1 Samuel 8:1-9 (Part 1) – Even If You Are a Super-Christian, It Doesn’t Guarantee Your Kid(s) Will Be!

Posted: December 12, 2017 in Book of 1 Samuel
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1 Samuel 8:1-9 (Part 1 of 2)

 

I know that I was not the best parent to my children. God knows I made enough mistakes with them to last several parental lifetimes. But they always knew, I think, that when the chips were down I would always be there for them even before accepted Christ as my Savior and even before I began to grow up as Christ follower and as a father. That took a long time though. From the troubles that my girls lived through in my first marriage – their mom’s drug addiction, rehab visits, her affair, our temporary separation after it, our tenuous reconciliation, my on again/off again affair, our on again/off again separations, our final breakup. To my second marriage – where my second wife and her boys were jealous of my girls to the point that I basically did only and exactly only what I was required to do by law and nothing more just so as to prove my love to my second wife. To my lifestyle after the second marriage ended that was a lot of drinking and chasing women and throwing money at my kids so as to make up for be so absentee as a dad when I was married to my second wife.

 

 

 

That’s not to say that we, my girls and me, did not have our awesome times during all of that. We have memories that we will never forget like the road trip to Orlando for the Champ Sports Bowl in Orlando to see our Tigers play – that was one of our special moments. There was the beach trip at Ocean Lakes where we rented that big house. Trips to see the Backstreet Boys in concert with Taylor (my ears start ringing with the sounds of 13 year old girls screaming to the top of their lungs anytime I think about that). Great conversations with my oldest, Meghan. There are some really good memories in there. And the girls love those memories too til this day. However, when I think about the good times, I always drift to the mistakes and the things that you are ashamed of when you were a non-Christian parent or an immature Christian parent. If I had it to do all over again, my God, how I would change things. But that’s the sad part of being a parent is that you don’t get to make up for your mistakes. All you can do is start from now to be the best parent you can be.

 

 

 

One of the things that I beat myself up about is the fact that I came to Christ so late in life myself (age 39) that I failed to be a good example to my kids in their formative years. Big regrets there! By the time I accepted Christ as my Savior, my kids were ages 16, Meghan, and 11, Taylor. What’s worse was that I did not begin growing up as a Christian until 2009-2010 time frame when we had our discipling mentors, Luke and Felisha, at Livermore Alive Community Church in Livermore, CA. By the end of our time there, in 2010, I was then 48 years old and my children were aged 25 and 20. Wow, the missed time. Wow, the opportunities to impart the gospel to my children missed in all their formative, teen, and early 20’s years. This is not to say that I did not mend my relationships with my girls after the second divorce which I did, but I feel as though I failed them from a discipleship perspective. It is my biggest failure as a parent. However, I cannot change the past. All I can do is be a living example of the gospel story to them and to disciple them now based on what God has done in my life. He has redeemed this hedonistic, self-centered party boy into something beautiful and one who knows he has been redeemed from the depths of hell. I am joyful in the love and grace shown to me by my Lord and Savior. Wow, I know what I was and what He has made me. All I can do is live and breath that in front of my children.

 

 

 

Another thing that I have to realize is that even if I had become a Christ follower and a maturing disciple say even before they were born, I cannot impart salvation to my children. They are responsible for making their way to the cross. I can set the atmosphere. I can live out the life in front of them. I can take about Jesus and teach them about Him, but it is up to them as to whether they ask Jesus to be their Savior and Lord. I can advise them in a godly fashion. I can teach them what the Bible says about this thing and that thing in life. But they must be responsible for their own relationship with God.

 

 

 

That’s what I though of this morning as I read through this passage, 1 Samuel 8:1-9, this morning. In this passage, similar to the high priest, Eli, the sons of Samuel turned out to be nothing like him. By all accounts in the Bible, Samuel was a great man of faith and a great man of integrity and he was a great judge for Israel. However, his sons turned out to be greedy and power hungry. With these thoughts in mind, Let us read the passage now:

 

 

 

8 As Samuel grew old, he appointed his sons to be judges over Israel. 2 Joel and Abijah, his oldest sons, held court in Beersheba. 3 But they were not like their father, for they were greedy for money. They accepted bribes and perverted justice.

 

 

 

4 Finally, all the elders of Israel met at Ramah to discuss the matter with Samuel. 5 “Look,” they told him, “you are now old, and your sons are not like you. Give us a king to judge us like all the other nations have.”

 

 

 

6 Samuel was displeased with their request and went to the Lord for guidance. 7 “Do everything they say to you,” the Lord replied, “for they are rejecting me, not you. They don’t want me to be their king any longer. 8 Ever since I brought them from Egypt they have continually abandoned me and followed other gods. And now they are giving you the same treatment. 9 Do as they ask, but solemnly warn them about the way a king will reign over them.”

 

 

 

In this passage, we see that as an old man, Samuel appointed his sons to be judges over Israel. But they turned out to be corrupt, much like Eli’s son (see 1 Samuel 2:12). It is impossible to know what kind of parent was to his children. We do know that he was busy with the work of the nation of Israel. Maybe as a byproduct of not being their for his kids, they grew up resenting him and his work for the nation. By all accounts though, Samuel was a great man of faith. We don’t know what the reasons were for his sons becoming something different from him – all we know is they did. The only mention of his kids here are that they were grown men. We must be careful not to blame ourselves for the sins of our children. They are responsible for their own lives when they are adults and they are responsible for their own sins and their consequences. They can blame us. We can blame us. However, they are ultimately responsible for their own lives and actions.

 

 

 

Sure, we can still influence our adult children. Sure, we can regret to the point of tears about how we messed up as parents while our kids grew up and rightfully so. And, yes, we can make up for as we have matured in Christ and now can be examples to them of what redemption and grace and a relationship with Jesus Christ looks like. We can pray for opportunities to share the gospel with our kids. I know that my oldest daughter demonstrates the fruits of the spirit of a child of God. I am confident that she has asked Christ into her life and is living it out now. I pray for my youngest to demonstrate the fruits of the spirit that would demonstrate that she too has accepted Christ as her Savior and I pray for opportunities to share the gospel truth with her.

 

 

 

I can kick myself for all the stupid #$%( that I did to mess up their lives when they were young. I can beat myself up for all the things I am ashamed of in my life prior to the cross that they got to observe in my life. I can kick myself for not accepting Christ as my Savior until my late thirties. I can kick myself for not growing up as a Christ follower until my mid- to late-forties. But I cannot give salvation to them like I do Christmas presents. They must deal with Jesus on their own. No amount of apologies to God will take away their own responsibility for their own relationship with the Lord. I can be a positive influence in that regard for the remainder of my life, demonstrating a maturing Christian in front of them, but they must have a personal relationship on their own with Jesus.

 

 

 

In the meantime, I pray. Pray. Pray. Pray to have opportunities to get real with them in conversations about Jesus. To help one grow in Christ. To help the other to the cross.

 

 

 

Amen and Amen.

 

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