Wednesday, April 08, 2015

The Next Generation

Bill Rice Ranch - First Light Devotionals  

I Samuel 8:3 And his sons walked not in his ways, but turned aside after lucre, and took bribes, and perverted judgment.
The Next Generation


Samuel was a man who stood head and shoulders above most we read of in the Bible. There were two people who were very influential in Samuel's life, Hannah and Eli. The contrast between these two mentors is quite striking. Hannah was a woman with very little power. Eli had great power. Hannah was a mother. Eli was a father, but he was also a high priest.  Hannah gave her son to God. Eli, apparently, gave his sons to a feeling of entitlement.
The Bible says that Eli's sons were "sons of Belial" who didn't know the Lord. They were supposed to be serving God, but were instead serving themselves. God said that He would judge Eli's house forever for their iniquity. Eli was, in many ways, a good man who served God, but did not do well with his own sons.
What is even more remarkable is what the Bible says in I Samuel 8:3, "And his sons walked not in his ways, but turned aside after lucre, and took bribes, and perverted judgment." The striking thing about that verse is that it's not talking about Eli; it is talking about Samuel. This is Samuel, who grew up in Eli's sphere of influence and saw the tragedy of Eli's sons, and who God used instead of Eli's sons because of his submission. Samuel had seen what could happen in a home that was not fully surrendered to God and yet Samuel lost his own sons.
While the loss of Eli's sons is sad, the loss of Samuel's sons is even more tragic because Samuel had the warning of Eli's life. We must learn from the mistakes of the previous generations. Samuel's generation, sadly, did not do that.
We must also be an example to the next generation. In so many ways Samuel was a grand example. Obviously, Samuel's sons were accountable for their actions, but God held Eli accountable for not restraining his sons and one has to wonder how these sons could be serving themselves if they had been given the guidance that God intends through a father and mother.
We lose ground if we conquer new territory but don't win our own children each new generation. Perhaps there is territory that God would have His people to win in days ahead, victories to be won, people to be saved, ministries that God could use. If we would just keep the kids we ourselves have, then we would be far better off than we are right now. It is not that there is a choice between winning the world and winning our home. It's that winning our home first helps us to better win the world.
If you are walking in the ways of God, make sure that you learn from the previous generation, and that you pass God's ways on to the generation that follows you.

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