But the people refused to listen to Samuel. “No!” they said. “We want a king over us. Then we will be like all the other nations, with a king to lead us and to go out before us and fight our battles.” – 1 Sam. 8:19-20
Have you ever watched a movie for a second or third time, only to hope that it ends differently? Maybe a character who made a poor choice would change his mind this time around? I feel this way whenever I read 1 Samuel 8 – the chapter where Israel asks for a king. They don’t just ask; they stubbornly insist on having one. Why couldn’t the Israelites have listened to Samuel, who assured them this was a bad idea?
No, Israel wanted to be “just like everyone else,” as a 4th grader might say. After all, your child’s friends have cell phones, so what harm could it cause if he has one too?
It is ironic that the more original and creative we try to be, the more we end up like everyone else (this isn’t always the case, but often it is). For instance, a high school girl who shuns pop culture by joining the so-called “Goth subculture” usually finds herself with a group of 15-20 other students with the same “independent” interests. You see the irony there, no?
The verse that initially grabbed me by the collar – and has yet to release its grip – is Romans 12:2. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. Paul’s advice is timeless: We are to be different by aiming to please God rather than man. Read that sentence again. Our world has it backward. And, truthfully, even as Christians we fall into that trap. The obsession for constant validation is a tool of Satan, and one that will absolutely cripple us if we’re not careful. The blood of Christ is all the validation we need.
There are over 7 billion people in the world. Each one is different. What should always amaze us are God’s words to the prophet Jeremiah: Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you. (1:5, NASB). Think about that for a moment. The Almighty knew you before you ever set foot on this earth. Psalm 139:13 tells us that God knit you together in your mother’s womb. This is what it truly means to be “an individual.” And to be an individual, you must embrace the fact that you are a unique creation of God.
He wouldn’t have it any other way.
In His Name,