Monday, July 25, 2011

It's been a while!

The past several weeks have been absolutely crazy, so I haven't had an opportunity to sit down and do much study.  The passage I am looking at today is 1 Samuel 8.

1Sa 8:1-5  And it came to pass, when Samuel was old, that he made his sons judges over Israel.   Now the name of his firstborn was Joel; and the name of his second, Abiah: they were judges in Beersheba.  And his sons walked not in his ways, but turned aside after lucre, and took bribes, and perverted judgment.  Then all the elders of Israel gathered themselves together, and came to Samuel unto Ramah,   And said unto him, Behold, thou art old, and thy sons walk not in thy ways: now make us a king to judge us like all the nations. 

This first part of the chapter talks about Samuel's sons.  It is very sad to see that even though Samuel was the man of God and that he was used mightily of God, his sons did not follow the leadership of their father.

1Sa 8:5-9  And said unto him, Behold, thou art old, and thy sons walk not in thy ways: now make us a king to judge us like all the nations.  But the thing displeased Samuel, when they said, Give us a king to judge us. And Samuel prayed unto the LORD.  And the LORD said unto Samuel, Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee: for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them.   According to all the works which they have done since the day that I brought them up out of Egypt even unto this day, wherewith they have forsaken me, and served other gods, so do they also unto thee. Now therefore hearken unto their voice: howbeit yet protest solemnly unto them, and shew them the manner of the king that shall reign over them. 

The children of Israel wanted a king; they wanted to be like everyone else.  The Lord told Samuel to tell the people exactly what they would get with a king, but He was going to allow the children of Israel to have a king.

1Sa 8:10-18  And Samuel told all the words of the LORD unto the people that asked of him a king.  And he said, This will be the manner of the king that shall reign over you: He will take your sons, and appoint them for himself, for his chariots, and to be his horsemen; and some shall run before his chariots. And he will appoint him captains over thousands, and captains over fifties; and will set them to ear his ground, and to reap his harvest, and to make his instruments of war, and instruments of his chariots.   And he will take your daughters to be confectionaries, and to be cooks, and to be bakers.   And he will take your fields, and your vineyards, and your oliveyards, even the best of them, and give them to his servants.   And he will take the tenth of your seed, and of your vineyards, and give to his officers, and to his servants.  And he will take your menservants, and your maidservants, and your goodliest young men, and your asses, and put them to his work.   He will take the tenth of your sheep: and ye shall be his servants. And ye shall cry out in that day because of your king which ye shall have chosen you; and the LORD will not hear you in that day. 

Samuel tells the people exactly what would happen if they got a king.  He lays out very clearly what the consequences of having a king would be.

1Sa 8:19-20  Nevertheless the people refused to obey the voice of Samuel; and they said, Nay; but we will have a king over us; 
 That we also may be like all the nations; and that our king may judge us, and go out before us, and fight our battles. 

Samuel's instructions didn't even register in the people's mind.   They had made up their minds that no matter what, they wanted a king!

1Sa 8:21-22  And Samuel heard all the words of the people, and he rehearsed them in the ears of the LORD.   And the LORD said to Samuel, Hearken unto their voice, and make them a king. And Samuel said unto the men of Israel, Go ye every man unto his city. 

In the end, the Lord told Samuel to give the people what they wanted.
Looking at this story from the perspective of a parent/child relationship it is interesting that the Lord allowed the children of Israel to have exactly what they wanted.  He warned them that it would lead to great problems, and that it would have serious consequences.  He knew that it was not the best thing for the people, but He allowed them to make a foolish decision.  He could have refused them, but he didn't!

Have we considered that there may be times when we just have to let our children make their own decisions.  We must let them know what the consequences of their actions will be, but sometimes they have to make their own decisions and live with the consequences of those decisions.