Reflections on 1 Samuel 8:4-20

There is no actual manuscript from today’s sermon, but here are some general thoughts and reflections from today’s passage of 1 Samuel 8:4-20.

The passage speaks of the elders of Israel wanting a new identity and way of life. They elders approached Samuel, who was serving as both a priest and a judge, and demanded a government that was like the ones that guided other nations. They wanted a king.

While the request, on paper, suggests that it was about Samuel’s age and the inability of his sons to follow in his footsteps, we sense from God that something deeper is going on. The elders have rejected their identity as being set apart and to be a different kind of community in the world. Those who follow God are called to be a counter-cultural presence of hope, love, and grace in the world. We’re not to look like the world or to be defined by it, but instead we are called to be people who follow God’s leading and serve out of our love of God and others.

Even though there is a rejection, God gives the people the ability to choose a path to follow. They ultimately will choose to follow their own path and seek after a king. We have a similar choice to make every day. Will we follow God or will we follow the voices around us that try to tell us how to live, how to raise our families, or what it means to be the church today? Will we follow God or will we just simply try to fit in and look like everyone else?

Part of that choice means to understand that there is a tension in fitting in and following God and we have to be willing to seek after God’s voice. This is a choice that we make in all areas of our lives. Will we follow God in our personal lives, or will we listen to the voices of others who try to tell us how to look, how to dress, or what it means to be in a community today? Will we follow God in our families, or will we listen to the voices of others who try to tell us that the best ways to raise our families is through over committed schedules and lives. Will we follow God in our churches, or will we try to continuously look like the other churches in our community or be beholden to our ideas of what church will look like?

We have to hear God’s voice calling and seeking us to follow him. It is a voice that we are called to follow every day. It is not easy, but God promises to go with us and walk beside us in all things. The question is … what voice will you follow in your personal life, within your families, and in the church?

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