Warning concerning a King
10 So Samuel spoke all the words of the Lord to the people who had asked of him a king. 11 He said, “This will be the [d]procedure of the king who will reign over you: he will take your sons and place them for himself in his chariots and among his horsemen and they will run before his chariots. 12 He will appoint for himself commanders of thousands and of fifties, and some to [e]do his plowing and to reap his harvest and to make his weapons of war and equipment for his chariots. 13 He will also take your daughters for perfumers and cooks and bakers. 14 He will take the best of your fields and your vineyards and your olive groves and give them to his servants. 15 He will take a tenth of your seed and of your vineyards and give to his officers and to his servants. 16 He will also take your male servants and your female servants and your best young men and your donkeys and [f]use them for his work. 17 He will take a tenth of your flocks, and you yourselves will become his servants. 18 Then you will cry out in that day because of your king whom you have chosen for yourselves, but the Lord will not answer you in that day.”
19 Nevertheless, the people refused to listen to the voice of Samuel, and they said, “No, but there shall be a king over us, 20 that we also may be like all the nations, that our king may judge us and go out before us and fight our battles.” 21 Now after Samuel had heard all the words of the people, he repeated them in the Lord’s hearing. 22 The Lord said to Samuel, “Listen to their voice and [g]appoint them a king.” So Samuel said to the men of Israel, “Go every man to his city.”
So after all that, the people pretty much said “yeah, maybe, but we don’t believe you…” The people of Israel were supposed to be holy, set apart, different because they served God. Instead, they wanted to be just like the other nations who had kings.
Samuel tried to tell them what a king was really like, and he was really quite generous about it. He could have told them about the really bad kings, ones who would sacrifice children to false gods, and murder the prophets of God (as some would do in future generations. But it is unlikely they would have believed him anyway.
They wanted to be like everyone else, and while you don’t hear many clamoring for kings (though many will throng the streets at coronations), peer pressure is alive and well in our modern society.
We don’t like to be different, because different is bad. In a day that celebrates diversity, what popular culture really pushes is for everyone to have the same mediocre moral code.
Don’t be like everyone else, dare to be unusual, even strange, in the eyes of the masses. Don’t conform, be transformed, let God renew your mind, and make you more than average, more than “just good enough”, more than you ever thought you could be.