When Samuel grew old, he appointed his sons as judges over Israel. 2 His firstborn son’s name was Joel and his second was Abijah. They were judges in Beer-sheba. 3 However, his sons did not walk in his ways—they turned toward dishonest gain, took bribes, and perverted justice.
Ugh. That’s all I can say. More sons that did not follow their father in serving God. So sad. I know there are things that parents can do or not do to encourage their children to know God for who He is. I know that there is nothing that brings more joy to a parent then watching their children follow God. But sadly, this scene from thousands of years ago, was not a rare occurrence, and still plays out today. So this is especially sobering. This is a reminder to me today, that more than school, activities, and relationships, our number one focus as parents has to be to instill this knowledge of God and model this relationship with God, worshiping side by side with them, in our home, and at our church, especially while they are still young. There is nothing more pressing or important on my daily to do list. Nothing.
4 So all the elders of Israel gathered together and went to Samuel at Ramah. 5 They said to him, “Look, you are old, and your sons do not follow your example. Therefore, appoint a king to judge us the same as all the other nations have.”
Yeah, so the elders see this as their opportunity to get the king they have been wanting for a while. “We want to be just like the other countries….wah!” Oh wow. Does that sound familiar? Is anyone else regularly blown away about how studying Samuel is like reading the newspaper? Same problems. Different day. Wow. Seriously, “we want to be like all the other countries,” I am pretty sure I have heard that recently. Well, Europe does this. Holland does this. Sweden does this. Why aren’t we doing that? I have also heard this same reasoning from my children, although very rarely, because they just know that doesn’t fly. They know that we raise our family by God’s rules, and by mommy and daddy’s rules, and it doesn’t matter what so and so does! Which brings up the importance, the necessity of of having the definitive moral guidelines we find in the Bible. We live in a time where moral relativism is celebrated. “Follow your heart!” people say. “Just love!” But when a man’s heart tells him to cheat on his wife, what then? When a woman’s heart tells her she is tired of being a mom, what then? When a child’s heart tells him to smack his brother and grab his toy, what then? No, it doesn’t work. “As long as you are not hurting someone” they might say, well, come on. Really? When I married Paul I am pretty sure thousands of girls were hurting all over south Florida (winky face, smile) Does that mean I shouldn’t have married him? God gave us a commandments. No ambiguity there. So many of the pain and horror all of the globe would be eliminated, if people just followed the top ten. TEN!! No coveting, no stealing, no adultery, loving God with all your heart? Yes. There is no greater compass than the one we find in the Bible.
6 When they said, “Give us a king to judge us,” Samuel considered their demand sinful, so he prayed to the Lord. 7 But the Lord told him, “Listen to the people and everything they say to you. They have not rejected you; they have rejected Me as their king. 8 They are doing the same thing to you that they have done to Me,<sup class="footnote" value="[a]”>[a] since the day I brought them out of Egypt until this day, abandoning Me and worshiping other gods. 9 Listen to them, but you must solemnly warn them and tell them about the rights of the king who will rule over them.”
I love how Samuel brings his concerns to the Lord, and how our Lord takes the burden from him. “They have rejected me, not you.” This reminder is all throughout the Bible, because the Lord knows our hearts. We take things personally. All.the.time. Especially in this day and age. So Christian, let me remind you. The world, that is angry, and bitter and rude, and mocks your Bible, and your Savior? They are not rejecting you. Take it to the Lord and let Him carry it. His shoulders are so strong. And let this give us confidence, to keep standing and proclaiming.
19 The people refused to listen to Samuel. “No!” they said. “We must have a king over us. 20 Then we’ll be like all the other nations: our king will judge us, go out before us, and fight our battles.”
I really encourage you to read the whole chapter. It reads like a page out of the headlines. The people want to be just like the other countries. God warns them, through Samuel, but ends up giving them what they want. I pray for mercy for our country, that we would heed the words of the Bible that our country was founded on. That we would not continue to stray from the firm foundation that was laid. And I pray that our families would do the same. That we would hold tight to the living Word, and pass that on so intentionally to our children that we would avoid the pain and suffering brought on by our own disobedience to a just and loving God.