The Israelites’ second expectation of their king comes as no surprise after so many close battles under the judges’ leadership. Though the war stories of judges like Gideon and Deborah are exhilarating to read, the people were ready for some stability and safety. “We want to be like the nations around us. Our king will judge us and lead us into battle” (1 Samuel 8:20, NLT).

But of course, he didn’t. Israel’s first king turned out to be a terrible battle commander. In 1 Samuel 13, we read of a battle plan going wrong in all the ways possible. King Saul was no expert in military intelligence, so he aggravated the enemy further by making very risky political announcements (v. 3-4). So due to the lack of proper leadership, the troops started hiding and scattering from Saul (v.6-11). And to top it all, none of the soldiers had any swords or spears, except for Saul and his son Jonathan (v.19-22).

So much for relying on a king to keep the Israelites safe. Another expectation turned into disappointment and heartache.

In the same way, we often try to find refuge and safety in earthly “kings”. We trust financial advisors with our life savings only to find them indifferent when markets crash and we lose everything. We trust the advice of family members only to find them gossiping behind our backs when it goes wrong. When we take a better look at our presumed safety, we find out that our kings are just well-camouflaged false securities.

What are you asking God for today? Is it possible that your request may be an attempt to find refuge outside of God’s safety?

Let us examine our lives for any sources of false security that may turn into disappointments later. And let us find refuge in the only One who can truly keep us safe. “This I declare about the Lord; He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; he is my God, and I trust him” (Psalms 91:2, NLT).

Scripture readings:

1 Samuel 8:19-21

1 Samuel 13

Psalms 91:1-4