1 Samuel 8:1-10
When Samuel grew old, he appointed his sons as judges over Israel. 2 His firstborn son’s name was Joel and his second was Abijah. They were judges in Beer-sheba. 3 However, his sons did not walk in his ways– they turned toward dishonest gain, took bribes, and perverted justice. 4 So all the elders of Israel gathered together and went to Samuel at Ramah. 5 They said to him, “Look, you are old, and your sons do not follow your example. Therefore, appoint a king to judge us the same as all the other nations have.” 6 When they said, “Give us a king to judge us,” Samuel considered their demand sinful, so he prayed to the LORD. 7 But the LORD told him, “Listen to the people and everything they say to you. They have not rejected you; they have rejected Me as their king. 8 They are doing the same thing to you that they have done to Me, since the day I brought them out of Egypt until this day, abandoning Me and worshiping other gods. 9 Listen to them, but you must solemnly warn them and tell them about the rights of the king who will rule over them.” 10 Samuel told all the LORD’s words to the people who were asking him for a king.
Rejection is tough. I can still remember the feeling of being cut from the local Little League baseball team in 5th grade. No one wants to be seen as a failure, a disappointment, a loser. In I Samuel 8 we are given the opportunity to look at how one man of God, a giant of the faith, dealt with bitter failure. I think the prophet Samuel may have experience the worst kind of rejection. He was rejected because of the failures of his children.
God understands rejection
Samuel should not have been surprised that the Israelites wanted to move on from his leadership. They wanted to be like their neighbors, and Samuel did a poor job at raising his own sons to be godly leaders who would walk in his footsteps. Yet we all know that even when we can see the rejection of others coming. Even when we understand why they picked another over us, it still hurts to be rejected.
No one understands the pain of rejection more than God. He reminds Samuel that the Israelites have been regularly turning their backs on their Redeemer for generations. The people who walked the Red Sea railed against Him in the wilderness, and it continues in the Promised Land.
You don’t need to be alone in rejection, because God understands your pain and your feelings of sorrow. He has loved His people only to watch them choose the pleasures of sin over fellowship with Him. Find your comfort in the One who walked this road first.
God aligns with the rejected
One of the most encouraging statements in the Bible is found in God’s words to Samuel in vs. 7: “They have not rejected you; they have rejected Me as their king.” God was not abandoning His prophet in this day of failure. He was standing beside Him. All of Israel may walk away from Samuel, but His God will not leave Him behind.
We are taught throughout Scripture that God takes pleasure in choosing the weak, the vulnerable, and despised by this world. He shows mercy to those who deserve none and have been trampled by the world. Remember in your poverty and loneliness that God takes pleasure in you, and He will stand by those who have been cast aside by the world.