In Proposition 27, George Peters states:
“The demand of the nation for an earthly king was a virtual abandonment of this Theocratic Kingdom by the nation.”
If you recall, Israel had been led by God from the calling of Abraham as the father of the nation, through their deliverance from Egypt, during the wilderness wanderings, through the entrance to and conquering of the land of promise, and during the period of the judges. In the waning years of the life of Samuel, the people demanded an earthly king. They wanted to be like the surrounding nations despite God having called them to be separate. Part of being separate was living in a theocracy with God being their King. The allure of what the surrounding nations had, despite God’s explicit warnings about what would ensue if they went that route, led in the abandonment by the people of God as their King in a theocratic system and the establishment of earthly kings.
The most notable observation Peters presents in Proposition 27 is the following:
“No deeper insult could scarcely be offered to God than such a request indicated. This is seen by considering the Being who condescended to be their Ruler, the blessings that He promised, and the design He had in view in thus becoming, in a direct manner, King over the nation. The only extenuation for such “wickedness”, as Samuel intimates, is found in their distressed circumstances also brought upon them by unbelief.”
What could be a greater existence than being ruled directly the the King of Kings? Yet Israel yearned for another to lead them. As Peters notes, the reason the people were experiencing issues was due to their own unbelief and lack of obedience. This request by the people did not take God by surprise. In fact, God had noted in Deut. 28:36, “The Lord will bring you and your king whom you set over you to a nation that neither you nor your fathers have known. And there you shall serve other gods of wood and stone.” Even though He knew Israel would reject Him as King, this was not outside His divine plan. Genesis 49:10 states, “The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, until tribute comes to him; and to him shall be the obedience of the peoples.” Here we have a reference to the Messiah who would re-establish what would be in regards to this prophecy the throne of David. Regardless of man’s desire for self-rule, God remains the King and He will re-establish His throne and will rule His people.