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  • Writer's pictureStephanie Cardel

Be Careful What You Pray For

“So all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah. They said to him, ‘You are old, and your sons do not walk in your ways; now appoint a king to lead us, such as all the other nations have.’” –1 Samuel 8: 4-5, NIV

The Israelites had Samuel. He was dedicated to the LORD his whole life. He was a great judge and prophet. His sons, on the other hand, were dishonest and couldn’t take over for him when he got old. The people got it in their heads that they wanted to be like “all the other nations” and have a king. It didn’t matter that they were supposed to let God be their king. It didn’t matter that they were meant to be set apart from all the other nations—to show everyone else a better way.

Samuel couldn’t believe it. He reminded them that a king would take their sons for his army and their daughters for his staff, and a portion of their land and produce and livestock. They didn’t care. They wanted a king.

It wasn’t their desire for a king that was bad. It was that they wanted to “be like all the other nations, with a king to lead us and to go out before us and fight our battles.” (1 Sam. 8:20)

So…the walls of Jericho just fell down by themselves? How soon we forget.

God gave them Saul. His name means, “to ask.” He was just what they wanted. A king after their own hearts.

“You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God” (James 4:4, NIV).

Fitting in with this world is not what God wants for us. When we choose the world over God, we let sin reign in our hearts, just as Saul reigned over the Israelites. We are looking at the wrong person or thing to save us.

When we rely on anything but Jesus Christ to save us, we are trying to save ourselves. And we just can’t. Those rabbit trails in life only lead to fear and dead ends.

Sometimes, we build things up in our heads to be better than reality, but nothing can convince us of that until we live that reality. God knows this. Maybe the most painful way he can teach us a lesson is to simply give us what we ask for.

Saul doesn’t give us a picture of Christ. He gives us a reality check. He reminds us of the pain and disappointment we end up with when we try to save ourselves.

So, be careful what you pray for. You just might get it.

With Love in Christ,


Lord, forgive me for wanting to fit in with this world. It has many wonderful things, but it is not where I belong. I’m sorry that I forget what You’ve done for me and focus on the things You didn’t do. I should be thankful. Your will, not mine, LORD. Amen.

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