Saturday, September 27, 2014

The Good Ol' Days That Weren't

Monday, September 29, 2014
As Samuel grew old, he appointed his sons to be judges over Israel.  Joel and Abijah, his oldest sons, held court in Beersheba.  But they were not like their father, for they were greedy for money.  They accepted bribes and perverted justice.  Finally, all the elders of Israel met at Ramah to discuss the matter with Samuel.   “Look,” they told him, “you are now old, and your sons are not like you.  Give us a king to judge us like all the other nations have.”  Samuel was displeased with their request and went to the Lord for guidance.  “Do everything they say to you,” the Lord replied, “for they are rejecting me, not you.  They don’t want me to be their king any longer.  Ever since I brought them from Egypt they have continually abandoned me and followed other gods.  And now they are giving you the same treatment.  Do as they ask, but solemnly warn them about the way a king will reign over them.”        
1 Samuel 8:1-9 (NLT)

Rebellion demands that each generation despise something of the previous one. 

The Prophet Samuel’s sons, Joel and Abijah were no exception.  They were reared in a preacher’s household and put in charge of the ministry when their father got ready to retire.  But unlike their father, the sons did not respect the nature of unselfish leadership; they were greedy, and when they rejected the call of God on their lives it caused nothing but trouble for everyone!

There is abundant example across the pages of Holy Scripture that show how the past is much less “rose colored” than individual or collective memory might lead us to believe.  In short, the good ol’ days weren’t!

The good ol’ days of Jacob were rotten days.  “Jacob” means “trickster” or “supplanter” – he bullied and schemed his way to the top.  God later re-named him “Israel” (Prince of God), but the rebellion in him made for a tough climb out of many a mess.

Nobody names their child “Judas” or “Adolph” anymore; those rebellious lives ended badly.  Not good ol’ days at all!

And do you recall how the children of God followed Moses around the desert complaining about the food, clothing and lack of water?  They wailed that they wanted to go back to their good ol’ days of onions and slavery in Egypt. 

Go figure!

So why is it that people in churches still clamor for the good ol’ days? 

Now, hold on; before you call the bishop on me, let me disclaim that I have it in me too.  I remember the good ol’ days in the church of my youth.  But I also recall the rebelliousness that led me away from church for a number of years.  If those good ol’ days were that good, why did I run?

I guess the point is that, for most of us…uhhh…ALL of us…we just have to go through it; we just have to rebel until the past catches up with us.

Like Jacob we have to wrestle with God’s angel and roll around in the dust until we get tired, covered in mud, bruised and disjointed enough – honest enough – to quiet down so we can see how our rebellion has taken us to the Prodigal’s pigpen.

Like David, we’ve got to sin big enough to invite the rebuke of God to wake us up to the cost of our rebellion.

Frankly, I wouldn’t go back to those good ol’ days for love or money! 

That’s why I’m trying to go forward every morning.

For You, Today
As you think about your good ol’ days remember them accurately with all the good stuff AND the warts and rebellion; then thank God for where, what and Whose you are today.

And then move forward in joy and peace.

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