THE GRASS IS NOT ALWAYS GREENER…
19. But the people refused to listen to Samuel’s warning. “Even so, we still want a king,” they said.
20. “We want to be like the nations around us. Our king will judge us and lead us into battle.”
21. So Samuel repeated to the LORD what the people had said,
22. and the LORD replied, “Do as they say, and give them a king.” Then Samuel agreed and sent the people home.
1 Samuel 8: 19–22 NLT
Today’s Passage is critical more for what it does not say than for what it does. But I’m getting a little bit ahead of myself here, so let me back up a tad, and we’ll take a closer look at what is happening in Today’s Portion of The Story of Samuel.
If you’ve been following along, you’ll remember why we got to this point, but if not, let’s review. Eli, the High Priest before Samuel’s introduction, had two sons who profaned the sacrifices, leading to a terrible defeat at the hands of The Philistines.
The defeat was so damaging that it eventually led to the loss of The Ark of The Covenant for over twenty laborious years. During that time, young Samuel was established as Priest and Judge over Israel.
But sometimes, things have a strange way of coming full circle. Even though Samuel himself was a righteous man, his sons were not, and Samuel made the mistake of promoting his sons to Leadership Positions, just like Eli did. That blunder of not recognizing the ineptitude of his offspring was the same misstep that cost Eli his life, but this time God had another plan.
Now, Samuel promoted his sons in the first place because of his advanced age. He got tired of traveling the region performing the responsibilities of a Judge. Given the well-documented recalcitrance of the Judeans, I can only imagine the job was strenuous, to say the least.
So, to pass on that responsibility to someone young and spry made sense. However, Samuel’s sons saw the economic potential of being unjust Judges and began to take bribes, offering slanted Judgment for cash. Living in the U.S., where the justice system can skew toward inequality, and seeing the reactions to such injustice, we can understand how swiftly this could corrupt the people’s trust.
Now, I won’t decisively say God Planned all this, but let’s look at what is not stated in Today’s Passage. God never came at Samuel like He did Eli, though their sins were comparable. They both promoted their sons, who both profaned God’s Laws. But Eli’s sons desecrated the Sacrifice, an institution set in place to address the sins of the people.
Without that Protection, the entire nation was in jeopardy. That is what led to the defeat that lost them, The Ark, and God’s Favor. Samuel’s sons, however, violated the people’s trust, not God’s Defense. The difference apparently came from the Sacrifice. Eli’s sons blocked the conduit of God’s Covering, while Samuel’s sons eroded the people’s trust.
Neither action was virtuous, but one affected their Sheltering while the other affected their confidence in an institution. But it wasn’t confidence in the Institution of Judgment the people were chaffing against; it was God’s Rule over them. The people weren’t rebelling against the Judges; they were rebelling against God!
But why? Why would the Israelites, after so many instances of failure and redemption, have committed what to us is such an obvious transgression? The answer is clearly stated in Verse Twenty. Envy. The people wanted to be like the nations around them. It wasn’t the corruption that drove their desire. It was covetousness and resentment driven by the yearning to be like the pagan nations surrounding them.
The pomp and glory of a king were alluring to a people that copied everything their neighbors did, including things they knew God hated, like worshiping Baal. The Israelites were so enamored by other kingdoms that they adopted their vastly immoral religious practices knowing God would take issue with them.
Today’s Lesson is that the grass is not always greener on the other side of the fence! Perception skewed by corrupt desire leads to flawed vision. And following an unsound lead will steer you to a dangerous destination.
When you ask for something from God, He might just give it to you. But that may not always be such a good thing. The Israelites are about to find out the hard way that they just gave up the best thing they ever had, and they are about to be ushered into a new and not-so-glorious era in their history.
If you hear God warning you away from what you want, you should listen to Him. He may be trying to save you from your own ignorance. It is a fact that we do not always know the right way to go. So why would you think ignoring God’s warnings would be a good idea? If He sees the end from the beginning, and you ignore His cautions, you may end up with a corrupt king instead of a Glorious Judge!
Have A Terrific Tuesday And Maybe The Grass Looks Greener Because Of The Envy In Your Eyes!