Old Testament reading: 1 Samuel 7-9
1 Samuel 8 marks a sad day in Israel’s history. Not satisfied to be led by God’s judges, and forgetting it was the Lord who had given so many great military victories to them, Israel clamors for a king, “that we might be like all the nations, and that our king may judge us and go out before us and fight our battles.” Through Samuel, God warned them that they would pay a severe family and financial burden should they pursue this route. Six times in verses 11-17 we find their king “will take” from the people for himself. Two problems – they already had a king (God), and it is never God’s will for his people to be like everyone else. Unwilling to heed the wisdom of God, they persisted in their childish lust and demanded a king. In so doing, they traded a King who gave for one who would take. They traded a righteous Judge for an infallible one. They traded a military commander Who required no army yet had never lost a battle for one subject to failure. O the things we sacrifice when we trade God’s way and wisdom for that of man!
New Testament reading: Matthew 27-28
Judas Iscariot illustrates for us the short-sightedness of sin. Judas could not see past his immediate gain that he might consider the long term consequences of his actions. Having seen Jesus escape the hands of His enemies on several previous occasions (Luke 4:30; John 8:59), perhaps he thought Jesus would “perform His magic” and get out of this situation as well. Seeing Jesus condemned (27:3), Judas committed another tragically impulsive deed as he went out and hanged himself. Had he repented as did Peter, he could’ve been restored to the Lord. Unfortunately, Judas wasn’t cut from that same bolt of cloth. His covetousness, combined with his incontinence and lack of moderation, led to his dreadful end. He would have done well to hear the wise man, “Don’t wear yourself out to get rich; stop giving your attention to it. As soon as your eyes fly to it, it disappears, for it makes wings for itself and flies like an eagle to the sky” (Prov 23:4-5). Judas brought to life the words of Paul, who wrote, “Those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition” (1 Tim 6:9).