Summary: Just because a leader is elected doesn’t mean that he chosen by God.
God’s Concession Speech
This past Tuesday and Wednesday the world watched as Americans went to the polls to exercise their constitutional right to vote. After 7pm, the candidates running for office who did not receive a majority of the popular votes conceded to their opponent by giving a speech. For the record, to concede means to confess, admit as being true, or to acknowledge defeat. Though Kerry and Daschle both gave concession speeches they weren’t the first, nor will they be the last. In the pages of scripture, God too gave a concession speech. One might say that He prefaced His speech in Genesis when He said, “His Spirit will not always strive with man.” In our text, God was no longer popular with the people. The people felt as if He was irrelevant and unable to meet their needs as they advanced as a nation. Within the walls of our text, God, having lost the popular vote, and failed to secure the electoral votes conceded by giving a speech through His former running mate, the Honorable Prophet Samuel. The first thing we notice in our text is:
I. The Problem (found in vs. 1-3)
a. The prophet Samuel appointed his two sons to become judges over Israel. It seems as if Samuel was trying to create a dynasty. He placed his sons in a position where they were charged with judging all the people righteously instead they had some favorites. Samuel was a godly man, yet his children went astray. But you can’t be in a position of leadership, claiming to be on God’s side, all the while judging with partiality.
b. The Bible says that they, “turned aside after dishonest gain, took bribes, and perverted justice.” In other words they only supported those who would make them wealthy. If you didn’t have any money, or any high-ranking social status then you were, unfortunately, oppressed in the name of God.
i. You can be in a position of favor, and receive blessings, yet be out of favor with God. These two used their religious positions, backed by the name of God to gain political and material advantages. They gave perks to the wealthy. And if you had a problem with those in power, Joel and Abijah were bought off by the corporate powers that be, so you didn’t have a fighting chance.
c. Many confess God but do not serve God. And the last time my Bible defined authority the picture was clear that you had to be a servant leader to all the people.
II. The People (vs. 4-5)
a. The Bible teaches that when the blind leads the blind they all fall into the ditch. Here we see in verse four that the elders of the people, the senate and the house, came together and told Samuel that they wanted a king like all the other nations, because his sons were not walking with God. They saw an opportunity to pursue their mandate because of the failures and mistakes of others-minimizing God!
b. They were elders, and instead of them using their influence to unite the people, they sold the people a lie damaging their unique relationship with God.
i. This teaches us that neither the leaders nor the people were praying and seeking God. Then they were trying to get from a man what they had with God. According to verse 20, they wanted a king who would fight for them and lead to them “vigorously” toward victory.