Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Patterns- 1 Samuel 8

Patterns are common in Scripture. We often see the same or similar scene replayed in many different ways. One of the patterns we are seeing in Samuel is the repeated pattern of Israel serving the Lord during the lifetime of the judge that God raises up. God has raised Samuel as a judge, a savior of Israel and Israel responded by renewing covenant with Yahweh to some degree.
         Samuel called them to return to the Lord with all their hearts and to put away the baals and the asthtaroth. The people responded in repentance turning from the idols of the land but it was short lived.
         Samuel has many more days of service with Israel but in this chapter the falling away begins even before the judge dies. The elders gather because Samuel is old. They are concerned about who will lead them when he is dead. They have already rejected Samuel’s sons and for good reason.
         But their hearts are not fully turned to Yahweh. They are still jealous for the wealth and show of the nations and kings and gods that are surrounding them. They are quickly becoming ensnared. Their actions were turned towards the Lord but not their hearts. Their hearts are not faithful and now their eyes and actions are wandering and they are prone to bring God’s judgment for cursing upon themselves again.
         They ask for a king but are not willing to wait for the Lord’s anointed. They desire a king like the nations around them and that is exactly what God gives them in Saul. Saul’s reign looks similar to Israel’s days during this period of Samuel’s judgeship. He looks like a good king at first, only to prove himself unfaithful. He becomes intoxicated with his own power and ends up defying Yahweh and his anointed. His commitment to Yahweh is only as deep as it benefits himself.
         Israel is like that. She speaks as if she wants to honor Yahweh but because her heart is not cleansed, she constantly defiles herself with other gods.

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