The story of God's people has multiple plotlines, and one is God's plan to make us into a kingdom of priests.
God has always desired for his people to live distinctive lives in this world, so that they could be a shining light to those in their orbit.
One of the distinguishing characteristics of the Hebrews was their identity as an interdependent community under his direct leadership - a kingdom of priests.
Yet, Israel did not want to stand apart from the surrounding nations in this way. They imitated their neighbors instead. They begged for a king to lead the nation, to subdue their enemies, and to resolve their conflicts.
A priesthood, where they all had a shared responsibility, seemed like hard work by comparison. Such interdependence would require humility, vulnerability, sacrifice.
So yes, they negotiated with God and got their king. Ironically, under King David’s rule, God’s original plan for a distinctive kingdom of priests found glorious, if fleeting, expression.
Can you imagine the awkwardness of explaining their invisible king to their neighbors.
The entire nation moved past the protocols of Moses’ era and briefly brushed up against God’s tangible presence in David’s makeshift tent.
A thousand years before Jesus split the veil of the temple and gave every believer unlimited access to God’s presence, a generation of Jews engaged in worship as a community of priests!