"Snippets" from David
Life in this physical existence is full of problems. We are constantly searching for solutions. Far too often our “solution” to a problem is either a problem itself or the seed for a future problem. The “solution” looks wonderful from the perspective of “now” circumstances, but it fails miserably to address the real reason for the problem existing.
Samuel was a wonderful spiritual leader in Israel his entire life. From his childhood he listened to God. He never spoke for God until he listened to God—not to himself! As Samuel’s life neared its end, Israel faced three immediate problems. (1) Samuel was old. Age passes the usefulness of experience. (2) However, Samuel’s sons were wicked men. They made lousy judges because they were nothing like their father. Whereas Samuel powerfully led Israel in God’s direction, his sons sought dishonest gain, took bribes, and perverted justice (1 Samuel 8:3). (3) The nation needed leadership and guidance that made them secure. The king’s principal work was to serve as his people’s judge. God was the judge through the person He appointed. The problem was not God. The problem was having a person who listened to God. Samuel did. His sons did not.
As a nation, Israel was different. Leadership in every other nation was provided by a physical king. They had no physical king. Their solution to their leadership dilemma: (1) be like everyone else. (2) Appoint a physical king.
The primary problem with their solution was this: their leadership problem resulted from a lack of faith in God. True, they were different. Yet, in that difference was a real potential for good not available to any other nation. Appointing a physical king was not a real solution! At best it was an expensive, temporary “fix” that resulted in increased problems and eventual ruin. Their solution was actually a new problem!
Samuel was deeply grieved by the nation’s request. When Samuel brought the matter to God, God said, “They have not rejected you. They have rejected Me as their king! Give them what they want, but explain to them in plain terms the cost of their request.”
Samuel explained to the nation the oppressive physical burden supporting a king would place on everyone. However, the people would not listen to him. Their solution was THE solution, the ONLY solution! A distressed Samuel again took the matter to God. God’s response: “Give them what they want” (1 Samuel 8:22).
Words of caution to all of us: First, when we (1) put our words in God’s mouth to make Him say what we wish to hear, or (2) think our solution is so good that we can refuse to listen to God, we are in serious trouble. Even when we do not think so, God (1) knows what we need, and (2) knows what He speaks about.
Always, in the church or in personal matters, we need to listen before we decide. We need to make certain our solution is not a problem in disguise. This is not an admonition to procrastinate [which is a problem, not a solution]. It is the encouragement to know God’s full thinking before we champion our solution.
The second caution: Never forget that God will let us do as we please. It takes more than the prayer, “God, do not let us do something we should not do,” to avoid ungodly decisions. The attitude of that prayer is excellent if we first listen to God’s guidance.
The realization that God will let His people do as they insist on doing is frightening! A personal agenda has no place in God’s purposes!
It is okay to speak for yourself. You are entitled to your opinion! Just do not pretend to speak for God when you are speaking for you! We cannot uphold God’s purposes unless we know and understand God’s purposes.
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