We tend to think of God’s amazing grace in terms of His redemptive work in the incarnation, sacrifice, and resurrection, and rightly so! However, if God is the same yesterday, today, and forever, then we will see the character of His grace in all our glimpses of the Father. There are times when we see His wrath, but even in those times, His grace is always evident.
Look at 1 Samuel 8:6-9:
6 But the thing displeased Samuel when they said, “Give us a king to judge us.” So Samuel prayed to the Lord. 7 And the Lord said to Samuel, “Heed the voice of the people in all that they say to you; for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me, that I should not reign over them. 8 According to all the works which they have done since the day that I brought them up out of Egypt, even to this day—with which they have forsaken Me and served other gods—so they are doing to you also. 9 Now therefore, heed their voice. However, you shall solemnly forewarn them, and show them the behavior of the king who will reign over them.”
Israel, once again, was crying out to be like the rest of the world, “We want a king! We want a king!” The irony in all this is they had a king, the King of kings, Lord or lords, the Creator of all that is, the great I AM! They were called (through Abraham) some 600+ years before to be different from the rest of the world, to follow and trust in the God of the universe, to be God’s chosen people. Once again, their vision didn’t go much farther than the nose on their face. They wanted an earthly king, someone they could see in physical form. It wasn’t enough that God sent judges after Moses and Joshua to lead them when they needed it. It wasn’t enough that they had been redeemed from bondage numerous times, all of them by His grace. Still, they wanted to be like the other nations. They wanted a king.
Like a parent that allows his children to learn by experience, God permitted their request, but gave them a warning. Paraphrased it was something like this, “I will give you a king if you really, really are sure you want that, but he won’t be all you have him built up to be. In fact, it will be like you are slaves to him. You will end up giving him a tenth of you income, harvest, wine, livestock, etc… Oh, and by the way, you still need to give Me a tenth.” Hind sight is always 20/20, and I can see how ridiculous that all sounds now, but I admit I probably would have been right there with them saying “OK, I got it. I still want a king,” because my vision often doesn’t go much past my own nose.
So here is the “amazing grace” part of this story, God is being rejected by His chosen people, yet again, and still His compassion is directed outwards, towards Samuel. Samuel is truly stressed over Israel’s plea for a king. I can just imaging the anguish he must have felt wondering how he could bring this request before a Holy God who has, time-and-again, demonstrated his sovereign reign in love over His people, His nation. When Samuel finally does bring this request before God, God’s concern is for Samuel’s emotional health:
“… for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me, that I should not reign over them…”
He is reassuring Samuel that he has not done anything wrong. It is not Samuel they are rejecting, it is the God that brought them out of Egypt, out of bondage, and set them apart for a holy purpose.
Thank You God for seeing beyond our childish desires, for seeing the promise that we ourselves fail to see. Thank You for Your amazing grace that is evident in all Your ways. Lord, grant us sight beyond the end of our noses. Help us to see who we are in Your amazing grace so we can be satisfied in You alone and finally shout out, “You are my king!”
In Jesus Name.