Posted by: arieliondotcom | March 21, 2013

Accept No Substitutes (1 Samuel 7-10)

There was a time when commercials would say “Accept no substitutes!” Don’t buy items that seem like the genuine article but are only shabby imitations. But that’s just what’s going on in this passage of Scripture.

Israel (as we read in earlier chapters) tried to treat the Ark of the Covenant, the symbol of GOD’s Presence, like an idol, taking it with them like a good luck charm. They substituted the reality of GOD for false gods. That didn’t work and they were regularly defeated by the Philistines. So they set the Ark back in one spot and mourned and repented before GOD.

Samuel has become judge as well as prophet for Israel after the death of Eli the negligent priest and Eli’s evil sons. Samuel tells the people to stop substituting the idols around them for the True GOD and be faithful to GOD. He holds a great convocation and tells them all to gather and worship in repentance as he prays to GOD for them. They all gather and the Philistines see this as a great opportunity to attack them.

As the Philistines gather, the Israelites are terrified and still wanting a substitute to speak to GOD on their behalf. So they tell Samuel “Pray harder!” He does and the LORD gives them victory.

But the Israelites were fickle. As Samuel gets old and his sons didn’t follow his ways the Israelites want a king like everyone else has. They want to substitute a man for GOD and even for the man of GOD who has led them since his childhood. GOD tells Samuel to go along with their request but in His Mercy GOD still warns them what they’re getting into. And notice, in choosing Saul to lead Israel GOD gives them what they want: the most king-looking, tallest, hansomest young man among them. But they’ll soon learn that’s no substitute for GOD.

All around us today we are being told Christian values are unloving and acceptance of anything in the name of love is good. But O what a difference it makes to substitute what seems like good for GOD!.

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