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Bible Pathways - Apr. 3, 2008


April 3

1 Samuel 8

Highlights In Today's Reading:

Because of Israel's desire to be like all the nations (8:5), they reject God as king and Saul is chosen. God permits a very poor second best. Saul begins well (9:10). He achieves "victory" and is firmly established in his kingship (11:12-15). Do you think the people made a good choice?

Samuel was one of the most godly men in Bible history. In Israel's 400 years in the promised land, no one had served as judge, priest, and prophet, but Samuel faithfully served God in all three positions. Samuel was known as a man of prayer (12:23; 15:11; Psalm 99:6) but both of his sons perverted judgment (I Samuel 8:3).

One of the most godly men I have known in the past 60 years had two sons. One son became a minister but the older son was a strong, robust, healthy person until he began to drink a little wine now and then. As time went by, it was obvious that he had become a drunkard. One night when he was drunk, he had a heart attack and died instantly. As my friend told me about this son, his voice quivered, the tears rolled down his cheeks, and his voice lowered as he commented: "According to the Word of God, I know he is in eternal hell."

During my almost 87 years, I have been very close to many who have had similar tragic situations. In one city where I was a pastor, the director of our city missions had a son who had a "social" drink now and then. After drinking one night, while driving, he had a wreck, was thrown out of the car, and lay face down in a pool of blood. When they turned him over, a bloody tract fell out of his shirt pocket with the heading, What shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? (Mark 8:36). No teenage smoker believes he will die of lung cancer. Every one thinks he will be the exception to the facts. But read the statistics.

Samuel's sons were anointed priests "serving the Lord," but walked not in his ways, but turned aside after lucre, and took bribes, and perverted judgment (I Samuel 8:3). They chose a self serving way rather than God's way. In hell they are crying out much like the rich man who cried and said . . . have mercy on me . . . for I am tormented (Luke 16:24-25).

Like Samuel, Christian parents have a responsibility to teach, guide, and discipline their children, and pray that they will have a sincere desire to be obedient to the Lord. But some godly parents have suffered great heartbreak every day because their children chose not to live for Christ according to the Word of God. Each person must decide who will be master of their lives.

Fear the Lord, and serve Him in sincerity and in truth: and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the flood, and in Egypt; and serve ye the Lord. (Like Joshua, Samuel remained faithful declaring the truth.) As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord (Joshua 24:14-15).

Thought for Today:

Each day we face the decision of choosing or refusing to live for Christ.

Christ Portrayed:

Through Samuel who faithfully served Israel as judge, prophet and priest. Jesus was the Prophet promised through Moses (Deuteronomy 18:15); He is our High Priest (Hebrews 4:14); and one day He will judge all mankind: For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son (John 5:22).

Word Studies:

8:3 lucre =b> money gained dishonestly; 8:9 protest solemnly =b> make a serious objection; 8:12 ear =b> plow; 9:2 goodly =b> handsome; 9:7 spent =b> used up, empty; 9:16 captain =b> leader since God was the true King; 9:26 spring of the day =b> dawn, the first coming of light; 10:1 vial =b> a container; 11:1 encamped against =b> put his forces in position to attack.

Prayer Needs:

Pray for The Arabic, English, and Spanish International Shortwave Radio Broadcasts sponsored by Helen E Hill • Staff: Dan Murton • Country: Jamaica (3 million) in the West Indies • Major languages: English and Creole • Religious freedom • 78% Protestant; 10% Roman Catholic; 7% Afro-American spiritist • Prayer Suggestion: Watch and pray that you may be worthy to stand before the Lord Jesus Christ (Luke 21:36).

Optional Reading: Acts 4

Memory Verse for the Week: I Peter 1:23

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