Tuesday, November 15, 2016

God Will Allow a King

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. 
 --I Samuel 8:5-7
 Sunday last I posted this scripture along with the admonition to study the Word.

From the time of Israel's release from bondage in Egypt and their subsequent occupation of the Promised Land up to the time of this account the people, unlike the nations around them, had existed without a king over them.  They had relied on a series of judges, men and women of God, prophets to communicate with God and with the people to maintain leadership and justice in the land.

Samuel's predecessor, Eli, was Israel's thirteenth judge and dispensed justice until the day a messenger brought the news that the military had suffered a serious defeat at the hands of the Philistines and the Philistines had taken The Ark of the Covenant.  Eli, at age ninety-eight and extremely corpulent heard this horrifying news, fell from his seat, broke his neck and died.

Now Samuel, Eli's protege, assumed the role of Israel's leader. He has served in his capacity as judge for forty years and is now himself an elderly man.  He places his sons, Abiah and Joel, in positions of judgeship.  But they are faithless and open their palms, ruling not justly but corruptly.  The people start their plaint,  "Give us a king that we might be even as other nations."

Samuel, distraught, lays this case before the Lord.  God now tells Samuel that the people are not rebelling against Samuel but against God Himself.  Further he says, Let them have what they want and here is what they will get.  For the detailed account of the Lord's word, read verses 11-18 of this chapter.

God's guidelines for living are clear and adequate.  Is it possible that we sometimes, like the Israelites of old, pester Him for something until He gives us what we want to our detriment?


Secondary Roads said...

The story of Eli and his sons Hophni and Phinehas is a sad tale. I find it interesting that Eli's and Samuel's sons were not good men. There's a lesson there for us.

vanilla said...

Chuck, a lesson I have parsed for people on numerous occasions, frequently to distraught parents whose adult children have kicked over the traces. We bring them up in the way, teaching them the best we can, but that adult is a free-moral agent and the parent is not responsible for the choices of the child. Heart-broken,yes, but not responsible.

I found it interesting that the news of the stolen ark and the deaths of Eli's sons not only sparked the death of Eli, but Phineas's wife went into labor and bore a son, she so distraught that she would not even look at the child, named him "Ichabod."

Secondary Roads said...

Excellent advice for grieving parents. (David's Absalom didn't do any better than these did.)

Ichabod for the glory has departed. Twenty years later Samuel leads Israel to a great victory at the same place that humiliating defeat. He set up a stone and called it Ebenezer (Rock of Rescue [or help]), saying "Thus far has the Lord helped us." That's why our church's community center is named the Ebenezer Center.

Vee said...

"God's guidelines for living are clear and adequate." So true.

Grateful for parents who taught us to pray, "Thy will be done."

vanilla said...

Chuck, "Here I'll raise mine Ebenezer." People versed in scripture understand the meaning of this line in the hymn, but did you ever wonder what a newcomer who is unschooled in the Bible thinks when he hears this song?

Vee, grateful: me, too.

Secondary Roads said...

Yes, I have wondered. In the hymn books at our church they've changed to words to, "Here I raise my sign of victory." As I kid I wondered what it meant. Not being a Hebres student, it was in my 60s that I came to a full understanding of eben and ezer.