In I Samuel 8, John 6, and Psalm 106, we read about people who don’t heed the Lord. Interestingly, God reacts differently in each situation.
In I Samuel, the Israelites are upset for good reason. Samuel’s children are not godly leaders (v. 3). However, the Israelite conclusion is clearly not God’s best. They demand a king in order to be like those around them. Although this upsets Samuel, God, seemingly not bothered, urges Samuel to “warn” them of the drawbacks of a king (v. 9). The Israelites “refuse” to listen (v. 19), so God instructs Samuel to give them a king (v. 22). He gives what they want, knowing it’s not best.
In John, a crowd peppers Jesus with ostensibly legitimate questions. But Christ knows their hearts, and, while answering, He explains “You have seen me, and still you do not believe” (v. 16). They prove Jesus right by “grumbling” at the passage’s end (v. 41-42). Jesus’ responds to their unbelief by continuing in His Father’s will, undeterred. He’s declared the truth—those that listen to Him will have eternal life; those that don’t, won’t.
In Psalm 106, God strongly answers the Israelites’ abject disobedience. They “angered” Him (v. 32) because they “mingled” with the world, taking on their ways, rather than God’s (v. 35). So, God gives them to their enemies (v. 41).
We react to the Lord with the very same indifference to His guidance, disbelief to His teaching, and disobedience to His boundaries. Our default position is to look to the world like the Israelites did when they decided they wanted a king or “mingled” with the world, or we grumble at teaching that doesn’t fit our finite understanding. We must consider the Israelites and God’s response to them before we (even unthinkingly) disregard Him.
How much better to receive His very best by looking to Him and His Word for guidance, teaching, and boundaries. Then, rather than being like the world, we can be like the nation or servant in Proverbs 14, one whom the Lord exalts and in whom He delights.
Question: In what ways am I “mingling” the ways/thinking of the world with my faith?
Dear Lord, please show me how I am chasing after the world instead of following You. Give me a heart that loves Your ways instead of the world’s.