This hurts. I know we have seen throughout the reading countless times the people have rebelled, complained about and rejected God but his words here bring tears to my eyes. Perhaps it's because as a parent I have heard the words "I hate you!" come from my own child's mouth on occasion. I may even recall saying them a couple of times myself. (Sorry Mom.)
I know we are talking about kings and not parents here but idea is the same. The Israelites wanted a king. They wanted to be like everyone else. It is likely when the words of rejection came my own child's lips it was because I was not allowing her to do something everyone else was doing. Things seemed better in that other world and if she had a new mother then her life would clearly be different.
Perhaps that's also the reasoning behind the Israelite's request. Things are going so great with these priest guys. Some were good and some were bad. Maybe a king would work better. That's it! That was exactly what they needed. They pleaded with Samuel saying,"Then we will be like all the other nations, with a king to lead us and to go out before us and fight our battles."[8:20] Certainly a king would make their life better. That's what they wanted and that's what God gave them along with a long list of additional stipulations of what would be required. Ouch! More requirements?! Seems crazy but the Israelites were all for the transfer of authority no matter the cost.
On a personal level we find ourselves doing this sort of thing everyday. For instance, rather than exercising self control we decide that our physical fitness issues would be better addressed if we join a weight loss program or hire a personal trainer. Yes, it is going to cost us in resources and time but it will be worth it. Our lives will be better if we do. Then our coach reveals to us the directions we must follow-- We must exercise self control. Same prescription but now it's gonna cost us. The key to success all along was our willingness to follow.
Don't be a hater because I use exercise and diet as an example. It just happens to be the one I struggle with but to have success in it I must choose to follow the leader. Same with how I spend my money, studying Scripture, handling marriage and parenting. God has already taken the lead, has given me hand written instructions and is even willing to coach me through if I am just willing to be under his authority and follow him. I can look to man for help but the truth is, if it's going to work God has already thought of it. He designed the world and all that is in it. And he can see the big picture from beginning to end. God knows just how things will work best. In the story of our friends the Israelite, they were still going to be required to follow if they would see victories under their new leadership. that would be up to them to take action. As for me, I think I will choose success with God and his leadership every time.