Summary: Samuel, Pt. 5 (Final)
THEY LOVE ME, THEY LOVE ME NOT (1 SAMUEL 8, 12:16-25)
A joke on the management of cows has been circulating for many years under the subject “World Economics,” “World Politics,” or “World Ideologies”:
Communism: You have two cows. The government takes both, milks them, keeps the milk, and gives you a pint.
Socialism: The government takes one of your cows and gives it to a neighbor.
Fascism: The government takes both your cows and shoots one of them.
Nazism: The government takes both cows and shoots you.
Capitalism: You milk both cows, sell one of the cows, and buy a bull.
Bureaucracy: The government takes both cows, milks them, and pours the milk down the drain.
A more original saying on the mockery of law in USA, Germany, Russia and France is stated this way:
In the US, everything that is not prohibited by law is permitted.
In Germany, everything that is not permitted by law is prohibited.
In Russia, everything is prohibited, even if permitted by law.
In France, everything is permitted, even if prohibited by law.
The transition from the old order of the judges to the new order of the monarchy in Israel was a painful experience for Samuel. After more than twenty years of distinguished, outstanding and sacrificial service (1 Sam 7:2), Samuel discovered that he was not wanted anymore. Samuel made a big mistake by appointing his two sons as judges (1 Sam 8:1-2). The appointment of judges was the prerogative of God, and not Samuel or other men (Judg 2:16, 18). Samuel’s sons were scoundrels, yet God did not punish Samuel’s sons with the same severity as He did with Eli’s sons. Their sons were not in same league. Eli’s sons were immoral and Samuel’s sons were unethical. Eli’s sons were wicked; they had no regard for the LORD (1 Sam 2:12) and their sin was very great in the Lord’s sight (1 Sam 2:17). The expression “sin was very great” is a one-of-a-kind expression in the Bible. Samuel was guilty of nepotism and ignorance, but not deceit. Samuel, who had not so much as taken a dime from people (1 Sam 12:3-4), had sons that profited obscenely from their father’s influence in Israel.
Have you ever felt what it was like when people let you down, when things go downhill and when ties are strained? Or that your position, authority and record no longer factor much, count for something, or carry that much weight? What are we to do if we are ushered out the front door after years of faithful service?
Get Mad, But Don’t Get Even
8:1 When Samuel grew old, he appointed his sons as judges for Israel. 2 The name of his firstborn was Joel and the name of his second was Abijah, and they served at Beersheba. 3 But his sons did not walk in his ways. They turned aside after dishonest gain and accepted bribes and perverted justice. 4 So all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah. 5 They said to him, “You are old, and your sons do not walk in your ways; now appoint a king to lead us, such as all the other nations have.” 6 But when they said, “Give us a king to lead us,” this displeased Samuel; so he prayed to the LORD. (1 Sam 8:1-6)
17 Is it not wheat harvest now? I will call upon the LORD to send thunder and rain. And you will realize what an evil thing you did in the eyes of the LORD when you asked for a king.” 18 Then Samuel called upon the LORD, and that same day the LORD sent thunder and rain. So all the people stood in awe of the LORD and of Samuel. 19 The people all said to Samuel, “Pray to the LORD your God for your servants so that we will not die, for we have added to all our other sins the evil of asking for a king.”
(1 Sam 12:16-19)
Abraham Lincoln, America’s most popular president, was anything but beloved while he was in office. The South hated him. The anti-war activists hated him. Democrats hated him, calling him a widow-maker. The media ridiculed his eyes, looks and body, calling him a freak of nature. Harpers magazine so much as to call him a host of names in print: filthy story teller, despot, liar, thief, braggart, buffoon, usurper, monster, ignoramus Abe, old scoundrel, perjurer, swindler, tyrant, field-butcher, land-pirate.
Lincoln, however, would not stoop down to the level of his critics. He won over a lot of his enemies and critics by holding fast to this famous principle “With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right.”
Samuel did not react to the problem, but prayed about the problem. He experienced a serious round of disappointment. His children let him down, the Israelites let him down, the elders let him down, but deep in his heart, he felt that he had let himself and the Lord down. How else could he explain how his children had turned out so crooked, so greedy and so ungodly? His world was turned upside down, the elders met behind secret doors and the people eyed for a king. The elders pressured him to relinquish his duties, had a B plan up their sleeves and ordered him to do as they said (v 4). They had it all figured out, mapped out and laid out for him.