Many of us want to take matters into our own hands. There are some of us who find it difficult to trust others because we are not sure they can meet our standards. Or, we are not sure that they will do things the way that we would do things. We even have a popular saying to reflect this belief. “If you want something done right, do it yourself.” Lest we think that this is something that only we struggle with, the first reading demonstrates a similar attitude with the people of God.
The the people of Israel chose their own kings, as much as they allowed God to be their king. What was the result? Kings built up wealth for themselves, at the expense of the people. The ultimate result is destruction. By taking matters into their own hands, it was not the case that better things resulted. In fact, just the opposite.
The relationship of the Israelites with God parallels our own relationship with God. When we act independent of God, and against his authority, the result is the same for us as it was for the Kings and the people. When we find ourselves relying only on ourselves, the end result is often destruction. Such destruction might not be evident immediately, but over time, little by little, we lose that fulfillment that is the destiny for all human beings.
When we turn away from God, as individuals, whereas a society, we lose our direction. This is what Jesus witnesses in the gospel. His heart is filled with sadness because he witnesses the directionless of the people. They do not have a leader who provides a vision worthy of being followed.
Do we allow God to lead us? Can we allow God to take matters into his hands? The book of Isaiah, we are reminded that without a vision, the people perish. In our minds, we know that God provides a vision that opens for us priorities that lead to spiritual growth. But sometimes it is our will that perceives a different good, one that actually leads to short-term satisfaction but not deep and abiding spiritual growth.
We are not called to be wallflowers when it comes to God. But we are called to recognize that in order to grow spiritually we must realize that God is God and we are not. Today God wants to lead us. Will we let him?