When I look at this passage, I can’t help but think about Romans chapter 1.
Here, though the people legitimately rejected Samuel’s sons as judges, they came up with the wrong solution: they rejected God as king.
God said to Samuel,
They have not rejected you; they have rejected me as their king. They are doing the same thing to you that they have done to me, since the day I brought them out of Egypt until this day, abandoning me and worshiping other gods. (7-8)
But God didn’t say no to their request.
He warned them of the consequences, but when they insisted on a king, he said to Samuel, “Listen to the people and everything they say to you.” (7)
In Romans 1, Paul could have been describing the situation in Samuel’s day. He said,
For though they knew God, they did not glorify him as God or show gratitude. Instead, their thinking became worthless, and their senseless hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man…They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served what has been created instead of the Creator, who is praised forever. Amen. (Romans 1:21-25)
In Samuel’s day, they exchanged the glory of God for a mere human king. They exchanged the glory of the Creator for a mere creature.
And because they did not think it worthwhile to acknowledge God, God delivered them over to a corrupt mind so that they do what is not right. (Romans 1:28)
The Israelites didn’t think it was worthwhile to acknowledge God as king, and so he gave them over to their corrupt desires and gave them another. But ultimately, it didn’t lead to a wonderful life. Some of their kings loved God and followed him. During those times, things were good. But most of Israel’s kings were awful. They led Israel into sin, ultimately leading to the Israelites’ misery and destruction.
We see the same in the world today. People have turned their backs on God, and what do we see?
[People] filled with all unrighteousness, evil, greed, and wickedness. They are full of envy, murder, quarrels, deceit, and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, arrogant, proud, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, senseless, untrustworthy, unloving,and unmerciful. (Romans 1:29-30)
“That’s the just the way things are,” you may say.
No, that’s the way things are when we reject God as king.
If we reject him as king, God will allow us to do so. But the question is, will we like it when we do?