WE HAVE TO KEEP TUNED TO GOD
WE HAVE TO KEEP TUNED TO GOD
A SERMON ORIGINALLY DELIVERED AT
THE FEDERATED CHURCH OF ATHENS
5 JUNE 1994
By Frank L. Hoffman, Pastor
1 Samuel 8:1-22
Many times we have heard testimonies from our members about being tuned to God.
Now I would like us to take a look at some other examples of people thinking they were tuned-in but, in reality, were not.
Let's begin by looking at 1 Samuel 8:1-22.
1. And it came about when Samuel was old that he appointed his sons judges over Israel.
2. Now the name of his first-born was Joel, and the name of his second, Abijah; they were judging in Beersheba.
3. His sons, however, did not walk in his ways, but turned aside after dishonest gain and took bribes and perverted justice.
We are not told in the Bible how this came about; however, it does say that Samuel appointed his sons as judges.
It does not say that God appointed Joel and Abijah as judges.
We know that since Samuel was a man of God from His youth, perhaps the appointing of his sons was because of his pride, and not from the wisdom the Lord gave him.
Or perhaps the problem was totally with his sons, that they became prideful in the office to which they were appointed.
And since we are told that the sons did not walk in the way of their father, Samuel, perhaps we should lean more toward the problem existing with the sons.
In any event, they were not tuned to God.
They were listening to a different voice and the people didn't like the program.
4. Then all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah;
5. and they said to him, "Behold, you have grown old, and your sons do not walk in your ways. Now appoint a king for us to judge us like all the nations."
Now, the elders have gone 180 degrees in the opposite direction.
Instead of asking Samuel to go before the Lord and inquire of Him who should succeed him as judge, they sought the worldly solution.
Thus, they tuned out God, and in the process became very much like Samuel's sons, seeking to live by worldly rather than by heavenly standards.
6. But the thing was displeasing in the sight of Samuel when they said, "Give us a king to judge us." And Samuel prayed to the Lord.
7. And the Lord said to Samuel, "Listen to the voice of the people in regard to all that they say to you, for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me from being king over them.
8. "Like all the deeds which they have done since the day that I brought them up from Egypt even to this day - in that they have forsaken Me and served other gods - so they are doing to you also.
9. "Now then, listen to their voice; however, you shall solemnly warn them and tell them of the procedure of the king who will reign over them."
Since the people have tuned-out God, He gives them their desire, knowing that it is bad for them.
This is clearly a concession from God.
It is not a decision that God approves of, but one that He is allowing the Israelites to suffer in order that they might learn to return to Him wholeheartedly.
This is an extremely important theological concept to understand.
Just because the Bible says that God allowed something, does not make it something that God desires, or a standard by which we are to live.
We need to look at both God's creation and heavenly intents, and in the process seek to live by our Father's heavenly will, on earth, as it is in heaven.
There is no earthly king ruling in heaven; all are subject to the will of God.
But God still loves His people so He gives them a warning about what they are really asking for, just as a loving parent does to an errant child.
10. So Samuel spoke all the words of the Lord to the people who had asked of him a king.
11. And he said, "This will be the procedure of the king who will reign over you: he will take your sons and place them for himself in his chariots and among his horsemen and they will run before his chariots.
12. "And he will appoint for himself commanders of thousands and of fifties, and some to do his plowing and to reap his harvest and to make his weapons of war and equipment for his chariots.
13. "He will also take your daughters for perfumers and cooks and bakers.
14. "And he will take the best of your fields and your vineyards and your olive groves, and give them to his servants.
15. "And he will take a tenth of your seed and of your vineyards, and give to his officers and to his servants.
16. "He will also take your male servants and your female servants and your best young men and your donkeys, and use them for his work.
17. "He will take a tenth of your flocks, and you yourselves will become his servants.
18. "Then you will cry out in that day because of your king whom you have chosen for yourselves, but the Lord will not answer you in that day."
It sure sounds a lot like our big government, doesn't it?
But they were only being warned about having to pay a tenth of their earnings to the government.
Think of how much better off we are: we only have to pay between 20 and 50 percent of our earnings to the government in various forms of taxes.
We have probably all heard some Christian leaders speak about having a Christian Government, but what they are really saying is that they want to be that Christian leader; they do not want a true theocracy.
They want to be like Samuel's sons, and they will subject the people to the same or worse conditions.
God warned the people, but they were tuned to a different station.
What station are we tuned to?
19. Nevertheless, the people refused to listen to the voice of Samuel, and they said, "No, but there shall be a king over us,
20. that we also may be like all the nations, that our king may judge us and go out before us and fight our battles."
21. Now after Samuel had heard all the words of the people, he repeated them in the Lord' s hearing.
22. And the Lord said to Samuel, "Listen to their voice, and appoint them a king." So Samuel said to the men of Israel, "Go every man to his city."
So the people went home and Samuel went to find a king for the people, that they would get what they asked for.
If we turn in our Bibles to Samuel 11:14-15, we will see the results.
14. Then Samuel said to the people, "Come and let us go to Gilgal and renew the kingdom there."
15. So all the people went to Gilgal, and there they made Saul king before the Lord in Gilgal. There they also offered sacrifices of peace offerings before the Lord; and there Saul and all the men of Israel rejoiced greatly.
Now remember that the Lord had previously said that this request to have a human king was the people's rejection of God.
And note that it doesn't say that Samuel rejoiced with them.
Ask yourselves, are the people rejoicing with the Lord because He is pleased with them, or are they rejoicing because they are pleased with themselves for getting their own way?
Just because people rejoice before the Lord, doesn't mean that the Lord is pleased with their worship.
Our worship means nothing unless we are tuned to God, and worshiping in His will, and not in His concessions.
Jesus had a very pointed way of bringing out this relationship of the true believer being tuned-in to the Lord.
Note what we are told in Mark 3:31-35.
31. And His mother and His brothers arrived, and standing outside they sent word to Him, and called Him.
32. And a multitude was sitting around Him, and they said to Him, "Behold, Your mother and Your brothers are outside looking for You."
33. And answering them, He said, "Who are My mother and My brothers?"
34. And looking about on those who were sitting around Him, He said, "Behold, My mother and My brothers!
35. "For whoever does the will of God, he is My brother and sister and mother."
Jesus isn't saying that His family doesn't believe, or are not tuned-in.
He is saying that the kingdom of God is more than a flesh and blood relationship; it must be a spiritual relationship.
Jesus is telling all of us that if we do not do the will of God, it doesn't matter who we know, or into what family we are born; we are not part of His family.
Be a member of God's family by tuning Him in, and doing His will.
Let us pray.
Your Comments are welcome
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