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How well did Samuel train his sons to know and follow the ways of the Lord? How well did he prepare them to be the next generation of Israel’s leaders? I think Samuel was overwhelmed with the task of being Israel’s leader that he had no time to train his sons. Here is what we learn from Scripture: 1 Samuel 7:15 to 8:5 Samuel continued as Israel’s leader all the days of his life. From year to year he went on a circuit from Bethel to Gilgal to Mizpah, judging Israel in all those places. But he always went back to Ramah, where his home was, and there he also held court for Israel. And he built an altar there to the Lord. When Samuel grew old, he appointed his sons as Israel’s leaders. The name of his firstborn was Joel and the name of his second was Abijah, and they served at Beersheba. But his sons did not follow his ways. They turned aside after dishonest gain and accepted bribes and perverted justice. So all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah. They said to him, “You are old, and your sons do not follow your ways; now appoint a king to lead us, such as all the other nations have.” As Christian parents we are responsible for our children’s spiritual education. We are commanded to instruct them in the ways of the Lord and model what a close personal relationship with God looks like. When we get too involved with our careers, hobbies, friends or even ministries and don’t have time to train our children, they will become ensnared by sin. Proverbs 22:6 Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it. When we teach our children the right ways to think about life, they are quite likely to choose what pleases God and reject the attractions of sin and temptations of this world. Samuel’s sons used their positions of power to greedily indulge their desires and pervert justice. The nation of Israel also wanted to reject God’s leadership and have s king just like every other nation. Our personal relationship with God needs to show our children that following Jesus is radically different and supremely more fulfilling than chasing the things of this world. Samuel didn’t make that a priority for his sons and the whole nation suffered for it.
I tremble at the command of God sometimes. He says, "Find out what pleases the Lord." God used the Apostle Paul to write that down for us to obey. The one thing I learned from the life of Samuel, the prophet, is when he was sorting through the brothers of David to choose the next king of Israel. One was taller and looked like he could be the next king. But God said "no." #1 “But the Lord said to Samuel.” Though he was wise and discerning, Samuel was in danger of making the same mistake made by the rest of the world, judging a person by appearances. #2 “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him.” God calls us to look past outward appearances, though it might be difficult. Appearance, especially height, says nothing about a person’s character. They are simply born tall, short, or medium height. #3 “The Lord does not look at the things people look at.” God’s ways are simply higher than our ways. That said, the verse is recorded for us to learn to align our ways with his. #4 “People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” Seek to be like God and look past appearances at the reality of the heart, and the content of the character. Connectusfund.org Have you checked the labels on your grocery items lately? You may be getting less than you thought. According to U.S. News & World Report, some manufacturers are selling us the same size packages we are accustomed to, but they are putting less of the product in the box. For example, a box of well-known detergent that once held 61 ounces now contains only 55. Same size box, less soap. How something is wrapped doesn’t always show us what’s on the inside. That’s true with people, as well. We can wrap ourselves up in the same packaging every day—nice clothes, big smile, friendly demeanor—yet still be less than what we appear to be. Our Daily Bread, June 22, 1992
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