Samuel – A Lifetime Serving God
· Israel has repented (7:6), Samuel is now judge (7:15), and he becomes a "circuit preacher". Samuel travels between Bethel, Gilgal, Mizpah and Ramah. (7:16)
· Once the ark was captured, the tabernacle was probably destroyed. Eli and his sons were dead; hence there was no reason for Samuel to stay in Shiloh. So he goes home. (7:17, 1:1)
· Samuel's parents (if they were still alive) had gotten back what they had given up.
· Somewhere along the way, Samuel had two sons who followed their father into God's service (8:1). However, they did not follow Samuel's example, and were caught up in sin (8:3).
· This raises two questions:
1. Were Samuel's sons guilty of sin when he appointed them judges?
2. Did Samuel rebuke his sons when he found out about their deeds?
· We're not given the answers to these questions, but consider these things. Would Samuel forget the message the Lord gave Samuel the first time he heard the Lord speak? The sons served in Beersheba, which was some distance away, nearly 50 miles. Also, verse 3 seems to indicate the sons turned away after they became judges.
· Was Samuel responsible? Are we as parents responsible for our children's actions?
· In another irony, the sons' betrayal of their father foreshadows Israel's rejection of God
· Samuel had to find out about his sons' behavior from the elders. Rather embarrassing, I'd say.
· Then comes the bombshell. The elders use this as an excuse to ask for a king (v. 5).
· To Samuel, it seemed like they were rejecting him as leader. Add to that the revelations about his sons, Samuel was troubled. But he did the right thing, he prayed. (v. 6)
· How does prayer help in these kinds of situations?
· The Lord pointed out that Israel was really rejecting God, not Samuel (v. 7).
· Israel's request was not based on spiritual reasoning, but was simply the way things were done in the pagan world around them. It's God's way vs. the world's way.
· No evidence that Israel had consulted God on this, they just decided and wanted it.
· God goes on to tell them 'Be careful what you wish for…" (v. 12-18)
· It must have been hard for Samuel to resign himself to this decision (v. 21-23)
#1) As parents we have no guarantees that our children will never make decisions that are out of God's will
#2) We must always be on guard against losing perspective and forgetting what God has done for us.
#3) God has given us freedom, but He wants us to function within His divine guidelines.
For next week read I Samuel 8:21-10:1 (Outlines are available at http://www.jeffkouba.com/SundaySchool/)