I Samuel

Yes, I am actually still reading through I Samuel and my posts are lagging behind. I think I fall into the error of thinking that I should have something profound to post or it’s just not interesting enough. (as if I’ve been so profound already! ha!)

My reading has been interesting though, and the posting is a way that helps me to process what I’m reading. So, pride be gone! I’m going to post anyway!

I left off in my last post about I Samuel wondering about Samuel’s sons and the ways Samuel walked, the ways the sons walk and the ways we walk. I also wondered about the appropriateness of Ryrie’s comments that Samuel might’ve been ‘too’ involved in ministry to oversee the spiritual walk of his sons. I am still not convinced that it is an accurate perception of that situation. But, I will leave it for another time. (And Al wanted me to know that he has disagreed with some of Ryrie’s notes in other places too, remember the notes are not Scripture)

Now, the people of Israel have observed Samuel’s sons and their unjust and sinful ways. So they use it to get what they really want, a King! How long have they been discussing the idea of having a king? Was it an idea, then a discussion, then a need? And then the ways of the sons of Samuel provided the opportunity? These are questions I ask that the text here doesn’t really answer, so I won’t go too far down the path of wondering.

The elders of Israel gathered together, then went to Samuel at Ramah (his home). They started with accusations pointing out the sins of Samuel’s sons and reminded Samuel of his age (you’re old!) Remember that the elders had the opportunity to see the fate of Eli and his son’s and their families. Their sins were dealt with according to the prophecy that God gave Samuel. So the collective mind of Israel could’ve come at Samuel with warning and fear of their Holy God.

Constantly God tells the Israelites to remember Him, remember His ways and his commands. To teach their children the events of their past and continually teach about God. I have to think that if they had been doing this, they might’ve approached Samuel differently. These are not just average Israelite citizens, they are the elders, the leaders!

Instead, they come with an agenda – and it’s not to honor God! They used someone else’s sin to promote their own plan. It’s self-centered pragmatism at it’s worst! Were the people of Israel sinned against and God dishonored because Samuel’s sons were unjust? Yes! Was a king the answer? Not God’s answer.

The book of Judges ends with “In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes.” Judges 21:25 So by committee, which is stronger than one man, Israel decides they need a king. When they went to Samuel and demanded their king so they could be like all of the other nations (that should’ve been defeated by Israel, not imitated by Israel), Samuel was displeased. So he prayed.

God tells Samuel to obey the voice of the people because they weren’t rejecting Samuel, they were rejecting God, The King, as their king. God knows they are an adulterous people and have turned against Samuel too. God tells Samuel to warn them about what having a king will mean for the people. The king would take their sons, daughters, property, money, and possessions for his own pleasure and pride. Wow, they thought the sons of Samuel were bad, wait and see what was coming. Oh yeah, not only that, on the day they call out to the LORD because of what they have chosen, the LORD will not answer.

Samuel tells them what God has said and they say, ‘ok, you’re right. We are full of pride and self-love. We repent and call out to the LORD now while he hears us.’ Nope that’s not what they said. They said “No!!, But there shall be a king over us, that we may be like all the nations, and that our king may judge us and go out before us and fight our battles.” What pride! Seriously, they are given a strong warning from God and they say, no, this is the way it’s going to go down.

I could go on about Israel and their repeated failings. But, I have often found myself full of pride and with my own plans and demands from God. And I have the whole Bible to warn me! I am so thankful for God’s grace in my life. That he hears me when I call out to him in repentance. That he is God. I need to remember that God has planned and knows what is best for my life and it is supposed to look different from the ‘other ‘nations’. I don’t want to be like the ‘other nations’, I want to be like Christ.

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