I Samuel 8:19-20 19 But the people refused to listen to Samuel. “No!” they said. “We want a king over us. 20 Then we will be like all the other nations, with a king to lead us and to go out before us and fight our battles.”
“If everyone else was jumping off a bridge, would you jump too?” It’s got to be the most annoying question a parent asks a child and yet we will probably all (if we haven’t already) ask our kids the same question. It is the universal “will you follow the crowd” question. I don’t know that I actually ever answered that question when my parents asked me it, but knowing me I probably had some sarcastic answer brewing somewhere beneath my breath. (Sorry mom and dad – they do read my blog) Anyhow I think the question could potentially be less rhetorical than intended with the right comeback. My thoughts are: “if I had a bungee rope on, if it wasn’t too high and there was a lake below, maybe if I was having a bad day, and it depends on the bridge and the people jumping with me.” All of those answers probably would have got me sent to my room so I graciously said them under my breath instead, er, I mean… said “no I wouldn’t.”
Samuel tries to ask the Israelite people the same question when they tell him they want a king. You see, first the blame seems to be placed on the failure of Samuel’s sons. Because they were total losers, the people wanted to have someone who they could follow. I think that was just an excuse. Later on, the real reason comes out – they wanted to be like everyone else. It’s something that we all seem to want at our core. And yet it doesn’t really get us anywhere. Being like everyone else is selling out. It is settling for less than who God made you uniquely to be. But Israel wanted a king… just like everyone else. They wanted to be normal, I guess.
God tried to warn them too. He told them that trying to be like everyone else would just cause them a bunch of trouble. They would find themselves slaves to a king. They would find themselves having to hand over what they worked so hard for. They would lose their families and their freedom. We have similar troubles – we become slaves to fashion and stereotypes, we hand over what we worked hard for to be cool, we give up our freedom and eventually lose our families. And its all because we desperately want to fit in with what is normal and mainstream.
I’ve got news for you: God isn’t mainstream. He doesn’t do things like the world does. And He certainly doesn’t want you trying to mimic their cheap knockoff second rate ways either. He is the original creator! He is the one who came up with all the ideas. All them other slim shadys are just imitating. This world and its ways can’t hold a candle to God’s. He knows what He is up to and He knows what is best. He knows His plan for your life better than you know life itself. Best of all, He knows you. He knows how He made you and who you are destined to be. So rather than trying to fit in and be like everyone else, try being you for a change. I think you’ll find it fits you quite nicely.