Nay; but we will have a king over us; that we also may be like all the nations. 1 Samuel 8:19, 20.
The Hebrews demanded a king of Samuel, like the nations around them. By preferring a despotic monarch to the wise and mild government of God Himself, by the jurisdiction of His prophets, they showed a great want of faith in God, and confidence in His providence to raise them up rulers to lead and govern them. The children of Israel being peculiarly the people of God, their form of government was essentially different from all the nations around them. God had given them statutes and laws, and had chosen their rulers for them, and these leaders the people were to obey in the Lord. In all cases of difficulty and great perplexity, God was to be inquired of. Their demand for a king was a rebellious departure from God, their special leader. He knew that a king would not be best for His chosen people…. If they had a king, whose hearts was lifted up and not right with God, he would lead them away from Him, and cause them to rebel against Him. The Lord knew that no one could occupy the position of king, and receive the honors usually given to a king, without becoming exalted, and their ways seem right in their own eyes, while at the same time they were sinning against God.
God had separated the Israelites from every other people, to make them His own peculiar treasure. But they, disregarding this high honor, eagerly desired to imitate the example of the heathen! And still the longing to conform to worldly practices and customs exists among the professed people of God. As they depart from the Lord they become ambitious for the gains and honors of the world. Christians are constantly seeking to imitate the practices of those who worship the God of this world. Many urge that by uniting with worldlings and conforming to their customs they might exert a stronger influence over the ungodly. But all who pursue this course thereby separate from the Source of their strength. Becoming the friends of the world, they are the enemies of God.
Conflict and Courage p. 146
—–update— I’m out of the hospital and home. I talked with my precious daddy last night, and the symptoms I told him I have, said it sounds like AFib. Being treated for angina and now on 81mg aspirin along with blood pressure medicine to keep my heart from racing again. I’ll find out more when I see the cardiologist. Thank you for your continued prayers. God knows what is going on and I’m leaving this in His capable hands. Jan
—–My niece, Valerie, was in a car accident yesterday. She is sore, but otherwise unhurt. Please pray for her as she is caring for her three grandchildren and a husband who has a brain injury. Pray for her daughter who is unable to care for her children that the doctors will be able to give her the proper treatment. Rose
When we had a television, I used to enjoy watching the Discovery Health Channel. In one program a little boy kept hearing noises. Finally a doctor found that he had two spiders in his ear. This reminded me of a time many years ago, when my grandmother was going about her daily routine and suddenly, she felt something very strange inside her nose. She wondered why all of a sudden she felt like something was crawling around in there. She started sneezing and sneezing, but instead of being sneezed out, a tiny bug, which had somehow been breathed in, was drawn up into her sinuses. My grandmother, who had felt fine just moments before, now felt like she had a terrible cold as her body tried to rid itself of that foreign substance. That bug must have held on tightly, because he stayed inside no matter what she did
A few days of misery followed as that bug caused a very bad sinus infection. Finally my grandmother went to the doctor. After trying several easy things to get that bug out, he finally had to remove it surgically. At last my grandmother was rid of that offending creature. Then she could heal from the infection it had caused.
Sin is like that tiny bug. Once it gets inside, it holds on even tighter than that bug did. Once we allow it even a tiny entrance, it takes over everything. We can fool ourselves into believing that we can stop sinning any time we want to. But when we try to get rid of it, we cannot. We can only say as did the apostle Paul, “O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” Rom 7:24
Praise God! We have Someone Who is waiting to help us. He longs to save us from our sins. He wants to cleanse us before it is too late. He pleads, “As I live, saith the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways, for why will ye die?” Eze 33:11 “Turn ye even to me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning: And rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the LORD your God: for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness. Joel 2:12,13
Jesus is “the way, the truth, and the life.” John 14:6 He “gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father: To whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.” Gal 1:4 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16
Therefore “we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world, Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ, Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works. Titus 2:12-14
Nay; but we will have a king over us; that we also may be like all the nations. 1 Samuel 8:19, 20.
