God had offered the Israelites blessing upon blessing if they just followed him. And they would . . . for a short while. And then they would reject him. He wanted to be their King and take care of them, but they kept walking away from him.
I can relate to this.
I could give you a million examples from my teens and early 20s, but even now in my 40s (when I am reading my Bible every day and should be more mature) I reject God regularly. I put idols above him. I disobey him.
God’s number one command is to love him with all my heart. And second to love others. If you were a fly on the wall in my house some days, observing how I spend my time, you’d think my greatest loves were Facebook, being exasperated with my kids, Word Cookies, and my career and budget.
God had offered the Israel – his chosen people – a life of peace and blessings. But they chose something else. They wanted another king. A human king. They wanted to fit in with other nations who had “real” kings. They came to the prophet Samuel and asked him to find them a king. Samuel was personally offended, but when he came to God, God said:
“Listen to all that the people are saying to you; it is not you they have rejected, but they have rejected me as their king.” 1 Samuel 8:7 NIV
How many times have I done the same thing? Put someone or something on a pedestal. How often have I made it my main focus, instead of Jesus?
But the wonderful thing is, even though Israel strayed from God over and over, when they repented and turned back, God was right there waiting. Still loving them. Still protecting them. Showing mercy and grace.
And he does the same thing for me and for you.
Prayer: Dear God, Please show me areas of my life where I have put people or things above you. And help me to always put you first.