Prayer: Dear God, may we be wise in what we ask for by following your will and not the whims of our own thinking. Amen
Reading: I Samuel 8:4-11, (12-15), 16-20, (11: 14-15) (Click to read text)
Stop and GROW: After reading the text, discuss/ponder the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America's Book of Faith questions, which are part of Camp Mount Luther's GROW Time with campers.
QUESTION 1: What scares, confuses, challenges, or doesn’t make sense to me in this text?
QUESTION 2: What delights me in this text or is my favorite part of the story?
QUESTION 3: What stories or memories does this text stir in me?
QUESTION 4: What is God up to in this text?
Reflection: After a time at camp with a mouse in the cabin, I prayed there would be no mice the next year. The next year there were no mice but I saw a rattlesnake. That explained the missing mice but also taught me to be more careful what I pray for.
Considering the disorganized state of the Israelite nation, their request for a new form of government – a monarchy – seems understandable. A king would centralize power, making the nation more efficient in defending itself. However, both Samuel and God opposed the idea, particularly because of the Israelites’ motive: The wanted a “king to govern us, like other nations” (8:5). Israel was supposed to be different from the other nations. Whatever form of their government, they were to trust God as their leader.
Jump ahead to I Samuel 11: 14-15 to see the Israelites got their request with King Saul yet still under God’s terms. In short order Saul was rejected because he disobeyed God. And the story goes on and on and on.
Have you ever seen God take a bad request with bad motives and use it for his own purposes? --Ruth Gates, Camp Mount Luther Family Camper (with inspiration from The New Student Study Bible NRSV)
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