At the conclusion of the period of the Judges, God’s people begged for a king. God in His infinite wisdom knew that would not work out well for them. God told Samuel to listen to and give in to this ill-advised request from the people. God revealed to Samuel what the outcome of giving them a king would be. God instructed Samuel to warn the people. After hearing the warning, the people said to Samuel that they would not give up until he gave them a king, so they could be like all the nations around them. The people refused to listen, and God gave them the king they desired.
In 1 Samuel 8, echoing the warning of Deuteronomy 17, Samuel predicted that the king would tax them heavily, force their sons into his army, and force their daughters into serving in his palace. Samuel also correctly predicted that the king would take the best of their crops, flocks, and servants to serve him and his army officers. Samuel correctly pointed out that they would cry out to God because they themselves would become servants of the king. Many of these predictions would come true under Saul, the first king. Some would come true under later kings, but all would eventually come true.
If we consider, as many people do, that installing a human king over ourselves is symbolic of our sinful rebellion against “The King”, then we should certainly remember God telling His people that they ought to have no king but Him. We also should be able to easily see how we make sin king over us and that this “king” will tax us heavily, take our children from us, and eventually enslave us. We should also see that often our reasoning is like that of the Israelites; we sin because we want to be like the people around us.
Saul disobeyed God and God told Samuel that He would take the kingdom from Saul and give it to another. King David’s anointing is well known. In 1 Samuel 16:1, God asked Samuel,
“How long will you grieve over Saul, since I have rejected him from being king over Israel? Fill your horn with oil and go; I will send you to Jesse the Bethlehemite, for I have selected a king for Myself among his sons." (NASU) Before a lost sinner can be saved, he must cease to mourn for the loss of his king, his sinful nature. He must become ready to accept King Jesus, the Son of David, as his rightful king.
I talk to a lot of people about salvation. Many are not ready to stop longing for their old king, their sin. Many think, some even say it, that they are not ready to give up the fleeting pleasures of sin yet. Their assessment is correct! That is why they are not delivered from slavery to sin; that is why sin still taxes them heavily; that is why their children become enslaved to this same master; that is why they are still on a path to eternal separation from God. Ironically enough, God’s next words to Samuel were for him to fill his horn with oil and be on his way. A horn full of oil symbolizes great joy. The repentant sinner finds joy and revolutionizes his life for the better if he will just leave his sin behind. Week after week, I look into the sad faces of people still clinging to their “king”. It is truly a heartbreaking tragedy. They could have their horn filled with joy and walk away from this rotten “king” at any time if they would only repent and believe.