4 Then all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah;
5 and they said to him, “Behold, you have grown old, and your sons do not walk in your ways. Now appoint a king for us to judge us like all the nations.”
6 But the thing was displeasing in the sight of Samuel when they said, “Give us a king to judge us.” And Samuel prayed to the Lord.
7 The Lord said to Samuel, “Listen to the voice of the people in regard to all that they say to you, for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me from being king over them.
8 Like all the deeds which they have done since the day that I brought them up from Egypt even to this day—in that they have forsaken Me and served other gods—so they are doing to you also.
9 Now then, listen to their voice; however, you shall solemnly warn them and tell them of the procedure of the king who will reign over them.”

When was a time you had to learn something the hard way? God places people in our lives that have experienced more of life than we have and have walked with God longer than we have. Despite the gift of these relationships as a means of guidance, there are times when the only way we can learn a hard lesson is through firsthand experience. One of the tricky points of parenting is when to teach children through prevention and protection and when to let them fall on their own, that they might learn the hard lessons of life.

In 1 Samuel 8, the people of Israel told Samuel they wanted a king to rule over them. They wanted a king to be like the rest of the nations around them. This was not the way things should have been. God was to be their King and He was the only true King who could guide them. However, the people refused to learn apart from experience.

God made it clear to Samuel that this request for a king was not a failure of leadership on Samuel’s part, but a rejection of God’s leadership by the people. Similar to a stubborn child, the people of Israel would not listen to the guiding wisdom God had put in their lives.

It is easy to view children as stubborn in learning the ways of the world, but we should be quick to remember that apart from the wisdom of God, we like those in the time of the judges will always do what is right in our own eyes. We must remain humble before the Lord, not following a mob mentality of the world, but trusting His wisdom, even when we may feel like we know better on our own.

• When have you experienced a hard lesson when you failed to heed the wisdom of others?

• Who has God put in your life as a voice of wisdom that honors Him? How do you seek to listen to this person regularly?

• Thank God that He provides wisdom as a means of guidance in His ways. Pray that you will live as one who seeks godly wisdom over popular sentiment.