstances should be nor how to achieve them in most cases. Therefore, it would behoove us to rely on God’s Guidance in such situations. Yet how often do we find ourselves, when it is time to depend on Him, leaning to our own inadequate understanding?
I do my best to lean into God’s Guidance, but I still find that whenever it’s time to make a decision, I refuse to take the time actually to Listen to God’s Voice and instead pray my prayer and then charge in headfirst, never even taking the time to hear His Answer.
But God knows this about us and, in His Infinite Mercy, Provides for us what we need and, from time to time, even what we ask for, whether it’s good for us or not. Why? Because how else are we ever going to learn that we don’t know what’s best if we don’t fall flat on our faces after we take up the reins of our lives?
When you make the decisions and fail miserably, that Lesson lasts far longer than if God just gave you what you wanted to start with. Without your failure, you’d think your choices were what got you there when it was God’s Guidance all along. He does us a disservice by letting us believe we are wise enough to direct our own narratives.
So, when I read Today’s Passage and heard how harsh God’s words were toward His Chosen, it initially took me a little off guard. It was almost a smack in the face the way God spoke to the Israelites as he established Saul as their King, but consider who smacked whom first?
Yes, God’s words to the Israelites were pointed and direct, but He was tired of pulling punches. He’d already warned them repeatedly about their decisions and where they would lead them without Him at the helm, and they ignored Him. Now they are getting what they asked for, and God, in no uncertain terms, is telling them they messed up!
In Verse 13, when God said, “Now therefore behold the king whom ye have chosen, and whom ye have desired!” there is an exclamation point at the end of that statement for a reason. God is yelling at His people! He needs them to understand their mistake even as He makes them lie in the bed they built.
Today’s Lesson is that God’s Permissive Will does not necessarily attribute His favor. Let me say that again. Just because God gives you what you ask for doesn’t indicate your choices are sound. Only when we rely on His Guidance can we be assured we are going in the Right Direction. That is what God is trying to Teach the Israelites in Today’s Passage.
Unfortunately for them, they’ve already made their poor choice, and the consequences are forthcoming. That’s how life works. God doesn’t bail you out of your sin. He forgives you of them, but there are often still effects to contend with.
He may forget our sins once we confess and repent, but that doesn’t erase the results. A murderer who confesses still has to do his time. God doesn’t absolve us of Consequences, just Guilt and the resulting Death that sin requires.
Today’s Lesson is that God Teaches us through Love. It’s just that we’re so hard-headed, sometimes that Love has to be Tough Love. He uses the appropriate pressure for the task at hand. If you’re inflexible and headstrong, with your head in the clouds, it may take a bit more gravity to bring you back down to Earth. But that’s on you, not Him.
Have a Wonderful Wednesday, And Remember, God Loves You Too Much To Ignore Your Mistakes. Listen Close So He Doesn’t Have To Raise His Voice To Get Your Attention!