When God Is Not Enough

1 Samuel 8:19-20 Nevertheless the people refused to obey the voice of Samuel; and they said, Nay; but we will have a king over us; That we also may be like all the nations; and that our king may judge us, and go out before us, and fight our battles.”

Here, we see that the nation of Israel comes before Samuel desiring a king. (vs. 4-5). The Israelites looked at the heathen nations surrounding them and wanted to have a king just like them. I can imagine the heartbreak Samuel must have felt. He was the first in over 300 years to prophesy and deliver messages from God and now the people are no longer satisfied with Him. (vs. 6-7) The people were not satisfied with God as their only leader. They wanted a king. In short, God was not enough.

One of the saddest things I experience is when I see Christian young people compare all the World has to offer and all God has to offer and come to the same conclusion as the Israelites. God is not enough. I hate to see Christian young people who have grown up in church all of their lives, who have been taught about the goodness of God, and yet they’re so dissatisfied with the things of God. They feel like being a Christian is a life of misery. Some rebel against everything they have ever been taught. Others leave church altogether and never return. Their attitude is the same as the Israelites: God is not enough.

Why was God not enough all of a sudden? What changed? (vs. 7-8)

First of all God was not the one that changed.

Malachi 3:6, “For I am the Lord, I change not;” Hebrews 13:8, “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.” James 1:17, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.”

God cannot change. It is not in His nature. However, we as humans change all the time. In this situation, we see it was not that God wasn’t a good leader anymore, the people of Israel became poor followers. The Word of God was not precious to them anymore. They took God’s Word for granted. God was not the One Who changed; it was the people who changed.

When is God not enough? When we don’t follow Him like we used to. When we take His Word for granted.

Second, the Israelites had forgotten everything God had done for them. (vs.8)

Let’s not forget that God brought them out of slavery in miraculous ways. He provided for them in the wilderness. Over and over again, He had shown them His love and His mercy. While God remained faithful to His people, the Israelite’s turned on Him. We marvel at how the Israelites could forget something so monumental to their history, yet we are guilty of forgetting God’s goodness to us.

When is God not enough? When we forget everything God has done for us. We forget what it felt like when we were first saved. We forget decisions we made at the altar. We forget God’s blessings in our lives.

Thirdly, we see that the Israelites turned to other gods. (vs. 8 b)

God said that his people “served” other gods. They sacrificed to these false gods. They were willing to give of themselves to these false gods. They took credit from the One true God and gave it to idols. They saw the gods of their neighboring nations and served them. I see many Christians today, look to the lost and serve their gods. Money, sports, entertainment, etc…; the list is unending. It’s sad to see how much we are willing to give up for worldly things, but we aren’t willing to do the same for God. When is God not enough for us? When we begin to look at the gods of the lost and serve them in place of the One true God. Matthew 6:24, “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.” It is not enough that we serve God the most. We must serve God only. 

Fourthly, we see that the Israelites did not have a proper view of God. (vs. 20)

They wanted a human king to judge them. Only God is the all-righteous judge. Human judges are biased an corrupt. They had an incorrect view of God’s justice. Likewise, many Christian young people question God’s fairness. They look at all the things they are missing out on in the world. They only view Christianity as a set of Do’s and Don’t’s. It’s like looking through the bars of a prison. We see all the World has to offer and begin to desire it, but if we would just step back and get a proper perspective from God’s Word, we would discover that it’s the world that is trapped in the prison of wickedness, while we are the ones who remain free.

The Israelites wanted a human king to go before them and represent them. They didn’t want to be recognized as God’s people. Likewise, many Christian young people are embarrassed to bear the name “Christian”. They feel as if it is a scarlet letter to be worn about their neck in which they are ashamed.

The Israelites wanted a human king to fight for them. God had never abandoned them, He continued to fight for them. Even when they had no weapons of their own, God had caused enemy armies to retreat before them. I see today, many Christian young people feel like God is not really there for them when they need Him. They cry out to God in their time of need but they don’t see His intervening hand.

When is God not enough? When we do not have a right view of God. If we knew God for Who He really was, we would recognize that He is all we need.

Finally, Samuel warned the people of all the trouble of having a human king. (vs.10-18)

A human king is all about “taking”. This world will entice you with all it has to offer but it will chew you up and spit you out after it has taken everything from you. Chasing after sex will cost you your innocence, emotions, and even your health with venerable diseases. Chasing after popularity will cost you your dignity, and will  leave you lonely. Chasing after drugs or alcohol will cost you money, family, your health, your mind, and will leave you feeling empty inside. Everything this world has to offer is not enough. The world is not enough. But chasing after God is another story. God does not “take” like a human king. He gives. He gives hope in a world filled with hopelessness. HE gives love in a world full of hate, and He gives joy in a world full of misery. God is not just enough, He is more than enough.

Jesse Maxwell
Youth Pastor
Landmark Baptist Church
Haines City, Fl