This account of Samuel's sons makes me sad and somewhat discouraged. How could this happen?! How could Samuel allow this to happen? He saw the result of Eli not disciplining his sons. How could Samuel judge Israel and not Joel and Abijah? 1 Sam 2:29 tells us Eli's sons were greedy and now Samuel's sons turned aside for gain and took bribes. So, they, too, were greedy.
Referring to Proverbs 3:11-12, Hebrews 12:5-6 says, "Have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons? 'My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him. For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives." In Proverbs 13:24, we also find, "Whoever spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is diligent to discipline him."
Father, as parents and grandparents, teach us to love You and our children enough to discipline them. Show us how to bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. Thank You for loving us enough to correct our ways. Please give us the wisdom and courage to do the same with the children You have placed in our care.
1 Samuel 8:17-18
"He will take the tenth of your flocks, and you shall be his slaves."
"You shall be his slaves." Doesn't that jump off the page? By demanding an earthly king, the Israelites would become the king's slaves. This word, slave, is the one Jesus uses in John 8:32-36 in response to the Jews statement "We are offspring of Abraham and have never been enslaved to anyone. How is it that you say, 'You will become free?'" They asked that question because Jesus had just said, "If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free."
In the following verse, the LORD tells the Israelites, "In that day you will cry out because of your king, whom you have chosen for yourselves, but the LORD will not answer you in that day." We are getting close to reading 1-2 Kings and 1-2 Chronicles. In case I forget, when you begin reading those four books, it is worth your while to keep a list of both the good kings and the bad. The list of good kings is much easier to manage. You will see God's warning proves to be true concerning the kings of Israel.
What is the purpose of God's grace to you? When you consider His grace, what is the reason He provided such an undeserved gift? Why would God be gracious enough to die on the cross so that He could extend His grace specifically to you?
1 John 3:8 says "Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil." Which works of the devil do you think Jesus came to destroy? The works of the devil in you and me?
Paul goes to great lengths in Romans 6 to prove the purpose of God's grace is to destroy sin and its work. Chapter six is an excellent commentary on Romans 5:20-21, "Now the law came in to increase the trespass, but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, so that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through righteousness leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." Chapter six describes the reign of God's grace for those who are in Christ.
We were slaves to sin just as God warned the Israelites about slavery to the king. Jesus said it this way in John 8:34, "Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin." But Jesus' sacrificial, substitutionary death, changed that. Those who are in Him are no longer under the power of sin but the power of grace! So now we are to consider ourselves dead to sin. It is no longer the controlling power in our lives. Instead, we are free because of God's grace! Just as Jesus says in John 8:36, "So if the Son set you free, you will be free indeed."
Gracious Father, teach us what it means to be slaves to the Living God. Forgive me for cringing at the word slave. I want to be the slave of Deuteronomy 15:16 who says "I will not go out from you." I love you and your household, so it is okay for You to take an awl and put it through my ear, and I will be Your slave forever.