Comparison is a Thief


Message Title: Comparison is a Thief
Theme: Reruns & Glory Days
Season: Ordinary Time
Main Text: 1 Samuel 8 (Israel demands a king/Saul)
Scripture Reading: 2 Corinthians 4:13-5:1
RCL Scripture: 1 Samuel 8:4-11, (12-15), 16-20, (11:14-15) or Genesis 3:8-15; Psalm 130 or Psalm 138; 2 Corinthians 4:13-5:1; Mark 3:20-35
Focus: Israel demands a king even after receiving a warning.
Other Notes:

Scripture reading: 2 Corinthians 4: 13-5:1 13We have the same faithful spirit as what is written in scripture: I had faith, and so I spoke. We also have faith, and so we also speak. 14We do this because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus will also raise us with Jesus, and he will bring us into his presence along with you. 15All these things are for your benefit. As grace increases to benefit more and more people, it will cause gratitude to increase, which results in God’s glory. 16So we aren’t depressed. But even if our bodies are breaking down on the outside, the person that we are on the inside is being renewed every day. 17Our temporary minor problems are producing an eternal stockpile of glory for us that is beyond all comparison. 18We don’t focus on the things that can be seen but on the things that can’t be seen. The things that can be seen don’t last, but the things that can’t be seen are eternal. 5:1We know that if the tent that we live in on earth is torn down, we have a building from God. It’s a house that isn’t handmade, which is eternal and located in heaven.

Intro to Summer Series: Movie Midnight in Paris– Every generation looks back and thinks THAT was the good ole days. (unless you are part of a minority or oppressed group).Sometimes living the good ole days involves watching our favorite shows on repeat. It seems every generation does this. Over the course of the summer, we will be looking at passages in 1st Samuel – 1st Kings and looking at Israel’s “Glory Days.” We may also look at glimpses of our past through movies, history, or personal stories, though some of our “pasts” are more recent than others.

RERUNS: This week, I wanted to start off with a cute story about my mother. If you don’t know my mother well, you wouldn’t know that she hates chocolate. Sure, she’ll eat a brownie or snickers on the occasion but she is NOT a chocolate fan. My mom learned to hate chocolate as a child and it’s all her own fault.

When she was in elementary school, she would bring a lunch from home. On this particular day, My grandmother sent my mom to school with a quart of chocolate milk. My mother was supposed to share this milk with her older sister. Instead, she drank the whole quart herself. No surprise to any of us: she got sick and now has an aversion to chocolate.

TRANSITION: I’m sure we can all relate to my mother’s childhood. Josh ate a 5-pound burrito Friday. I can eat circus peanuts, candy corn, or red vines until I’m sick.

Sometimes our desires actually lead to our demise. As we kick off our summer series, we will see the beginning of the monarchy in Israel. This one event sets a trajectory for Israel’s future… and it’s not great. 

We are reading all of 1 Samuel 8. I encourage you to open your bible either physically or digitally and read along. The text WON’T be on the screen behind me.

BACKGROUND: In the Jewish scriptures Bibles we have 1 & 2nd Samuel are under the unified name of “Samuel”. Christian bibles divide the book into two, matching the scrolls that contain the text- this is the same case for 1 & 2 kings, or 1 & 2 Chronicles.

Each of these twin books tells a history of Israel. Though if you compared Chronicles to Samuel or Kings, the story would not be exactly the same as the goal is a reflection through the lens of history rather than a step-by-step detailing.

MAIN TEXT: 1 Sam 8 Now when Samuel got old, he appointed his sons to serve as Israel’s judges. The name of his oldest son was Joel; the name of the second was Abijah. They served as judges in Beer-sheba. But Samuel’s sons didn’t follow in his footsteps. They tried to turn a profit, they accepted bribes, and they perverted justice.4So all the Israelite elders got together and went to Samuel at Ramah.

5They said to him, “Listen. You are old now, and your sons don’t follow in your footsteps. So appoint us a king to judge us like all the other nations have.” 6It seemed very bad to Samuel when they said, “Give us a king to judge us,” so he prayed to the Lord.

