This is one of the saddest chapters in the Bible. God’s people have rejected Him and asked instead for something that will not be to their benefit: a king. They have chosen to be like all the other nations, rather than to be unique and special — a nation with God as their King. God describes all the ways that a king will be to their detriment, but when they insist this is what they want, God gives them over to their desires.
I can recall times that I wanted something so much that I kept asking for it, over and over. God eventually provided it, but it didn’t turn out as I had hoped. Looking back after many years, I realize I wanted that thing more than I wanted God’s best for me. I had become fixated on that to the point that it was the object of my worship. My desire to follow God and seek His will paled in comparison to desire for my idol. Of course, gaining the object of my desire didn’t fulfill — false gods never live up to the hype. What a painful lesson!
But I thank God for what I learned so painfully. God is the only thing that satisfies. No matter what the ads say or your heart longs for, only a relationship with God brings the fulfillment we all seek.
At Christmas, we celebrate Emmanuel - which literally means “God with us.” God came down in the form of a baby to be with us, not only with humanity during his life, but with each one of us individually through His death and resurrection by the gift of His Spirit. We celebrate with gifts given to one another as a reminder of the great Gift God gave us all. But unlike when God acquiesced to the desire of Israel for a human king, God’s Gift to us was for Him to be our King.