Snapshots: Day 195
The Snapshot: “Here I stand. Testify against me in the presence of the Lord and his anointed.” (1 Sam 12:3) Samuel approaches the end of his life and stands before his people and challenges them, tell me if you have found me deficient, tell it to God. You have a problem with someone? Tell it to God. But be careful of the pointing finger. Remember the four fingers that point back at you. But what a challenge: can I look back with a clear conscience? No I can’t, but I rely on the Cross. Samuel asked about his honesty and integrity and on that score, I hope I could say the same. But Samuel didn’t get it right with his sons. We all have feet of clay. All of us with have something to confess about the past, but it does not disprove that I am still a child of God, still loved by Him.
Further Consideration: These present truths that we are examining through this part of scripture in 1 Samuel may seem somewhat negative but they come to us as both am explanation and a warning. The explanation – in the things we have recently been considering – show us why humanity is like it is and challenges us to be honest and face up to the truth: we all have what I refer to as feet of clay and get it wrong sometimes and we all need God’s help to deal with our guilty consciences and inabilities to live perfect lives. Samuel has done so well in so many ways walking the lonely path of the sole prophet leading Israel, but yet there is his inadequacy in respect of his sons: “his sons did not follow his ways. They turned aside after dishonest gain and accepted bribes and perverted justice.” (1 Sam 8:3) It was partly for this reason – or at least it was the reason the people latched onto – that was the basis for the people demanding a king.
I think most of us would like to make excuses for Samuel here because we feel vulnerable in respect of our own parenting abilities. I confess to feeling like this in respect of our three (now grown up) children (although my wife says I’m wrong to feel like this) who are all doing well, but could they all be stronger in the faith than they are?
Solomon wrote, “Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.” (Prov 22:6) Other versions start it, “train up a child in the way he should go…” and the Message version says, “Point your kids in the right direction….” The truth is that this is just another area where our inadequacies are revealed. The best we can do is love your children, always be there for them, teach and train them and provide a good example for them and pray for them. When they leave home we can still love them, be there for them and pray for them, and after that, the rest is down to them. Apart from this, can we say with Samuel, check my integrity and honesty and find me true?