Even Some “Elders” Missed the Important Things

1 Samuel 8:8 is a very sobering statement by God. He reveals that the children of Israel have never pleased Him “since the day He brought them up out of Egypt even unto this day.”

1Sa 8:8 According to all the works which they have done SINCE THE DAY THAT I BROUGHT THEM UP OUT OF EGYPT EVEN UNTO THIS DAY, wherewith they have forsaken me, and served other gods, so do they also unto thee.

Playing the religious fellow does not fool the Lord who sees men’s hearts. He is able to discern between the “bone and the marrow”.

What exactly is He talking about? How is it that Israel’s works since the day they were brought up out of Egypt, only prove that they have forsaken the Lord?

In 1 Sam 8:1 we see two groups of people. When Samuel was old he made his sons judges over Israel. Obviously, they knew about and followed the ceremonial law and “graduated” to a place of being chosen as judges over Israel. But, how could Samuel who had such keen spiritual eyesight do that? Is it a weakness of men to be blind to the actions of those closest to them? Possibly so, because his sons did not walk in his ways. We know that Samuel’s ways pleased the Lord. The Elders of Israel came to Samuel and told him what they knew about Samuel’s sons. They basically accused Samuel’s sons of worshipping the god of mammon and they took bribes and because of taking bribes their judgment is clouded and biased. They show favor to those who bribe them. (Hmmm, not much has changed).

1Sa 8:1-3 And it came to pass, when Samuel was old, that he made his sons judges over Israel. Now the name of his firstborn was Joel; and the name of his second, Abiah: they were judges in Beersheba. AND HIS SONS WALKED NOT IN HIS WAYS, but turned aside after LUCRE, and took BRIBES, and PERVERTED JUDGMENT.

Earlier, I said there were two groups of people showcased in this chapter. We have two types of religious people: people using godliness for gain and “elders” enamored with position and ruling over others wanting to be ruled over themselves by a man with great “credentials”. The Elders also wanted the people to supply their needs.

1Sa 8:4-5 Then all the elders of Israel gathered themselves together, and came to Samuel unto Ramah. And said unto him, Behold, thou art old, and thy sons walk not in thy ways: now make us a king to judge us like all the nations.

This is not something you would expect from elders that are supposed to know the Lord. Elders who could discern that Samuel was a man of God and his sons were not. But, like Samuel’s sons and even Samuel himself, the elders had their own blind spots.

1Sa 8:6-7 But the thing displeased Samuel, when they said, Give us a king to judge us. And Samuel prayed unto the LORD. And the LORD said unto Samuel, Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee: for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them.

What did the Lord know? That, not only had the elders rejected God, but this rejection had been going on since they were delivered out of Egypt. Is it any wonder that Samuel’s sons and the elders rejected God? Religion and feigning love for God had actually become part of their culture (just like it has become part of the church world, today).

What I also find interesting in 1 Sam 8 is that even the Elders wanted a man to rule over them. They condemned Samuel’s sons for their blatant money grubbing (bribery, extortion) but did not see their own sin and dependence on the people providing for their needs.

Same thing today. You have preachers (Elders) who run a pretty tight ship and every thing looks to be in order in their church, from a religious point of view and they condemn the blatant T.V money preachers, not understanding that in their sophisticated and subtle way, they too are “money preachers”.

1 Samuel 8 is excellent for showing us two kinds of people that use religion (godliness) for gain. The unrespected, blatant, money grubbing preachers (Samuel’s sons) and the subtle, sophisticated, respected preachers. They are all caught up in a system that refuses to have God as their complete and total KING, supplying all their needs. And of course, they would tell you that is absolutely not true.