Continuing in our study from through the Old Testament, our past study saw us go through the lives of Ruth and Saul, up until the anointing of David. Ruth takes place during the time of the Judges, and helps us in a twofold manner. First, it gives us a fascinating look into the life and times of Israel during the time of the judges. Second, it introduces us to a family line that leads to King David and on to Christ.
As Israel makes it way to the end of the era of the judges, they find themselves under the judgeship of Samuel. Under his leadership, they seem to be functioning as God envisioned and intended when He gave them the law at Sinai. Samuel is leading them in pure worship, counseling their hearts and leading them to real victory of the Philistines. The climate of submission to God is highlighted by a victory of the imposing Philistines that results in the recapturing of much of their land.
But like Eli before him, Samuel has a blind spot. His two sons do not share in his zeal for God’s glory, instead using their position to seek financial gain and influence. As Samuel grows older, the people grow increasingly uneasy about the possibility of being judged by his sons. The people look into the future and see instability under their leadership rather than growth they realized under Samuel.
Their concern was understandable and valid. It is true that Samuel’s sons would most likely not have made good leaders. They had not exercised good judgment and had shown that they were not faithful in the little things. But what they failed to include in the equation was a God who promised to care for them and bless them in their obedience.
Once again, the people of Israel failed to trust God and instead looked to their own resources and the resources of the nations around them for protection. They go so far as to say they want a king like the nations around them so that he can go out and fight their battles for them. This is the same nation that saw their God drown the Egyptian army, destroy a city that they just walked around, eliminate an army by having 300 men surround it with torches and trumpets and more. God had made it very clear that he fought their battles, that is in fact what terrified the people of Jericho before they got there.
It is easy for us to to sit and criticize the people for continuing to fail to trust God after He had done so much for them, but we ought to look to our own hearts and lives and ask ourselves where we fail in this respect. I know in my own life that I far too often look to my own resources and try to fill in the blanks myself rather than trust God to fill them for me. I show that I trust in my own limited resources rather than the endless resources of the unlimited God. Its foolish to think of, but it is exactly what we do.