THE SERVANT GENERAL
THE WAY FORWARD IN CHRIST
TRUSTING ONLY IN GOD
1 Samuel 8:4-22
How dumb or blinded can the people of God be? The Israelites
wanted a king over them just like all the other nations around
them (1 Sm 8:5). Since God had taken care of them since they
left Egypt, through dire situations, providing miraculously
many times, “Samuel was displeased when they said, ‘Give
us a king to rule us.’” (1 Sm 8:6). Why was that?
Well, God Himself explained. “You are not the one they
are rejecting. They are rejecting me as their king.”
(1 Sm 8:7b). In fact, God says this is how they have been
acting from the very start! “They are acting toward
you just as they have acted from the day I brought them up
from Egypt to this very day, deserting me to serve other gods.”
(1 Sm 8:8). We can see that God has been very patient, tolerant
at this point, with their proven track record of infidelity
and idolatry, God wants to save them from their folly. He
tells them through Samuel how a king would govern them (1
Sm 8:11-17a). In other words, “you will become his slaves.”
(1 Sm 8:17b). Even then, they insisted.
me of when James and John, with their mother, asked Jesus
for places of honor at his right and his left. Jesus said,
“Can you drink the cup I will drink?” Now because
they were dumb or blinded or just ambitious for glory, they
said “yes”! Of course when the crunch came, they
fled when Jesus was arrested, and Peter denied him three times.
insisting on a human king when they had God to rule over them,
in salivating for places of glory when Jesus intended them
to be servants, they were rejecting or abandoning God’s
way and God’s wisdom. How about us? How often do we
see how people in the world are doing things, and seeing them
successful at it, that we want to copy them? We look to become
corporate or legalistic, we look to money before mission rather
than the other way around, we blow our own trumpets about
successes, we wield human rather than spiritual weapons, we
consider as rebuke what is actually encouragement, and so
on. So the Israelites insisted: “We too must be like
all the nations, with a king to rule us, lead us in warfare,
and fight our battles.” (1 Sm 8:20).
rather should be our posture? Trust only in God! Spiritual
warfare? “Blessed the people who know the war cry, who
walk in the radiance of your face, Lord.” (Ps 89:16).
Facing daunting challenges? “In your name they sing
joyfully all the day; they rejoice in your righteousness.”
(Ps 89:17). Experiencing setbacks? “You are their majestic
strength; by your favor our horn is exalted.” (Ps 89:18).
Being assaulted from all sides? “Truly the Lord is our
shield, the Holy One of Israel, our king!” (Ps 89:19).
should be our posture? Have faith only in God, and be persistent
in that faith! We look at the incident of the healing of the
paralytic. The place where Jesus was teaching was jam-packed
and there was no room, even just outside the door (Mk 2:2).
Did the four men carrying the paralytic give up? No. Rather,
they were persistent and even became more audacious. “They
opened up the roof above him” (Mk 2:4)! Imagine the
scene. Pieces of roofing material were dropping on the floor
just beside Jesus. They were causing a great disturbance.
People were looking at them and getting distracted. Was Jesus
offended? No. “When Jesus saw their faith, he said to
the paralytic, ‘Child, your sins are forgiven.’”
(Mk 2:5). Mission accomplished!
New Evangelization can only happen as we have greater trust
and faith in Jesus, as we look to his miraculous interventions
in our lives and service, as we reject the wisdom of the world.
Let not Jesus our King say of us in our hardheartedness, “Listen
to them! Appoint a king to rule over them.” (1 Sm 8:22a).
That would be disastrous. Rather, let us move ahead with boldness
and zeal, with complete confidence and trust in the God who
leads us into battle and wins victories for us. What can we
expect to happen? “They were all astounded and glorified
God, saying, ‘We have never seen anything like this.’”