Friday, 19th March 2021
Rev Daniel Xi An Poon
I Samuel 8 – God Knows It All
Section One: V1-3 Men Look At Men
God rules and reigns in the world and there is nothing we can hide from Him. The Israelites thought that Samuel, as a prophet, as a high priest, and as a judge, he was too busy to teach his own sons. But this is only the presumption on the surface, because even God Himself did not find fault in Samuel about teaching his sons, just like how God did not find fault in Moses about looking after his family. Whereas God talked to Eli harshly about his sons’ ungodly behaviour.
Samuel offered all his life to God, but his sons did not act righteously and walked away from God. At the end we need to be responsible in our own lives, and be faithful in the positions where God has given us. Samuel talked to God since he was little, but his sons didn’t. However God did not blame Samuel for not teaching his sons well, nor did He set a new judge, so why did the Israelites blame him?
We want to solve our own problems when we don’t see God is working. On the other hand, Samuel’s mother, Hannah, knew Eli was not a good priest, but she still trusted in him because she had faith in the God behind Eli.
Section Two: V4-9 God Looks At People
V4-5 The Israelites did not see how Samuel led the 12 tribes in unity, to destroy all the idols and bring them back to God. They forgot how every year, Samuel went to all the places to judge and to teach the Israelites. Instead, they saw the 2 sons’ incapability more than what Samuel had done for them. Do we also judge the house of the servants of God? By what we have seen, do we complain to God about who will lead us?
V6-7 God’s reaction was different to Samuel, He said to Samuel, ‘they didn’t reject you but they rejected me’! When we reject our authority on the earth, we are actually rejecting God, because we don’t believe all authorities come from God. We think that God might be too busy to care so He just set up a random person to rule over us. We end up in a ‘doing’ mode, because we think God will not care about little things in our lives, we can just deal with them ourselves.
V8 It was only an excuse when the Israelites asked for a king, they actually just wanted to do everything in their own ways! We tend to see others’ problems easily but hard to see the “beam in our own eye”. We may have this inner vow, ‘I will not do to my children what my parents have done to me’, but we may end up doing the same thing.
God does not want us to treat others from a judgemental perspective but with a compassionate heart. When we see problems in our authorities or people around us, we should bring these problems before God and pray for them. We can always find faults in others, but we cannot see into their hearts. God looks at men not like men look at men, God looks into the hearts and knows who we really are.
God knew the Israelites were like this all along, but it did not influence God’s characters, which are full of mercy and love. Therefore God told Samuel to repeatedly declare blessings and curses to the Israelites. God knows our weakness and He does not give up on us. He will repeatedly teach us and show us the way out!
Section Three: V10-22 God Did Not Abandon Men
God is our God and our King, He blesses us and calls us to be His children, He also gives us freedom to act out what we should not do. But kings on the earth will continue to demand from the people, not only he didn’t work the land, but he will also take what the people work hard for to fulfil his own needs. But the Israelites still insisted in asking for a king.
We tend to find a lot of excuses not to serve God. We compare our lives with others and we complained about what we have offered to God. Samuel named his children, ‘The LORD is God’ and ‘The LORD is Father’, but the people only wanted what they wanted. We should not make our children or our work our gods. If we only focus on what we have in front of us then we will stumble. When we offer wholeheartedly then we will see God provides for us.
Samuel did not focus on the problems of the people and blamed himself for not being a good leader, but he was faithful in carrying out God’s commands. By being at home 24 hours is not going to make our children better if we don’t follow God. The true blessing we can bring to our family is the presence of God.
Samuel’s sons were not good, but the king mentioned here seems even worse and more selfish, so “you will cry out in that day because of your king whom you have chosen for yourselves, and the LORD will not hear you in that day.” (V18) When our prayer is not answered, it doesn’t mean that we are praying for the wrong thing, but we need to examine our life.
Do we live in complaints and judgements, a life without thanksgiving, just like these Israelites? We use magnifying glasses to look at our authorities and the things they cannot do well. God had been fighting for the people all along but they wanted a king to fight for them. This has caused the history of Israel being full of wars even until today.
We need to see God’s blessings in our lives, do not be dissatisfied about our family, our marriage, our work, our church. No matter what, at the end, God rules and reigns. He does not leave us nor forsake us, but it’s easier for us to leave Him and worship idols. This morning let us be reminded that God rules and reigns until the end.
Pursuit & Respond
Lord, we know You rule and reign, but so often we forgot how You have led us until today! Your love for us has never changed, You chose us to be Your children. We showed disbelief, we stumbled and fell, but again and again, You remind us through our authorities and those around us. Help us, Lord, to only rely on You and to only look upon You. We lift up our marriage, our family, our children, our work and our church in Your hands. Amen.
撒母耳警戒以色列人，地上的王是很自私的，行事为了自己的好处，不去祝福百姓，反而从他们的收成中拿取一部分，还让他们的儿女 – 就是耶和华所赐的产业 – 服侍他。可惜百姓不听，他们看到的是外面的世界比较好。我们是否看到自己因为服事神而抱怨自己不能像外邦人那样享受家庭生活、羡慕别人有钱不用作奉献。我们忘了耶和华是神，是我们的父亲，我们不要神来作王，以为自己一切所得都是理所当然。我们想靠自己得到一切，忘了神给我们的真自由。不要让我们的家人、工作、甚至自己成为我们的神，唯独要相信神必带领、预备。我们不要因为眼前的东西而跌倒 – 撒母耳没有因为自己儿子如此而放弃神给他的责任，仍然做一个忠心又良善的仆人，他也不会觉得羞耻，因为他已经完全献上给神。我们能带给家里的祝福是神的同在，不在乎时间的长短。