"Give us a king to lead us..."
(1 Samuel 8: 6a)
Throughout history, we human beings have pursued leaders who looked the part, and gave us the hope that they could deliver our ideal social environment. Each culture, generation and group has had it's own criteria for choosing a particular leader. But we only have to read the Book of Judges to get a reality check. We are dealing with humans here and humans are flawed. Jesus is the only leader who did everything right.
Some leaders, though clearly flawed, have carried out their leadership responsibilities with distinction while others have been bitterly disappointing. Today our nation cries out for a leader, just as Israel did. At the time, Israel was dissatisfied with the way things were; they longed for something different. It's no different today, many are crying out for something new, because they are dissatisfied with the status quo. While many seek change because of their rage at the way things are, believers must be sober minded, humble and prayerful.
When the Israelites cried out for a leader in 1 Samuel 8, they wanted none other than Saul, who to them must have seemed like a tough and seasoned warrior. They would not listen to the counsel of Samuel, the prophet. In the end, God relented and granted them "their" king. No sooner had Saul taken leadership than they realized their terrible error as he began to flout God's rules. We find them repenting of their choice of Saul in 1 Samuel 12:19.
The children of Israel made a terrible mistake by leaving God out of their decision making process. They looked on the outside and hoped that their choice of leader would carry the necessary anointing, but the Bible teaches us that God looks on the inside and then equips the leader to lead (1 Samuel 16:7). The elections of Saul and David as King, are good examples of the difference between the human and divine perspectives. One looked kingly, but wasn't suitable to lead, the other looked like a mere youth, but turned out to be God's chosen.
I believe that we are living in critical days when the decisions we make as believers will matter more then ever. The choices we make will have lasting repercussions on our children and our grandchildren. God has called the Church for such a time as this in the history of our nation. His word reminds us, “if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land (2 Chronicles 7:14)
Our loving Father wants us to humbly seek his face today, not just about a future leader for our nation, but about every important decision we will face today. Only he is able to deliver what we really need, for he alone is Sovereign. As the children of Israel discovered, we can trust in his judgment; we can trust in his care.
Our Father in Heaven, you are Sovereign over the affairs of humanity. You know all and you see all. Today, we pray for a leader to lead us. Today we surrender every important decision in our lives to you. Align our wills to your will so that we might choose wisely and carefully. We thank you for our nation and ask that you will help us to be good stewards of all the blessings you have bestowed upon us. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen.