The need to be just like those around you is strong and even though the Israelite’s had a prophet leader they wanted a king. Poor Samuel needs reassuring by God as the request leaves him feeling outright rejected. God knows that creating a King of Israel is going to spell trouble, and he’s right, so he makes the pitfalls of having a monarch known and yet, the people are stubborn.
This retold version of the Bible passage is supplied for inspiration, feel free to omit or embellish to give it your personal voice.
Main Passage : 1 Samuel 8
(does reference other passages)
I wonder – have you ever felt a bit lost on what to do and wished somebody would come and give you some instructions? God’s people started like that in this story.
They saw other people who had kings, and all they had was a prophet called Samuel. Now, having a prophet was awesome. God told the prophet what to do, and the prophet told the people. But sometimes God didn’t seem to say anything, or sometimes the people wished they could hear God’s instructions themselves, and sometimes, sometimes it felt like nobody was leading them. Mostly they missed having a king when they had to fight. Samuel was really good at giving them advice about God, but he wouldn’t lead them into battle like a king would when people attacked.
They went to Samuel and asked if he could choose a king for them. Samuel thought it was a bad idea, a really bad idea.
Samuel thought they were saying he wasn’t enough, that he wasn’t good enough. So, he talked to God about it. God told Samuel that the people weren’t rejecting Samuel as a prophet but rejecting God as their king. Then Samuel went back to the people and told them what God had said.
“You don’t want a king!” said Samuel. “A king will take your sons for his army. He’ll take your daughters for his palace. He’ll take your grain and your wine for his household. Do you really, really want a king?”
But no matter what Samuel said, the people still asked for a king. So Samuel agreed. Who would you choose as a king? What would they be like?
God promised He would send a man to Samuel to be king. When Samuel saw the man God had chosen, all became clear. Saul looked like a king. Saul was big and strong and brave. Saul was a good fighter and good at giving instructions.
Samuel told Saul that he would be king and that God had chosen him. Some days later, all the people gathered and Saul was chosen. He put on his new robe and new crown, and everybody cheered. Saul gathered the army and went out to battle the bad guys, and Saul won the battle. God’s people were very happy.
They may have a new king, but they still had a prophet. Soon, the two would fall out as Saul started to listen less and less to God’s instructions. That kingly robe would be torn, and Saul would not get to choose who wore the crown next.