Years ago, my youngest daughter wanted a CD player for Christmas.
Since that was a reasonable request, I bought her a CD player.
A week or so prior to Christmas, we were in the car and she asked me if she was getting a CD player for Christmas.
I told her I wasn’t going to tell her yes or no.
However, she didn’t like that answer and proceeded to hound me relentlessly to give her a definitive answer until I snapped, stopped the car and yelled, “YES! Are you happy now?”
She got mad and said, “Why did you tell me? Now it’s not a surprise!”
We laugh about it now 25 or so years later, but not back then.
Still, it stands as a cautionary tale. Sometimes God gives us what we demand, what we think we want, knowing full well the consequences that we either can’t see or don’t care about.
When God miraculously freed the Israelites from their slavery in Egypt, to feed them he sent manna, “bread from heaven.” It was nutritious, and possibly delicious, but after eating it day after day, the Israelites complained and hounded God to give them meat.
So, God sent them quails to eat, a whole month’s worth “until it comes out your nostrils and you loathe it, because you have rejected the Lord ... and have wailed before him saying, ‘Why did we ever leave Egypt?’” (Numbers 11:20).
They ate the quail, which made them sick, and some of them died.
Another time, the Israelites demanded a king.
From the beginning, God had told Abraham that “kings will come from you,” and that promise was passed down through the generations.
The Israelites knew a king was in their future; however, at one point they got tired of waiting for God to appoint one for them and they started demanding one just like the pagan nations around them had.
God basically said, “You want a king? I’ll give you a king.” And he gave them Saul.
Saul had height and good looks, charm and strength. He looked kingly.
But Saul turned out to be prone to jealous rage, murderously slaughtering the priests, and he continually disobeyed God.
When God eventually rejected Saul as king and chose David to replace him, Saul became unhinged and chased David relentlessly, hunting him down, trying to kill him.
In the end, Saul died by his own sword.
Just after Saul was made king, Samuel, a prophet and a judge over Israel, gave a farewell speech and recounted the ways God had delivered the Israelites, even after they rebelled against him.
He told them, “And you will realize what an evil thing you did in the eyes of the Lord when you asked for a king” (1 Samuel 12:17).
As our society and culture becomes increasingly demanding, we who are the church are not to be that way.
“Love is patient and kind; love is not jealous or boastful; it is not arrogant or rude. Love does not insist on its own way …” (1 Corinthians 13:4-6).
For Christians, we have a king, and his name is Jesus.
And our king has called us to humbly seek him first, to be lights in the surrounding darkness, a city set on a hill, finding our satisfaction, our meaning and our life in him and him alone.
“Blessed are the peacemakers,” Jesus said, “for they shall be called sons of God.”
Nancy Kennedy can be reached at 352-564-2927 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.