7The Lord answered Samuel, “Comply with the people’s request—everything they ask of you—because they haven’t rejected you. No, they’ve rejected me as king over them. 8They are doing to you only what they’ve been doing to mefrom the day I brought them out of Egypt to this very minute, abandoning me and worshipping other gods. 9So comply with their request, but give them a clear warning, telling them how the king will rule over them.”

 10Then Samuel explained everything the Lord had said to the people who were asking for a king. 11“This is how the king will rule over you,” Samuel said: “He will take your sons, and will use them for his chariots and his cavalry and as runners for his chariot. 12He will use them as his commanders of troops of one thousand and troops of fifty, or to do his plowing and his harvesting, or to make his weapons or parts for his chariots. 13He will take your daughters to be perfumers, cooks, or bakers. 14He will take your best fields, vineyards, and olive groves and give them to his servants. 15He will give one-tenth of your grain and your vineyards to his officials and servants. 16He will take your male and female servants, along with the best of your cattleand donkeys, and make them do his work. 17He will take one-tenth of your flocks, and then you yourselves will become his slaves! 18When that day comes, you will cry out because of the king you chose for yourselves, but on that day the Lord won’t answer you.”

19But the people refused to listen to Samuel and said, “No! There must be a king over us 20so we can be like all the other nations. Our king will judge us and lead us and fight our battles.” 21Samuel listened to everything the people said and repeated it directly to the Lord. 22Then the Lord said to Samuel, “Comply with their request. Give them a king.” Samuel then told the Israelite people, “Go back, each of you, to your own hometown.”


  1. God had designed creation to be in constant relationship with God. That God would govern God’s people directly.
    1. We see this reinforced in Abraham’s story and again when Moses received the 10 commandments and made a covenant with Israel.
    2. God intended for Israel to stand out from the rest of the world. Israel would be a beacon pointing people to the one true God by their unique rule.
  2. However, Israel struggled with being different and DEFINITELY struggled with change. As they anticipated the change of Samuel’s role of judge ending, they looked to the future and were filled with anxiety.
    1. Their solution was to demand a king like the rest of the nations. “Enough of this judge & God set up. We want a government like the rest of the nations.”
  3. Samuel tells God and God doesn’t protest. God says ‘give them what they wish. But offer a warning.’
  4. Even with the warning, Israel wanted a king.


  1. More to the story:
    1. This is Chapter 8. Samuel doesn’t die until Chapter 24.–Why were they wanting to get rid of Samuel?
      1. Ch 9 they will get a king. King Saul. He fits the bill – tall, strong, young. BUT he doesn’t stay faithful to God. Ch 15 Saul is rejected as king. He won’t get to pass on his crown to his son.
    2. So, Israel went against God’s design and demanded a king. This king will do EXACTLY what Samuel said a king would do.
  2. Reflection:
    1. Samuel was resistant, but God gave the people what they wanted
      1. Samuel was resistant- He is seen as an upright guy, but he decided his sons would inherit the role, however that wasn’t the plan for judges normally. And his sons were bad guys. The people rejected Samuel’s sons and demanded a king.
      2. But this shouldn’t taint Samuel’s character. Perhaps he was resistant to change just as much as the Israelites were anxious about change?
    2. Unlike Samuel, God let them have the consequences of their desires
      1. Remember last week? “I can work with that?” Here we are, God is working with the people where they are in their spiritual journey.
  3. The Point: The point of this passage is not politics but loyalty to & dependency on God.
    1. This passage is a reminder that human leaders will fail us; whether we voted for them or not; whether we placed our hopes in them or not. It doesn’t matter what party you’re from or what
    2. However, the goal isn’t anarchy. This passage isn’t telling Americans to overthrow the American government.
      1. Nor is it saying Americans should base their policies off of what the world is doing.


  1. Our wants aren’t always best for us—too much chocolate/food, too much power/fame/money,
  2. Sometimes we compromise our morals/beliefs to get what we want—i.e. specific political candidates, power, money, etc.



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