Conventional Wisdom

Jeff Weinkauf


Samuel 8

When Samuel grew old, he appointed his sons as Israel’s leaders.[a] 2The name of his firstborn was Joel and the name of his second was Abijah, and they served at Beersheba. 3But his sons did not follow his ways. They turned aside after dishonest gain and accepted bribes and perverted justice.

4So all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah. 5They said to him, “You are old, and your sons do not follow your ways; now appoint a king to lead[b] us, such as all the other nations have.”

6But when they said, “Give us a king to lead us,” this displeased Samuel; so he prayed to the Lord. 7And the Lord told him: “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. 8As they have done from the day I brought them up out of Egypt until this day, forsaking me and serving other gods, so they are doing to you. 9Now listen to them; but warn them solemnly and let them know what the king who will reign over them will claim as his rights.”

10Samuel told all the words of the Lord to the people who were asking him for a king. 11He said, “This is what the king who will reign over you will claim as his rights: He will take your sons and make them serve with his chariots and horses, and they will run in front of his chariots. 12Some he will assign to be commanders of thousands and commanders of fifties, and others to plow his ground and reap his harvest, and still others to make weapons of war and equipment for his chariots. 13He will take your daughters to be perfumers and cooks and bakers. 14He will take the best of your fields and vineyards and olive groves and give them to his attendants. 15He will take a tenth of your grain and of your vintage and give it to his officials and attendants. 16Your male and female servants and the best of your cattle[c] and donkeys he will take for his own use. 17He will take a tenth of your flocks, and you yourselves will become his slaves. 18When that day comes, you will cry out for relief from the king you have chosen, but the Lord will not answer you in that day.”

19But the people refused to listen to Samuel. “No!” they said. “We want a king over us. 20Then we will be like all the other nations, with a king to lead us and to go out before us and fight our battles.”


There was a situation in Israel and it was bad. Previously Samuel the prophet had offered excellent spiritual guidance from the Lord, but now he was at the end of his life and his appointed replacements were not up to the job. They lacked significantly in the area of integrity being outright dishonest and only out for their own best. Add to that the “replacements” were the sons of Samuel. Although the word doesn’t mention it, there had to have been personal pain on his part at the failure of his sons to walk with the Lord.

Well, the problem wasn’t a secret. Folks noticed, put their heads together, and decided to go with the prevailing wisdom of the day. “We need a leader” (as the ones YOU gave us are bad), “now go get us a King” (because that’s what everybody else is doing). This secularization of a very God oriented problem is a huge mistake. Rather than ask God to intervene and help, rather than appeal to the father who provides to correct the problem, they decide to go with their own solve. In doing so it says God notes this as a rejection of himself. He gives them one more chance to fully understand what is at stake, what a human king (instead of the King of Kings) will mean. They don’t care, blinded by their own man brained fix.


It makes sense in the natural. There’s a problem, use conventional wisdom to solve it. Look around and see what others are doing to get to where we think we need to go. Deal with the nepotism. Fix it right?

You see no matter how bad it was to suffer under the unjust children of Samuel, it would end being far worse for the children of Israel under tyrannical kings. If instead of rushing to the fix the problem they had petitioned God for His justice, I believe it would have gone well for them. That they would have felt His comfort.

So for me, as I move through my day I must remember to bring the challenges I face directly to Him, and to ask humbly for answers. Although the path may be clear in the natural, I must ask God for His wisdom. To confirm my plans or to soundly close the door if it’s not of Him. I will choose to NOT reject the living God, but to wait expectantly for His response.


God please help me to honor you, to look to you for all wisdom and understanding. I need you God to guide me and point the way towards your perfect plans. Please help me to understand what is my part and what is your part. God you are faithful and wise. I will trust you for the result. Amen.

Devotions for April 10

1 Samuel 8,9,10
2 Corinthians 10

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