1 Samuel 8
The nation of Israel had always been different than their neighbors. All the neighboring countries were rule by kings, but the people of Israel have been led by judges. Unlike kings, judges advised the people what God wanted them to do. Ruling kings typically did and took what they wanted. However, as Samuel aged his sons began to help with the judging of Israel and they were not honest and holy like their father. Unfortunately the leaders began begging Samuel to give them a king so they would be like their neighbors.
Samuel was saddened by this and prayed to God for wisdom. God told him to grant the people’s wish. God explained that the people were not rejecting Samuel but God. In their unique system, God was the true king and the judges worked for Him, but the people were rejecting this and ultimately rejecting God’s leadership. The Israelites thought they wanted true human leadership like their neighbors. Samuel was instructed to remind the people how a king would behave. Routinely kings forced people to be in armies, pay a portion of their crop and surrender any goods the king felt he needed. Samuel warned that God would not listen to their cries about the unfair king if they chose to have one, but the people were certain they wanted to be like everyone else. God told Samuel to listen to them and select a king.
Do you ever act like the people of Israel? Do you ever give into peer-pressure to be like everyone else even when godly people tell you it is a bad idea? How does it turn out? As the children of Israel eventually find out, being like everyone else doesn’t go well if it is against God’s plan. Their neighbors aren’t really better off, it just looks that way. We need to keep our eyes on God’s plan and resist the temptation of peer-pressure!
If you can find it, get the jelly bean game where each color can be something tasty or something gross. You don’t know till you try it. Play the game and remind your kids that things aren’t always as good as they appear. (You could also bake a batch of brownies with something added that your family doesn’t like, maybe coconut, walnuts, some cayenne pepper or an herb that is typically savory like oregano or garlic to get the same effect.)