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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.
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