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Well, it was a great milestone when all our kids got to be teenagers, and I didn't have to buy any more Play-Doh for a while. Oh, I've bought my share, and now it's for grandchildren. You know, when I did buy it for my kids, I found it in the strangest places. Oh, it's a good toy. In case you missed the thrill, you might not know this, but Play-Doh is this multi-colored, soft little clay that comes in these little cans. And it's a lot of fun if you're a kid; even if you're an adult I suppose. But my kids liked it because they could mold that Play-Doh in any shape they wanted. They could buy different shaped molds, and have Play-Doh animals, and Play-Doh cars, and Play-Doh tools. It's fun to be the Play-Doh shaper! It's not fun to be the Play-Doh.
Our word for today from the Word of God, it's in 1 Samuel chapter 8, and I'll begin reading from verse 4. "All the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel. They said to him, 'You are old and your sons do not walk in your ways. Now, appoint a king to lead us such as all the other nations have.'" Up until this point, they have had a God-appointed judge as the king of Israel. So, in a sense, this was God ruling them through a theocracy. It was a God government.
But now in verse 19 it says the people refused to listen to Samuel when he tried to talk them out of it. "No, they said, we want a king over us. Then we will be like all the other nations, with a king to lead us." You notice the key phrase here that they keep repeating? "We want to be like all the others. We want to do it like all the others do it." Now, that is Play-Doh people. Yeah, people who are shaped by the people around them; not by the God they belong to.
You may remember the warning of Romans 12:2 when it says, "Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world." The Phillips translation says, "Don't let the world squeeze you into its mold." And the last part of the verse talks about approving what God's good, and pleasing, and perfect will is." In a sense it seems to say that, "Listen to what everyone around you is saying is a great detour from God's best for your life."
Well, not much has changed. We still kind of look around for our standards rather than looking up. What music shall I listen to? Oh, music like all the others. How should I dress? Oh, like everybody else is. What should I expect in a house, a car, a standard of living? Well, pretty much like all the other people. Where should I draw the moral line of my business practices or in my dating relationship? Well, pretty much like all the others do it. How should I handle my marital struggles? Well, a lot of other people at this point are getting a divorce. All the others are.
You see, God's people got into big trouble when they went after what their society said was normal. The kings caused more problems for them from that point on. Well, God's people still get in trouble that way. The Lord didn't have a place to lay His head. So we have to have the best of everything? The Lord says He hates divorce. Can we consider it because our society or even the church has opened the door? Our Lord says to only let pure things into our minds. So, shall we listen to something just because everybody else is?
Oh, it's easy to be seduced by a world where sin is what's normal. Don't let the world squeeze you. Decide that you will be shaped by Jesus. And then become the mold who shapes other people. Play-Doh people are forever changing shape.