The Habit of Grtitude

from Moody Publishing

1 Samuel 8

1 Samuel 8 teaches us that desires must be submitted to God’s Word rather than cause resistance to God’s Word. Wanting what God hasn’t given us can be dangerous. And demanding what God withholds or warns against is a recipe for disaster.

Prior to 1 Samuel 8, God was Israel’s king. This set them apart from surrounding nations ruled by powerful earthly kings. If Israel followed God alone as king, they would prosper and flourish.

But Israel grew weary of God’s plans. They wanted to be led by a visible, human king. Rather than live by faith in God, an earthly king would allow them to live by sight. As Israel grew covetous and jealous of other nations, discontentment about what God had given them soared. They questioned if God was looking out for them or withholding something good from them. Gratitude grew silent while grumbling spread. Eventually, they demanded a king (8:5).

It’s not only that they were swayed by the ways of the world rather than the ways of God, but it’s that they put something or someone in God’s place. That’s the very definition of idolatry. They look to an earthly king to do what only their heavenly King can do. They stopped seeking after God and looked to humans instead.

To make matters worse, Samuel again warns Israel that this will not work out like they think (see 8:10-18). Idols never do. Israel thinks this will give them more power, and less fear of other nations, but it ends up stripping them of freedom. They think a king will provide security, and it leads to complete insecurity and instability. Though they cry out for a king, they will soon cry out because of their king (8:18).

Idolatry always works this way. The glimmer of that shiny object ends up being a hook snaring us. The things we think offer freedom enslave us. They now cause stress, fear, and anxiety as they crumble and topple over. When we put something or someone in God’s place, it never follows through on what it offers.

If left unchecked, an increase in ingratitude allows idolatry to slip in. We no longer just wish things were different, but desire morphs into a demand. A sinful demand (idolatry) is something we’ll sin to get or sin when we don’t get it. Rather than bringing our desires to God in hopes to receive them in His timing and plan, we pursue them apart from Him.

These signs and symptoms of growing ingratitude and increasing idolatry should alarm us. None of these things can give us what we think they can. The discontentment will only grow unless it’s fought with thanksgiving, trust, and rest in God.

Think about where you’re tempted to envy, jealousy, and idolatry. What steps do you need to take to avoid their snare? What lies are you believing and what promises and truths do you need to fight them with?

Like this article?

Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter
Share on Linkdin
Share on Pinterest