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Choices-A Guide to making wise decisions

I am beginning with the Scripture from which we are looking at today. It is found in 1 Samuel 8. Please read this so that you have a reminder as to what the Word is saying as we consider Choices-A Guide to making wise decisions.


1 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 profit, 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 walk in your ways. 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 wrong, 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 solemnly warn them and tell them about the customary rights of the king who will reign over them.”

10 Samuel told all the Lord’s words to the people who were asking him for a king. 

11 He said, “These are the rights of the king who will reign over you: He will take your sons and put them to his use in his chariots, on his horses, or running in front of his chariots. 

12 He can appoint them for his use as commanders of thousands or commanders of fifties, to plow his ground and reap his harvest, or to make his weapons of war and the equipment for his chariots. 

13 He can take your daughters to become perfumers, cooks, and bakers. 

14 He can take your best fields, vineyards, and olive orchards and give them to his servants. 

15 He can take a tenth of your grain and your vineyards and give them to his officials and servants. 

16 He can take your male servants, your female servants, your best young men, and your donkeys and use them for his work. 

17 He can take a tenth of your flocks, and you yourselves can become his servants. 

18 When that day comes, you will cry out because of the king you’ve chosen for yourselves, but the Lord won’t answer you on that day.”

19 The people refused to listen to Samuel. “No!” they said. “We must have a king over us. 

20 Then we’ll be like all the other nations: our king will judge us, go out before us, and fight our battles.”

21 Samuel listened to all the people’s words and then repeated them to the Lord.

22 “Listen to them,” the Lord told Samuel. “Appoint a king for them.”

Then Samuel told the men of Israel, “Each of you, go back to your city.”

Choices-A Guide to making wise decisions is something that God laid on my heart to preach recently. As I thought about and prayed over the message, God was speaking to me as to how we as His children should be navigating life. There are so many things that happen in our lives that can and do cause us heartache and confusion.


We can certainly imagine that Samuel was very upset at the manner in which his sons had handled the responsibilities they had been given. They weren’t doing what Samuel would have done and more so they were treating their positions for their own self interest. This may seem odd to us that they would act in such a way. Unfortunately, we see this type of behavior throughout God’s Word. We also see it every day in our world.


There were those who saw what was going on and came to Samuel. Now, they didn’t come asking or even wanting Samuel to correct the problem. They had a plan of their own and wanted Samuel to implement their plan. As Elaine would say about those who came, “did they even pray about what to do?”. Well, clearly they had not. Like so many today, they thought they had the answer and they didn’t need God to do anything except sit back and watch things unfold.

Actually, God doesn’t work that way. Even when Samuel didn’t agree with their request, he prayed to God. You see that is how God works. He works through the prayers of His people to reveal His plan of action.


I wonder if Samuel thought God was going to agree with him? Come on, be honest, there have many times you have prayed and asked God about something and you were pretty sure God was going to side with you. So, Samuel was surprised when God told him to give them what they asked for. Now you are getting a little worried. You got what you wanted but was it really the best from God? Was getting a king really the best for them? No, they already had one but they rejected Him. In the latter part of verse 5 God said “…they have rejected me as their king.”. They had one but they rejected Him.


An important point to make here is that we have a King and we should daily be honoring Him. We should be following His directives, reading His Word and listening to the Holy Spirit.


They got what they asked for, but we learn invaluable lessons from this text.


1) Be careful what you ask for because what you ask for may not be the best for you.

In Verse 5 we see that in light of the situation and the failures of Samuels sons they came up with their own plan.


… Therefore, appoint a king to judge us the same as all the other nations have.”


We all ask much of God but we should be careful in what we ask. There is a Garth Brooks song that has a line in it that fits perfectly in this thought that …”just because He doesn't answer doesn't mean He don't care, some of God's greatest gifts are unanswered prayers“. Of course prayer is an important and foundational manner in which we can and should be relating daily with God. Which leads to the next item in the guide to wise decisions.


2) Be careful that you don’t miss the opportunity to pray

We have already determined that the people had never prayed about the situation. They could have sought God but they didn’t. He would have given them wisdom to handle a bad situation. Yet in verse 6 When they said, “Give us a king to judge us,” Samuel considered their demand wrong, so he prayed to the Lord. 


I think what is important here is that Samuel did what they should have done and we should all do. Whether we agree or not we should pray. It is that ”let God be God thing” that so many miss occurring in their life.

We have heard it said and it is worth repeating here that “a prayer changes things”. It changes our perspective, our thoughts, and may well change the decision we would have made into the one that is best for us. God gave us prayer as a means of knowing His will in our lives.

Jesus taught the disciples about prayer and we learn from that teaching in the form of a model prayer. In Matthew 6:10b He says your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.

Our thoughts and actions each day are to focus on having His will done in our lives. Prayer is an intergral part of that occurring.


3) Be careful that you don’t reject the Lord


So in verses 7-9 God explains this to Samuel


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 solemnly warn them and tell them about the customary rights of the king who will reign over them.”


This may seem to be a harsh word but it is truly an important point to note. We don’t want to think or even consider that we might reject God. It sounds and seems improbable that we could do such a thing. Yet there are times when we do just that and when we do we suffer. Our rejection inhibits the Lord from working in our lives.


This is why we are instructed to not grieve or quench the Holy Spirit of God. I read recently this simple but insightful explanation of that both quenching and grieving the Spirit are similar in their effects. Both hinder a godly lifestyle. Both happen when a believer sins against God and follows his or her own worldly desires.


4) Be careful that you understand what you are going to get

We often are unclear on what will happen if we get what we ask for from God. In verses 10-17, God tells Samuel what the people need to understand. This was not so they might reconsider, although they certainly should have. Yet like so many, and you and I are in that group, we have a pretty good idea what is going to happen. However, we keep on and God allows us to get what we asked for even though it was not His best for us.


10 Samuel told all the Lord’s words to the people who were asking him for a king. 

11 He said, “These are the rights of the king who will reign over you: He will take your sons and put them to his use in his chariots, on his horses, or running in front of his chariots. 

12 He can appoint them for his use as commanders of thousands or commanders of fifties, to plow his ground and reap his harvest, or to make his weapons of war and the equipment for his chariots. 

13 He can take your daughters to become perfumers, cooks, and bakers. 

14 He can take your best fields, vineyards, and olive orchards and give them to his servants. 

15 He can take a tenth of your grain and your vineyards and give them to his officials and servants. 

16 He can take your male servants, your female servants, your best young men, and your donkeys and use them for his work. 

17 He can take a tenth of your flocks, and you yourselves can become his servants. 

5) Be careful that you understand there is no turning back

When it is all said and done we read in verses 21-22 that-


21 Samuel listened to all the people’s words and then repeated them to the Lord.

22 “Listen to them,” the Lord told Samuel. “Appoint a king for them.” Then Samuel told the men of Israel, “Each of you, go back to your city.”


Clearly this was not the best thing and certainly not what God desired for His people. Now there is no turning back and they will suffer the consequences of their actions. They acted in deference to God and His servant Samuel. Even when they knew what the outcome would be they still wanted it their way.


This is a hard reality but one that is repeated daily by God’s people. Oh, I know you think “not me” and so would, I but I know from personal experience that isn’t true.


So we learn from our experiences and do better the next time. We listen to and obey His Word and the leadership of His Spirit. So that when we have to make choices we can make the right decision.


In God’s Grace,


Elbert Nasworthy






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