One of my favorite times in childhood was Christmas Eve. I remember squirming in bed, eager with the anticipation of the gifts that were sure to be beneath the tree the following morning. I dreamt up the drawing notebooks, the video games, the Spider-man gloves. I struggled to ease into sleep as I imagined the countless joys that awaited me.
Yet a mere 24-hours later, the scene was somewhat different. Trash bags were stuffed with the shreds of wrapping paper remnants left from my sisters and me, I likely fiddled mindlessly with a new toy, and the vast majority of the gifts were stacked in a corner in my bedroom. Given one more week, and the gifts of the season were all but forgotten in my mind.
Despite this recurring pattern, for years I faced the expectation that one of the gifts would forever change my life – that I would never want anything again. And for as much as I want to reduce this to the ignorance of youth, I simply can’t because I still do this. And my guess is that I’m not the only one.
Isn’t this, after all, what we see the Israelites doing in our passage in 1 Samuel? Despite the clear warnings from God, the Israelites continued to believe that a king was what they needed. Let’s pause a moment and recognize the utter arrogance of this. God had clearly warned them that a king would bring harm to them, yet still they desired for a fallible human to rule over them rather than God (just see verse 7 for that to be clear). They were saying, You know what, God, I know what You think, but let me tell You what is actually best for me. What arrogance and pride!
While we may never say so in such a blatant manner, isn’t this really what we are doing when we idolize things in our life? We’re looking to gifts for fulfillment rather than our abundantly loving and life-giving Father. How many of us have passed the time dreaming of what life will be like once we get that dream job (or promotion), make that pay grade, enter into that relationship, get our kids into a good college? And I think deep down we know the reality that these thing in and of themselves will simply never fulfill us. They will always let us down when they are the object of our worship.
So have you been desiring something more than you’ve been desiring God? If so, will you turn it over to God in whole-hearted obedience to Him? Or will you continue to feed the idol on the side? Will you listen to God in trust that He is the only thing that fulfills, or will you continue to ask God to give you a ‘king’ like the Israelites did? Will we walk in obedience today even when our deceitful hearts try to lead us elsewhere?
By: Logan West