We have sinned against the Lord…. Cry unto the Lord our God for us. 1 Samuel 7:6, 8.
Samuel visited the cities and villages throughout the land, seeking to turn the hearts of the people to the God of their fathers; and his efforts were not without good results. After suffering the oppression of their enemies for twenty years, the Israelites “mourned after the Lord.” Samuel counseled them, “If ye do return unto the Lord with all your hearts, then put away the strange gods and Ashtaroth from among you, and prepare your hearts unto the Lord, and serve him only.” Here we see that practical piety, heart religion, was taught in the days of Samuel as taught by Christ when He was upon the earth. Without the grace of Christ the outward forms of religion were valueless to ancient Israel. They are the same to modern Israel.
There is need today of such a revival of true heart religion as was experienced by ancient Israel. Repentance is the first step that must be taken by all who would return to God. No one can do this work for another. We must individually humble our souls before God and put away our idols. When we have done all that we can do, the Lord will manifest to us His salvation….
A large assembly was gathered at Mizpeh. Here a solemn fast was held. With deep humiliation the people confessed their sins; and as an evidence of their determination to obey the instructions they had heard, they invested Samuel with the authority of judge….
While Samuel was in the act of presenting a lamb as a burnt offering, the Philistines drew near for battle…. A terrible storm burst upon the advancing host, and the earth was strewn with the dead bodies of mighty warriors. The Israelites had stood in silent awe, trembling with hope and fear. When they beheld the slaughter of their enemies, they knew that God had accepted their repentance….
For nations as well as for individuals, the path of obedience to God is the path of safety and happiness, while that of transgression leads only to disaster and defeat.
Conflict and Courage p. 145
—–I’ve been admitted to the hospital with an enlarged heart. My heartbeat is over 120. Please pray for me. Jan
There are times when decisions we have made in the past overwhelm us. Many times we wish we could live our life over again. Often we feel like our sins are rising up to crush us. We are in despair. We are helpless to undo the past. We cannot save ourselves. How often we exclaim as did Isaiah “But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags, and we all do fade as a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.” Yet, he does not leave us without hope. “Behold, the LORD’S hand is not shortened, that it cannot save, neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear: But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.” Isa 64:6, 59:1,2
Solomon tells us, “He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.” Prov 28:13 God is attentively listening for our prayer of repentance. He is longing for us to return to Him. He pleads with us, “As I live, saith the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways, for why will ye die?” Eze 33:11 “Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else.” Isa 45:22 “Turn ye even to me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning: And rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the LORD your God: for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness.” Joel 2:12 “Turn ye unto me, saith the LORD of hosts, and I will turn unto you, saith the LORD of hosts.” Zec 1:3 “And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.” Jer 29:13 Precious promises!
Micah assures us, “He will turn again, he will have compassion upon us, he will subdue our iniquities, and thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea.” Micah 7:19 John adds, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness….My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world. And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments.” 1John 1:9-2:3 Thank God! He is “not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” 2 Peter 3:9 Praise God! He has provided a way of cleansing! “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16
Praise God! We can begin again. May we cling to God’s mercy and say as did Jacob, “I will not let thee go, except thou bless me” and accept abundantly of His grace, which He so freely offers is my prayer. Gen 32:26
And the child Samuel ministered unto the Lord before Eli. 1 Samuel 3:1.
Young as he was when brought to minister in the tabernacle, Samuel had even then duties to perform in the service of God, according to his capacity. These were at first very humble, and not always pleasant; but they were performed to the best of his ability, and with a willing heart….
If children were taught to regard the humble round of everyday duties as the course marked out for them by the Lord, as a school in which they were to be trained to render faithful and efficient service, how much more pleasant and honorable would their work appear. To perform every duty as unto the Lord, throws a charm around the humblest employment and links the workers on earth with the holy beings who do God’s will in heaven.
