Matters of Faith: Be Careful of What You Ask For

By Reverend J. Loren Russell, BA, MDiv.

1 Samuel 8:4-7, 19-20

4 Then all the leaders of Israel met together, went to Samuel in Ramah, 5 and said to him, “Look, you are getting old and your sons don’t follow your example. So then, appoint a king to rule over us, so that we will have a king, as other countries have.” 6 Samuel was displeased with their request for a king; so he prayed to the Lord, 7 and the Lord said, “Listen to everything the people say to you. You are not the one they have rejected; I am the one they have rejected as their king. 19 The people paid no attention to Samuel, but said, “No! We want a king, 20 so that we will be like other nations, with our own king to rule us and to lead us out to war and to fight our battles.”

As we approach election day, there is much debate as to who will be elected and what agenda they will advocate. Without question, we are living in one of the most polarized political climates in this country’s history. Domestic terrorism is no longer a rarity, but an all too frequent headline. Political extremism is not isolated in these United States but can be seen in many other industrialized nations around the world.

The Israelites were experiencing political challenges of their own. The Prophet Samuel appointed his sons in leadership roles as judges of the people, but they didn’t follow their father’s example or his leadership style. They were only interested in making money, taking bribes and deciding cases in an unjust fashion (v. 3). The people recognized that these boys were corrupt and asked Samuel to give them a king like all the other nations around them.

Samuel took their request to the Lord who told him to give them a king. The Lord seems to comfort Samuel by telling him that the people weren’t rejecting his choice of his sons, not their corrupt leadership, they were rejecting Him. Then He tells Samuel to strictly warn them and let them know how their king will treat them. The inappropriate behavior and corrupt leadership of his sons was nothing in comparison to what they would face with a king (vv. 10-18).

Every generation and every society must make political decisions that will impact the entire nation. We are living in the consequences of our previous decisions, consequences that are affecting everyone, including those who are a part of churches, synagogues, temples, or mosques. Please exercise your civic duty and cast your vote. The Israelites decided how they wanted to be governed.

We will soon go to the polls and elect those who will govern our local and national landscape. We will also vote on some critical ballot proposals that will establish policy that will determine how we are governed.

I wouldn’t dare to tell anyone how to vote, bat as the Lord cautioned the Israelites, I want to caution you…, be careful of what you ask for.

Be Blessed +++

Reverend J. Loren Russell is an associate minister at both Goodwill and The Greater Universal Baptist Churches in the Bronx, President/CEO of The JLR Company for Church Financial &. Strategic Consulting, and hosts “Matters of Faith – The Radio Show” on Soul 1 Radio, Mondays 8:00 – 10:00 PM. Listen by phone” at 626-226-1448. Be sure to Friend “Matters of Faith” on Facebook and email us at Order your copy of Matters of Faith: The Book at Book Blues.

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