Samuel – A Lifetime Serving God
· Samuel was born at a troubled time in Israel's history. Judges says "everyone did as he saw fit". Israel had forgotten the warnings of Joshua and Moses.
· At the end of his life, Joshua told the Hebrews what they needed to do to survive. He told them to throw away foreign gods and choose the One True God. (Josh. 24:14,15)
· The people listened, but in only one generation, the Israelites had abandoned God's ways. Note the progression:
i. Joshua's generation - People served the Lord (Judges 2:7)
ii. The next generation - They failed to teach their children (Judges 2:10)
iii. The next generation - They did evil in the sight of the Lord (Judges 2:11)
· How did that happen? How did godly people forget to teach the next generation?
· How did that happen in our country? Between the 1940s and now, especially starting in the 1960s, this country moved away from God. Why did we forget so quickly?
· "Be Careful to Obey" (6:3) Why? So it would go well for you…
· "Love the Lord Your God" (6:4-6) Note the total involvement, a conscious commitment
· "Impress Them on Your Children" (6:6-9) Children will not figure it out on their own…
· "Be Careful that You Do Not Forget the Lord" (6:10-11) The Promised Land waiting for the Hebrews would already have cities, water, crops, livelihoods waiting for them. They wouldn't have to do all the building from scratch. But they were to remember that it was God who gave them all this. Sadly, there were also foreign gods already waiting for them…
· Joshua practiced what he preached. First, he followed God's law faithfully (Josh. 1:7)
· As Moses said, Joshua followed God with all his heart and soul (Josh. 1:8)
· These godly leaders led by example, The people responded. In America, did we forget to lead by example? Did we forget to make a complete commitment to what is right?
· For the next 300 years, the Israelites repeated a tragic pattern. They sinned, and suffered at the hands of their enemies. They cried out, God sent judges to show them they way. They responded for a time, and then "did evil in the sight of the Lord" again (Judges 3:12)
#1) It is God's will that the men and women who lead His people model God-fearing lives. (See Exod. 18:21, Deut. 1:13, and I Tim. 3:1-3.)
#2) Having God-fearing leaders does not guarantee that God's people will always do God's will.
#3) People chosen to lead - even by God Himself - do not always remain faithful and free from sin.
#4) It only takes one generation for degeneration to take place among God's people.
For next week, read I Samuel 1:1-20