The life of Samuel from early childhood had been a life of piety and devotion. He had been placed under the care of Eli in his youth, and the loveliness of his character drew forth the warm affection of the aged priest. He was kind, generous, diligent, obedient, and respectful. The contrast between the course of the youth Samuel and that of the priest’s own sons was very marked, and Eli found rest and comfort and blessing in the presence of his charge. It was a singular thing that between Eli, the chief magistrate of the nation, and the simple child so warm a friendship should exist. Samuel was helpful and affectionate, and no father ever loved his child more tenderly than did Eli this youth. As the infirmities of age came upon Eli, he felt more keenly the disheartening, reckless, profligate course of his own sons, and he turned to Samuel for comfort and support.
How touching to see youth and old age relying one upon the other, the youth looking up to the aged for counsel and wisdom, the aged looking to the youth for help and sympathy. This is as it should be. God would have the young possess such qualifications of character that they shall find delight in the friendship of the old, that they may be united in the endearing bonds of affection to those who are approaching the borders of the grave.
Conflict and Courage p. 144
——Please continue to pray for Adrian and his friend who are in critical condition after an accident. Eileen
——Please pray for B as he makes an important decision. L
About thirty years ago my mother had taken her aunt Blanche out to eat at a restaurant and was driving to her house, when, suddenly, the car accelerated to full speed. They were on a short, quiet side-street that had at the end a group of trees. My mother had been driving about 25 miles an hour, but when the car started running at top speed, she was instantly going over 80. The two women could see the trees looming closer. My mother tried the brakes, but they were powerless to stop the car’s racing engine. My mother just did not know what to do. She knew if they continued as they were, in just a few moments their lives would be over. Fear and panic swept over her.
Auntie Blanche looked over at my mother and could see the terror written on her face. Calmly she said, “Geneva, what is it that makes the car run? What should you do to keep gas from flowing into the engine?”
My mother looked at her, reached up and turned off the key. As soon as she did that, the car began to slow down. Then my mother could apply the brakes successfully and stop the car at the side of the road.
The two of them sat there for a few minutes trying to calm their racing hearts. Then they walked to my mother’s house a block or two away. This was very difficult for Auntie Blanche, who had rhumatoid arthritis and walked with two canes, but she did not complain: she was too thankful to be alive.
When the mechanic looked at my mother’s car, he quickly found the problem. A little spring had broken and fallen off causing the car to run wide open. That little spring was only a little part to a large engine, but it was a very important part.
It is this way in God’s church. Paul uses the illustration of the body. He writes, “For the body is not one member, but many. If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling? But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him. And if they were all one member, where were the body? But now are they many members, yet but one body. And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you. Nay, much more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary: And those members of the body, which we think to be less honourable, upon these we bestow more abundant honour; and our uncomely parts have more abundant comeliness. For our comely parts have no need: but God hath tempered the body together, having given more abundant honour to that part which lacked: That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another. And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it. 1 Cor 12:14-26
In His eyes, each person is like that little spring. Each individual is important to Him. “How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand. 139:17,18 He has redeemed us. We are His children. He loves each of us with an everlasting love.
Sometimes those in a responsible positions are tempted to think that they are more important to God than others. But each person is important in God’s sight. We might be tempted to think of someone as usless, but God sees them in a whole different way. As He told Samuel so long ago, “for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart.” 1 Sam 16:7 He sees the motives, He sees the love and devotion for God, He hears the humble soul’s petition.
May we see others as God sees them. May we draw together in truth and love. May we reach out to those we meet and bring them to the foot of the cross.
The iniquity of Eli’s house shall not be purged with sacrifice nor offering for ever. 1 Samuel 3:14.
Eli did not manage his household according to God’s rules for family government. He followed his own judgment…. Many are now making a similar mistake. They think they know a better way of training their children than that which God has given in His word. They foster wrong tendencies in them, urging as an excuse. “They are too young to be punished. Wait till they become older, and can be reasoned with.” Thus wrong habits are left to strengthen until they become second nature. The children grow up without restraint, with traits of character that are a lifelong curse to them and are liable to be reproduced in others.
