Summary: The Life of Samuel, Part 5 of 5.
THEY LOVE ME, THEY LOVE ME NOT (1 SAM. 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.
Finally, East Europeans joke for decades on the difference between Capitalism and Communism: “In Capitalism, man exploits man. In Communism, the reverse is true!”
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)