God was Israel’s king when they entered into the land of Canaan, and He ruled them well. When they sinned, He corrected them, and when they walked uprightly, He blessed them. But they looked around at foreign nations and saw others living without God as their king. Those people could do evil without penalty because their kings were just as wicked as they were, and that kind of government was attractive to them. Therefore, they approached the prophet Samuel, who was God’s chosen judge for Israel at that time, and demanded that they have a king.
4. Then all the elders of Israel gathered themselves together, and came to Samuel unto Ramah.
5. And they said to him, “Behold, you are old, and your sons walk not in your ways. Now, make us a king to judge us like all the nations.”
Samuel was very unhappy with their request, and he talked to the Lord about it.
7. And the Lord said to Samuel, “Hearken to the voice of the people in all that they say to you, for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them.
8. According to all the works which they have done since the day that I brought them up out of Egypt, even to this day, wherewith they have forsaken me and served other gods, so do they also to you.
9. Now, therefore, hearken to their voice. However, protest solemnly to them, and show them how it will be with the king that shall reign over them.”
Samuel did that. He warned Israel that they would deeply regret their decision to have a human as their king instead of God, but they would not hear him.
19. Nevertheless the people refused to obey the voice of Samuel, and they said, “No! We will have a king over us,
20. so that we may be like all the nations, and so that our king may judge us, and go out before us, and fight our battles.”
Not long afterward, young Saul was crowned Israel’s first king, but in just a few years, he proved to be a very foolish man and led the nation into a pit of despair. Everything that Samuel warned Israel would happen did happen, and Israel hated that they had demanded a king.
19. And all the people said to Samuel, “Pray for your servants unto the Lord your God, lest we die! For we have added to all our sins this evil, to ask us a king.”
Samuel, faithful as always, did pray for God to help the nation, and God, merciful as always, delivered them from their enemies. But in demanding a king, they had shown great disrespect to their loving and generous God, and now, God would not let them change their minds. They were stuck with an earthly king, and with the kings who would come after him.
There are some decisions we can make that we can change when we learn that they are poor choices. And the results of those decisions can be ameliorated. But there are other decisions that bring about consequences which, even if we repent for making those decisions, we cannot escape. Be careful what decisions you make. Some of them carry consequences that you can never change.