And Samuel said to the people, “Do not be afraid; you have done all this evil. Yet do not turn aside from following the Lord, but serve the Lord with all your heart. And do not turn aside after empty things that cannot profit or deliver, for they are empty. For the Lord will not forsake his people, for his great name’s sake, because it has pleased the Lord to make you a people for himself. (1 Samuel 12:20-22 ESV)
When Israel asked for a king like the nations, they were pulling their trust in God as their deliverer and putting it in another. Samuel is warning them about this proneness, for these other things are “empty.” They may yield the fruit we wanted for a time, such as attention or accolades or toys, but all are short-lived and must soon be replaced by something bigger and better. Sin takes on the nature of an addiction. It yields some pleasure, but it’s return wanes each time we give in. It asks more and more of us to yield the same degree of pleasure until we are all used up. We must do everything for a dead savior, but a living savior does everything for us.
Chronological Reading Plan plus Psalms: 1 Sa 9-12, Ps 100