THE LAST JUDGE

Samuel’s head nodded in the afternoon’s heat. His body obviously needed more time to recuperate from that last round of judging around Israel.

His assistant shook his arm lightly. “Sir, there’s a group of elders here to see you. They say it’s urgent.”

Samuel sat up and looked at his helper. “Will you get me a drink of water? I’ll see them in a bit.”

He sent a prayer up as he waited for his drink. “LORD, I don’t know how much longer I can keep this up. I don’t see anybody able to take my place. My sons…my boys have gone their own way. I don’t know where I went wrong with them. I’m sorry.”

The assistant carried the cup of water in and handed to him. “There’s too many elders for them to come in to you, sir. I’m afraid you’ll have to go to them. They’re waiting outside for you.”

Samuel drank the cup’s contents in one motion. “Very well, let’s go.”

He kept a hand on the table to see if the tingling in his leg would subside before he attempted to walk. “Come here. I need you for balance, my son.”

Samuel was able to release his helper’s shoulder as they reached the outer courtyard. A group of about thirty men was facing him. Samuel sat in his raised chair.

One of the younger men approached. “Your sons are not following your example, sir. I saw Joel take some money from someone I was bringing to court. I know he moved a marker stone between our properties, it’s quite obvious. The ruling went in his favor.”

An older man came over. “You won’t be around to rule over us forever, Samuel. We need a new leader to lead us into battle. We’re ready for a king like the nations around us.”

A rumble of agreement rose from the group.

Samuel’s heart skipped a beat as the request sank in. He looked up for a moment. “Come back tomorrow. I’ll let you know what the LORD says about this matter.”

###

Samuel knelt at the altar before God. “LORD, what shall I do with these people of Yours? I’ve given them all I have, and then some. Why isn’t it enough?”

“Give the people what they want, Samuel. This has been building since I led them out of Egypt. They’ve been chasing after other gods every chance they get. Their hearts are always leading them astray. It’s not you they’re rejecting, but Me. You must warn them of the consequences of this action before I tell you who will be the king.”

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The next day Samuel sat before the elders. “A king will take your sons and force them into battle. Your daughters will be made perfumers and cooks. The best of your land and livestock will be confiscated from you for his servants. You will detest such a ruler, but, the LORD will not listen to your grumbling at that time.”

“Give us a king! We want a king like other nations have.” The cheer became louder with each repetition.

Samuel raised his hands for quiet. “Very well, you shall have a king. Go back home. God will choose a man for this office.”

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The changing of leadership is always a difficult time for any nation. This young nation of Israel was no exception. The period of the judges was seen as a colossal failure by everybody.

Samuel’s exceptional leadership abilities were just that, an exception. He received direct word from God on every matter he came across.

His office was something that was too vague for people to follow for long. His failure to pass his leadership qualities on to his sons brought concern to those around him.  It was time for a change whether Samuel was ready for it or not.

I find it interesting that Samuel took the people’s request for a king as a personal affront to himself. They never expected him to last forever and they didn’t seem surprised that his sons didn’t follow in his footsteps.

The people were simply tired of being led by this invisible God of their’s. This theocratic state was simply making them a bit of a laughing-stock to their neighbors, even when He won their battles for them.

God had to assure Samuel that they weren’t rejecting him as their leader, but God.

How many times have we slipped Samuel’s sandals on our feet?

Unless you’re one of those individuals who naturally talks about Jesus to everybody you meet you know what I’m talking about. We’re reluctant to tell others about the saving grace of God through Jesus Christ because we feel like we’ll be rejected in the process.

It isn’t us being rejected. It’s God and Jesus being rejected.

Even if it is us being rejected in some way we still need to get the word out about the love of Jesus to as many people as we can. We may be the only opportunity they have of hearing about Jesus. They may be very open to accepting Him as their Savior, but, we’ll never know unless we step out of our comfort zone and talk to them.

Sure, there are some who are vehemently opposed to Jesus Christ and all He stands for. That’s their prerogative. They’ll have to answer for that when their time comes to stand before God. Our mission is to let them know about Jesus so they can freely choose to accept Him or reject Him.

In the mean time develop your personal relationship with God to as deep a level as you can. That is your ultimate responsibility.

Samuel knew God well enough to tell the people he needed to have a conference with God before he could give them a response. Have you made that your knee-jerk reaction?

Personal one-on-one time in the Bible is the best habit any Christ-follower can practice.

Pouring your heart out to God in prayer comes in a close second.

Make Jesus your best-friend-forever.

I’ll see you later.   Wade

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