It doesn’t matter how old we are, we feel the pressure of peers. It happened to the Israelites and it happens to us. It’s our natural bent to look about us and see what others are doing. We watch not only what they are doing, but how they are doing it. Before we know it, we are following their lead and playing copy-cat instead of basing our decisions on what God is asking us to do.
It happened to the Israelites and it became their downfall. God had a plan to govern His people through prophets, judges, and priests, a theocracy. His plan did not include an earthly king.
This wasn’t good enough for the Israelite people. They looked around them at the other countries on all sides. You know what they noticed? They saw that those people had a KING. How could God ask them to be different from others? They allowed themselves to feel the pressure of their own families and tribes.
Those people got along just fine by having a king. Why couldn’t they have one, too? Obviously, they knew better than God – or so it would seem. Why else would they have insisted – no, demanded that God gives them a king?! They looked around and got caught up in the peer pressure snare.
Samuel’s sons had been appointed as judges, but they were failing badly. The people told Samuel, “Give us a king like all the other nations!” You can read the entire story here.
Finally, God told Samuel to give them a king. He said, “Samuel, this isn’t about their rejection of you. No, they are rejecting Me.”
It was more important to these people to be like those around them than to follow God’s order and His prescription for their government and tabernacle. It was more important that they not be different from others than that they learn to know His heart.
I’m shaking my head reading this scripture again, yet I know I’ve been guilty of the same. These people just wanted to be like all the other nations.
Sadly, we can find ourselves being just like the Children of Israel.
How many of us choose a church, a community, a calendar or a career by looking around at others instead of going to the Word of God to learn what He has to say about these decisions? How many of us find it so hard to be different that we sometimes don’t even tell people the real reason why we’re not going someplace or participating in an event? How many of us succumb to the pressure of our peers or our family?
How many of us make decisions about how to do things based on what others are doing instead of searching scripture? Instead of influencing those around us positively, we are allowing ourselves to be influenced by folks who have no heart for God. Instead of learning to know His heart, we follow others and assume that the path they’re taking is right and good. Sometimes we simply don’t want to be different or to have to stand against the tide.
Swimming upstream is hard and can be lonely at times. Peer Pressure is never fun.
I’ve often wondered what the nation of Israel would be like today if the people had never looked around at other nations, wanting to be like them. What would have happened if they had followed God’s original plan for their nation?
These people thought they had an enlightenment and an entitlement. They were wrong because they based their enlightenment on others instead of seeking the heart of God.
What decisions are we making today that will affect future generations? Are we looking around us to see how we can become like others, or are we investing our energy in learning to know the true heart of God? If other families or churches are “successful”, do we try to copy their way of doing things or do we measure their methods with the plumb line of God’s Word? Are we running after Him or are we running to keep up with the pressure we feel from those around us?
Are we praying, “Let me be like You” or are we praying,”Let me be like others because I don’t want to be different!”?
Are we inclined, because of pressure, to drop our guard and “expand our horizons” even though it takes us to places we should not go?
Are we committed to seeking His heart above all other pressures we face each day?