Summary: The push is on for Christians to be less separated and more like everyone else. That’s a generic Christianity. God wants a separated people who let Him be their leader.
Generic – If you have ever had to purchase any type of medication, you certainly have heard of that word before. Generic means that there is no brand name, only a common content description used by every manufacturer. One generic is the same as the next and there is no difference between the original and the copy. I don’t think that this is true in all medications, but I know that it’s not true when it comes to being a Christian.
There are a lot of Christians who want to be generic Christians. They don’t want to be labeled Pentecostal, Methodist, Baptist, Presbyterian or any other label. They just want to be called Christians. Now there isn’t anything wrong with being called a Christian, and there are times when “Brand Names” of religion really do act as barriers to the unity of the Body of Christ. So desiring to be called Christian without the Brand is understandable and even commendable for those who believe the truth and live by it and don’t want any stigmatism to become a dividing factor.
But this message isn’t really about those people who are honest and sincere in their trust and relationship with the Lord. This message is concerns those who just don’t want to stand out from the crowd. They want to be called Christians but they don’t want to be too holy so that they can blend in with the worldly crowd and they don’t want to seem so worldly that they can’t blend in with other Christians either.
Israel had come to the place where they were tired of being different. They didn’t like the idea of allowing God to lead them through the leadership of his chosen judges. They wanted to be like every other nation and be ruled by a King.
Samuel had ruled as a judge over Israel for many years and finally, when he became too old and weak to rule, his office passed to his two sons. Those two sons, Joel and Abiah, ruled over Israel but they were unjust judges. Their rulings were easily swayed by offering them bribes. Filthy lucre (wealth and power) became their guiding factors and not the voice of the Lord. Every decision they made was in favor of the highest bidder in the court.
We see this same thing going on in our own court system. I’m not necessarily accusing any specific judges of taking bribes but I’m sure that some do. Even though I cannot point a finger of accusation at anyone in particular, how many of you know that if you have enough money to hire the best lawyers that you can get away with anything. In that fashion, we are still selling out righteous judgment to the highest bidder.
I can’t really blame Israel for not wanting to put up with unjust judges, but two wrongs don’t make a right. Desiring to want a king to rule over them instead of judges who were supposed to be directed by God wasn’t the right choice to make.
The right choice would have been to seek the face of God, turn from their sin, quit looking for man to have their answers and trust in the Lord to guide them in his perfect will.
It has been my experience in dealing with people that the last thing most people do is seek the will of God for anything they really want to do.
We will look to doctors, we will look to psychologists, we will look to the scientist, we want the opinion of the banker and we will even counsel with the preacher, but we won’t look to God or his Word. We would rather have the bigoted opinions of the flawed thinking processes of a man rather than the absolute truth of an unchanging God. We can’t get too angry with Israel when we find ourselves guilty of the same thing.
Let’s begin reading the account of Israel’s rebellion against God’s leadership by turning to 1 Samuel 8:4-10.
1 Samuel 8:4-10, "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. 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. And Samuel told all the words of the LORD unto the people that asked of him a king."