I Samuel 8
Many years have passed since I became the head priest of Israel. God had granted us a blissful time of peace. I loved each day.
The time had come, though when I needed to appoint my replacement. I couldn't do the work any more...not all of it. I chose my two sons, Joel and Abijah to judge over the people in my place.
Sigh. Joel and Abijah didn't have the love for God that I had hoped. I had to speak to them on many occasions regarding the wrong things they did and said to the people. I tried to show them by example and teach them how to lead the people, but they didn't want to. They didn't see or know God the way I did.
The Israelites grew frustrated as well. Several came to me to report Joel and Abijah's wrongdoings. My sons stole from the people, took bribes, and judged for the side of the people they liked instead of the one who was innocent or just.
Ever since my sons had been appointed judge the people grumbled. They looked at the other countries near us and how their governments were run. All of the countries in our area had kings...except ours.
I knew we needed a solution but not what the people asked of me. Perhaps God would appoint a new priest. When Eli's sons did not follow God's ways he sent me to the Temple to take his son's place. Maybe God will either change my son's hearts or appoint a new priest. He knows best.
The elders called a meeting here in Ramah to discuss Joel and Abijah's behavior. Their decision involved me.
After they met, a messenger arrived at my door. "Samuel, the elders would like to meet with you."
I invited the men to come to my home, sit down, and share their concerns. "Samuel, you have judged our kingdom--well...for a long time. Now, you are old and your sons do not walk in your ways. We, all of us, think it is time our country appoints a king as judge over our people, like the countries around us. We would like a king."
I looked at the eyes of the all the elders seated before me. They nodded in agreement to each other and at me. My muscles tightened with anger. I closed my eyes because I didn't want to look at them--how could they want a king instead of God?
I stood and pointed to the door. "If you will be so kind to leave. I will pray about your request and let you know what God has said."
The men filed out of my house, not saying a word. I wanted to slam the door, but chose not too. I went out to the field...to the open sky and breathed in His air. I needed God to calm my spirit...I couldn't speak with all the anger raging in my heart.
Soon I felt God's peace, His love softened the tension. My eyes looked toward heaven and I prayed. "Oh Father, great God Almighty. You have heard the words of the elders. They've asked for a king." A tear drip down my cheek and I fell to the ground. How my heart ached.My head flopped against the earth. "I don't know what to say, God. I am empty of words--my heart is ripped in two."
I laid there silently and wept...letting my tears fall to the ground. My body sobbed until there was nothing left to cry. Then the Lord said, "Samuel--."
I sniffed and took a deep breath.
I wiped the tears and answered as I had when God called to me as a child in Eli's care. "Speak, for your servant hears."
The Lord said, "Follow the voice of the people in all that they say to you. The Israelites have not rejected you... they have rejected Me and have decided I should not reign over them. Samuel, they have rejected me from the day I brought them out of Egypt...choosing to worship other gods rather than Me. It is time. Follow the voice of the people. However, you must solemnly forewarn them, and show them what a king will do to this country."
I lay on the ground a while longer, weeping for the people and the decision they made. Life will not be peaceful without God as their king.
1. Who did Samuel choose to help him with his duties?
2. What did his helpers do wrong?
3. What did the elders say to Samuel?
4. What did Samuel do?
5. What did God say?