"But the thing displeased Samuel, when they said, ‘Give us a king to judge us.' And Samuel prayed unto the Lord. And the Lord said unto Samuel, ‘Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee: for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them. According to all the works which they have done since the day that I brought them up out of Egypt even unto this day, wherewith they have forsaken me, and served other gods, so do they also unto thee."
I Samuel 8: 6-8, King James Version
"What They're Doing to You - They're Doing To Me"
"Why do dogs have so many friends? Because they wag their tails and not their tongues."
Have I ever been blamed for something that wasn't my fault?
Do I take responsibility for my actions which have had a harmful result?
"When looking at faults, use a mirror, not a telescope."
"Gladly we desire to make others perfect, but we will not amend our own faults."
Thomas à Kempis
Let's just say that for over twenty-five years you had been the pastor of a church. You had labored faithfully. You had followed God's direction and been a leader filled with integrity. You'd never let the people under your care down. When they needed your guidance, you were there for them. Your dedication was the kind that always put them first.
Then one day, a committee composed of church elders arrived on your doorstep to inform you that not only was your term of leadership over, but that in fact, the church membership had, after looking around at how secular organizations were run, decided to completely change the way the church was administered. They wanted a commercial management team brought in, rather than a spiritual one. They wanted to run the church in a totally new way - upending all the plans you had given them. In fact, to put it bluntly, their desire was to repudiate all the work you had done. How would you feel? Would you be happy with such a request? Would you feel as though your time at the church was a total failure?
We don't have to look far to see what a natural human reaction would look like for this is exactly what happened to Samuel. The elders of Israel flatly informed him, that he was being tossed overboard in favor of a king.
After telling Samuel his children would make unfit leaders, which was true, the people decided they had a better idea and it was to adopt the ruling structure of the heathen nations that were their neighbors.
Samuel's heart was broken. He was in pain. In fact, while the Bible doesn't say so directly, he may even have blamed himself for this turn of events because it was his own greedy sons who were partially responsible for this situation. Possibly, Samuel felt if he had been a better parent, this would never have come about.
Now it was too late. And Samuel was told in no uncertain terms he wasn't wanted. I know one thing, my response might easily have been, "How ungrateful of you. After all I've done for you, after praying for you, taking your pleas to God and standing with you when you were disloyal to your heavenly Father, now you treat me like this. You gossip about me behind my back. You find fault with me and dump my Godly leadership model for a heathen structure. What's wrong with you?"
But here's where we see the depth and width of Samuel's spiritual life. In I Samuel 8: 6, we're told that rather than attack his detractors and demeanors, "Samuel prayed to the Lord."
I ask you, "How often when you have been blamed or rejected by those you've poured your life blood out for has your first response been to "pray to the Lord"? Quite often, our first response is to try and get back at those who have blind-sided us or who have laid false charges against us - but not in Samuel's case. He took his pain and hurt - his rejection and despair - to his heavenly Father.
And what an amazing reception he received for instead of telling Samuel all he had done wrong, God said to his faithful child, "Samuel, it's not you they are rejecting, it's Me. Let Me carry the burden of their attacks, not you." If this isn't a total example of God's graciousness toward His children, I don't know what is. God could have pointed out to Samuel the places where he had failed - for we all have. And sometimes we bring trouble upon ourselves. However, this isn't the way our loving Father operates. Instead He told Samuel, "Don't you carry the burden and heartache of rejection, let Me."
What a Father we have. How grateful we should be for the wonderful lesson we can learn from this incident.
When you are falsely blamed, when others throw accusations at you, when you are rejected and alone, take your heartache to God who says, "Anyone who attacks you attacks Me." What kindness and love. No wonder our Father's forgiveness is unlike any other.
However, there's another lesson for us to learn, too, from this experience. We are so quick to pick each other apart. Holding up each other's faults in an unforgiving and un-Christ-like manner. As author Steve Harvey penned, "There's a lust in man no charm can tame, of loudly publishing our neighbor's shame; on eagle's wings immoral scandals fly, while virtuous actions are but born to die." This is what happened to Samuel. All the years of Godly leadership and loving care were tossed aside for the human desire to be, "like all the other nations."
Thankfully, God did not forget His faithful servant, but reminded Samuel that his rejection was a rejection of God - the ultimate leader. And tomorrow we'll see where this ill-conceived decision took God's children.
"The greatest of all faults is to be conscious of none."
"A Prayer of Pain"
"My God, my God, have pity on me,
for I am greatly afflicted.
My heart is heavy laden,
my sorrow is like a stone
that weighs me down
and paves the road on which I walk alone.
I live on the margins of meaning,
I have nothing left to lose.
My nights are filled with weeping,
my days approach despair.
How shall I sing the song
I know is unwelcome everywhere?
I lift my life to Your justice,
I lift my love to Your own,
and wait on Your word,
like a lingering bird
when all of its flock have flown.
Let me touch the feet of Your mercy,
let me wash them with my tears,
let me hear Your word of comfort
dispelling all my fears.
Then my soul will sing of Your goodness,
and the earth will repeat the song,
‘til the sweet-smelling oil of gladness
anoints me and makes me strong.
My God, I am sorely afflicted.
It is more than I can bear.
Deliver me…have pity and hear my prayer.
My God, my God, have pity on me."
Dorothy Valcàrcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
P.S. My book, When A Woman Meets Jesus, is now available wherever books are sold and on the internet at www.amazon.com, Christianbook.com, or by calling toll-free, 1-800-Christian. You can also go to www.whenawomanmeetsjesus.com and purchase the book through Paypal for $10.00.
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