This weekend we traveled to a coastal, family spot in Little River, SC, more than 200 miles from our home in Rock Hill, SC. We’ve traveled to Little River two or three times each year since 1999. We know the way. It’s by no means right off the interstate, but I know the way to the degree that I could pretty confidently feel my way there, if I had to. I would recognize the places where I should bear left, when I should turn right, I recognize bridges, the Otis elevator facility, and the highway that has the cow crossing sign. I couldn’t write the directions down for someone else to follow, but I “know” how to get here. Since the dawn of GPS, though, I plug the address in and we do what she says! I don’t think we have taken the same route twice since we started using GPS. For some reason, I tend to trust my GPS more than I trust my own sense of direction and memory map. GPS, however, has its limitations. It maps out a route based on traffic conditions, weather, road closures, and of course my settings. What it does not take into consideration is the fact that it has never brought us along that route before, it’s 10pm, and you’re in the middle of nowhere, and everybody in the car has to use the bathroom. When in such a situation, what do we do? Turn on the other phone’s GPS and see if they agree.
Our 200+ mile trek Friday night provided some time to think. I pondered over the previous week, the coming week, and why we were using GPS when we knew the way! My frustrations with GPS, when I didn’t have to use it, made me think of the Israelites desire for a king. In 1 Samuel 8:6 the Israelites said to Samuel, who was old and would soon die, “Give us a king to lead us.” Samuel is very disappointed. He thinks they will be just fine without a king, that their faith in God should carry them. He warns them, that a king will take their sons, that they will be forced to plow the king’s fields, a tenth of their grain and grapes would be taken, as would their cattle and donkeys. He tells then they will become the king’s slaves. Their response, “We want a king to rule over us. Then we’ll be like all the other nations. We’ll have a king to lead us. He’ll go out at the head of our armies and fight our battles.” (1 Samuel 8:19-20) Samuel takes this issue to the Lord, who tells him to listen to the people and give them a king.
Since studying this last week, I’ve tried to understand the desire for a king even after being warned of what having a king will mean. In Exodus 32, Moses, leader of a previous generation of Israelites, is gone to pray. The Israelites ask Aaron to make them a golden calf so they have something to worship. The first two of the ten commandments address this. Exodus 20:3 and 4 say, “You shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below.”
I believe this desire for a king is due to a lack of faith, not a total lack of faith, but faith that is insufficient to meet current and ongoing needs. One limitation of humans is the apparent need for tangible things. As we say, “seeing is believing!” Hebrews 11:11 tells us, “faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. If we can only rely upon that which we can see, we lack faith.”
God certainly knows His creation. He tells Samuel to give them the king they desire. He knows the ongoing conflict between the Spirit and the flesh. He knows that without a king they may make some item to worship, and they may even worship the king Samuel gives to them. We look at this example and think, ‘those Israelites just couldn’t get it right.’ We are the same way! Why use GPS when we know the way? Why not pray and take the path God tells us to take? Unfortunately, seeing is believing. GPS is something we can see, it even shows the curves in the road ahead. We know it can take us on an unfamiliar route, we know it has drawbacks, but we still have more faith in GPS than we do in reliance upon our faith. GPS is one example of our need for tangible leadership, but there are others. Besides turning to God during times of stress or need, what do we do? Besides turning to God in times of excitement, to thank Him for His blessings, how do we celebrate? When we rely on God, He does not let us down. He is faithful and will meet our every need. What misplaced reliance exists in your life? How can you begin to rely on God more and the tangible less?
Thank you for reading!
Have a wonderful week!
Copyright 2018 by Kimberly Griffith Anderson
If you like this style of writing, you will enjoy Turn North: A 30-Day Devotional and Journal written by the author of this blog.