Now appoint for us a king to judge us like all the nations. I Samuel 8:5
In the throes of my addiction, I often sought to change the wrong things. Because I was using, I was miserable and depressed, so I went to my doctor to get something for my depression. I hated my life and imagined that a change of scenery would help, so I made plans to move far away.
These efforts to treat my unhappiness were of course, ineffective. I did not need to change location. I needed to stop abusing pills. It was far easier though, to make cosmetic changes than to truly change my behavior. Taking another pill was easy. Stopping my drug use sounded awful.
The Israelites, in today’s passage, made a similar mistake. In their distress, they looked at the kingdoms around them and coveted what they had. Everyone else has a king. Why don’t we? We need a king. That will solve all our problems. God Himself was their king and what they needed to do was to follow Him. That was too much work though. They did not want to change their behavior, they just wanted a cosmetic fix.
I will be the first to insist that sometimes, we do need to make drastic changes if we truly want to change. Sometimes, the right thing to do is to leave a job or a location if that job or location is part of our problem. It is our nature though, to usually try and change everything except the real issue.
It takes painful honesty, wisdom and self-awareness to look inward and see the actual problem. We must always insist that we are following our king and not just making cosmetic changes to cover up the fact that we don’t want to follow Him.
When we follow our God and king, He gives us the wisdom to know what we truly must do. It is only in doing whatever it takes to turn from ourselves to follow Him, that we make the right changes.