THE BOOKS OF SAMUEL | Week Six

Rejecting Who You Are

1 Samuel 7:13-17 - So the Philistines were subdued and didn’t invade Israel again for some time. And throughout Samuel’s lifetime, the Lord’s powerful hand was raised against the Philistines. 14 The Israelite villages near Ekron and Gath that the Philistines had captured were restored to Israel, along with the rest of the territory that the Philistines had taken. And there was peace between Israel and the Amorites in those days. 15 Samuel continued as Israel’s judge for the rest of his life. 16 Each year he traveled around, setting up his court first at Bethel, then at Gilgal, and then at Mizpah. He judged the people of Israel at each of these places. 17 Then he would return to his home at Ramah, and he would hear cases there, too. And Samuel built an altar to the Lord at Ramah.

1 Samuel 8:1-3 - As Samuel grew old, he appointed his sons to be judges over Israel. 2 Joel and Abijah, his oldest sons, held court in Beersheba. 3 But they were not like their father, for they were greedy for money. They accepted bribes and perverted justice.

  • Parents, I think this provides us with a stern warning: Our faith is not genetic.
Proverbs 22:6 - "Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it.”
1 Timothy 3:4-5 - “Must manage his own family well, having children who respect and obey him. For if a man cannot manage his own household, how can he take care of God’s church?”
  • What are you teaching your children to prioritize?
  • We cannot take a haphazard approach to raising our children. It takes intentionality. It takes time. It requires an investment.
Deuteronomy 11:18-21 - "So commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these words of mine. Tie them to your hands and wear them on your forehead as reminders. Teach them to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up. Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates, so that as long as the sky remains above the earth, you and your children may flourish in the land the Lord swore to give your ancestors."
  • Note: There is no inclination that Samuel aided or partook of his son’s rebellion as Eli had.
    • Unlike priests, there is no precedent for a lineage of judges from one descendant to the next.
    • It’s likely and can be assumed, that Samuel appointed his sons as judges because at the time they deemed themselves worthy of such an appointment. 

1 Samuel 8:4-5 - Finally, all the elders of Israel met at Ramah to discuss the matter with Samuel. 5 “Look,” they told him, “you are now old, and your sons are not like you. Give us a king to judge us like all the other nations have.”

  • They start off with complaining about Samuel’s sons, and rightly so, but their true intentions are quick to show themselves: The nation desire to look like the nations around them.

1 Samuel 8:6-9 - Samuel was displeased with their request and went to the Lord for guidance. 7 “Do everything they say to you,” the Lord replied, “for they are rejecting me, not you. They don’t want me to be their king any longer. 8 Ever since I brought them from Egypt they have continually abandoned me and followed other gods. And now they are giving you the same treatment. 9 Do as they ask, but solemnly warn them about the way a king will reign over them.”

  • Here again, Samuel models what a life dependent on God looks like.
  • Distressed as he was, he leaves the people with no answer, and goes to the Lord for guidance.
James 1:19 - "Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry.”
  • God allows Samuel to see the larger picture—They are not rejecting Samuel, they’re rejecting God.
Romans 1:28-32 - "Since they thought it foolish to acknowledge God, he abandoned them to their foolish thinking and let them do things that should never be done. 29 Their lives became full of every kind of wickedness, sin, greed, hate, envy, murder, quarreling, deception, malicious behavior, and gossip. 30 They are backstabbers, haters of God, insolent, proud, and boastful. They invent new ways of sinning, and they disobey their parents. 31 They refuse to understand, break their promises, are heartless, and have no mercy. 32 They know God’s justice requires that those who do these things deserve to die, yet they do them anyway. Worse yet, they encourage others to do them, too.”
  • Beyond that, they are rejecting who God called them to be.
  • The nation of Israel was never supposed to be like these other nations! 
Exodus 19:5-6 - “Now if you will obey me and keep my covenant, you will be my own special treasure from among all the peoples on earth; for all the earth belongs to me. And you will be my kingdom of priests, my holy nation."
Deuteronomy 7:5-6 - "This is what you must do. You must break down their pagan altars and shatter their sacred pillars. Cut down their Asherah poles and burn their idols. 6 For you are a holy people, who belong to the Lord your God. Of all the people on earth, the Lord your God has chosen you to be his own special treasure.”
1 Peter 2:9,11 - “But you are not like that, for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light. 11 Dear friends, I warn you as “temporary residents and foreigners” to keep away from worldly desires that wage war against your very souls.”
  • God is pulling us out, setting us apart, and yet, our proclivity is to dive headlong into the things of the world. 
Deuteronomy 11:26-28 - “Look, today I am giving you the choice between a blessing and a curse! 27 You will be blessed if you obey the commands of the Lord your God that I am giving you today. 28 But you will be cursed if you reject the commands of the Lord your God and turn away from him and worship gods you have not known before.”

1 Samuel 8:10-18 - So Samuel passed on the Lord’s warning to the people who were asking him for a king. 11 “This is how a king will reign over you,” Samuel said. “The king will draft your sons and assign them to his chariots and his charioteers, making them run before his chariots. 12 Some will be generals and captains in his army, some will be forced to plow in his fields and harvest his crops, and some will make his weapons and chariot equipment. 13 The king will take your daughters from you and force them to cook and bake and make perfumes for him. 14 He will take away the best of your fields and vineyards and olive groves and give them to his own officials. 15 He will take a tenth of your grain and your grape harvest and distribute it among his officers and attendants. 16 He will take your male and female slaves and demand the finest of your cattle and donkeys for his own use. 17 He will demand a tenth of your flocks, and you will be his slaves. 18 When that day comes, you will beg for relief from this king you are demanding, but then the Lord will not help you.”

  • Using the model of the kingdoms around them, Samuel lays out the cost of appointing a king.
  • He is begging the elders to consider the price they are willing to pay.

1 Samuel 8:19-20 - But the people refused to listen to Samuel’s warning. “Even so, we still want a king,” they said. 20 “We want to be like the nations around us. Our king will judge us and lead us into battle.”

  • Their request has transformed into a demand.
  • Their desire to conform, to fit in, was so great that they were willing to pay any price.
  • God wasn’t upset with their request for a king. He was upset with the position of their heart. 
    • God’s purpose was to set the nation of Israel apart in order to display His goodness throughout the earth.
    • Instead, the Israelites continue to reject the people God has called them to be.
  • Where are you rejecting God’s call?

1 Samuel 8:21-22 - So Samuel repeated to the Lord what the people had said, 22 and the Lord replied, “Do as they say, and give them a king.” Then Samuel agreed and sent the people home.