In contrast with the story of Abraham’s faithfulness, and the words of commendation spoken of him, is the record of Eli, who kept his sons in office while they were committing great iniquity. Here is a lesson for all parents…. Evil, without restraint, was tolerated by Eli. The result was sin that would not be atoned for, by sacrifice or by offerings, forevermore.
While some err upon the side of undue severity, Eli went to the opposite extreme…. Their faults were overlooked in their childhood, and excused in their days of youth. The commands of the parents were disregarded, and the father did not enforce obedience.
The children saw that they could hold the lines of control, and they improved the opportunity. As the sons advanced in years, they lost all respect for their fainthearted father. They went on in sin without restraint. He remonstrated with them, but his words fell unheeded. Gross sins and revolting crimes were daily committed by them, until the Lord Himself visited with judgment the transgressors of His law….
The Lord Himself decreed that for the sins of Eli’s sons no atonement should be made by sacrifice or offering forever. How great, how lamentable, was their fall,—men upon whom rested sacred responsibilities, proscribed, outlawed from mercy, by a just and holy God!
Conflict and Courage p. 143
—–Please continue to pray for Adrian and his friend who have many injuries from the car accident. Adrian not only has severe head injuries but also broken and dislocated ribs and many other fractures. Pray also for his family as they deal with this heartbreak. Eileen
When we lived in Washington state, our church used to go camping together. It was a good time of fellowship and enjoyment of the beautiful world that God has made. One time when I had let Esther Marie go walking with some of the other children, they saw a dog in the woods. It was very thin and half-wild. I have always cautioned my children about strange dogs, but Esther felt so sorry for the little sandy colored dog that she fed it some of the potato chips she was eating. The dog wagged her tail and hurgrily gobbled up the chips.
Esther’s tender heart just could not leave that little animal out there in the woods all alone to starve. A plan began to form in her mind. She would take that stray dog home with her. As the children hurried back to camp, the sandy-colored dog followed at a distance. As they neared the camp, the dog’s whole look changed. She became terrified and shook with fear, but the emptiness of her stomach drew her nearer. As Esther and the other girls fed her, she got closer. She cowered underneath the picnic table when any adult came near. She had obviously been mistreated by adults.
All three of my children begged and pleaded to keep the dog. Eileen’s dog had died a year earlier and she had missed him so much, that it was hard to say no. Normally the children knew that if they begged and pleaded for something they would not get it, however in this case, I relented a little. It was obvious that this dog would not survive long in the woods. I told them that if they could talk someone into taking the dog to our house, they could keep her.
Immediately they began to ask everyone. I felt quite sure they would not find anyone, but one family said they would do it. They lured the dog in their van and put it on our screened porch. When we got home from the several hour trip, there was not a sign of a dog. Finally we found her cowering in fear under a table. I told the children to ignore her as she had had enough terror for one day.
Over a period of time, she gradually began to trust us, but even then her eyes would often fill with fear. She was especially afraid of Ron. That bothered him. He would come home from work at night and sit on the steps and toss her dogfood piece by piece to her. She stayed about 10 feet from him. It took weeks before she would eat by his feet. Finally the day came when he reached out and touched her while Eileen held her. For years when he would pet her, she shake with fear. Whatever she had experienced in her first few years of life must have been very frightening for her.
We all go through trials and heartaches, we can feel so alone. But there is Someone Who wants to help us. Someone Who is “merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth.” Ex 34:6 How often we fight against Him as He guides our life. We do not understand what He is doing. We think He is trying to hurt us, when really He is giving us just what we need. Sometimes we have a misconception of Him and think He is doing us harm, but He loves us “with an everlasting love.” Jer 31:3 “I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you. And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart. Jer 29:11-13
May we allow God to work in our lives. May we love the LORD (our) God with all (our) heart, and with all (our) soul, and with all (our) might,” because “He first loved us.” Deut 6:5;1 John 4:19 May we share His love with others is my prayer.
— Our son Adrian was in a car accident with a friend with spleen and severe brain injury. Shawna
–please pray for Nancy who is in the hospital with impassable kidney stones. Eileen