In case you’re feeling superior right about now, thinking you’d never lie the way Abram did, let me offer a warning from Scripture: “If you think you are standing strong, be careful not to fall. The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience” (1 Corinthians 10:12-13).
Insight for Today
Written by Chuck Swindoll, these encouraging devotional thoughts are published seven days per week.
If you know what God wants you to do, obedience isn’t complicated. It may be difficult, but it’s not complicated. Don’t wait any longer for all the details to be worked out. The Lord has given you an opportunity to grow in faith.
Everything within us recoils from making big changes without thorough planning. Most of us need to see where we’re jumping before committing to a leap. But God called Abram to obey this call without complete information.
Even though I have known people like this, still, I cannot fathom Saul's perspective. How can anyone be so clueless? He disobeyed the Lord's direct command by keeping not just a few things under the ban, but keeping everything having any value. On top of having no sense, Saul had no shame.
Confrontation is rarely pleasant but frequently necessary. We all need a Samuel, someone who cares more about our character than our image or comfort. Often, that kind of loving honesty calls for sharp words. "You have played the fool" is never easy to hear, but when it comes from the mouth of a trusted, godly friend, we must hear it and take heed.
When the people located their new king, they celebrated. And why not? This was a glorious day. Saul was tall, strong, modest, and had the full support of his nation. From a human point of view, this was a beautiful start to a new era.
From the time that Joshua died until Saul took the throne of Israel, the Hebrew government was not a monarchy like most surrounding nations. Theologians refer to it as a theocracy—“God-rule.” The Lord ruled over Israel, issuing His decrees and governing through prophets and priests.
As for Samuel, the boy who heard God's voice, the closing words of this episode tell us that the sleepy, spiritual indifference that had lulled Israel into complacency was about to come to a screeching halt. A man of action was on the scene, and Israel's spiritual drift was about to end. Even as a little boy, he not only heard the Lord, but he obeyed His voice.
The key word is authenticity. Not perfection, for no one gets it right all the time. But being real. Admit your faults, own them completely, ask for forgiveness, be quick to give it, allow children plenty of room to fail, and let them see you live your life behind the scenes with love, grace, and humour. All of that takes time and effort, both of which will cost you productivity on the job. Consider it a priceless sacrifice...a permanent investment.
God has preserved fascinating stories for us to leave us with enduring lessons. Fathers in particular need to take heed. It has been my observation that Eli's paralysis of leadership is not uncommon...even among those in ministry. As a father whose vocation is service to the Lord, I have made it my intentional mission to avoid the failure of Eli. I urge you to do the same.