Archive for February 11th, 2008

Parenting, Prayers & Ripples

Who can tell just how far-reaching our influence may be? Because of Eli’s parenting skills (or perhaps, better stated, lack of them) many people’s lives were affected.

To think of everyone who was abused by his two boys as they violated the women, pillaged the men, and robbed from God, and the ripple effect from there on out, is mind-boggling.

1 Samuel 8 is just a microcosm of the ill-effects that Eli’s decisions regarding his children impacted world history.

(now don’t get me wrong, this isn’t a blog from a single gal blasting someone else’s child-rearing tactics. I’m more convicted by the question, “is there anything I am doing that will have a negative impact on someone else’s life?”)

The Israelites suffer through a number of years under High Priest Eli’s reign as his boys plunder the countryside. Samuel brings a reprieve and recovery is enjoyed by the children of God.

But apparently, though Samuel could lead a nation (perhaps due in part to his mother’s prayer for her son in 1 Samuel 2), he seemed most influenced by Eli when it came to parenting.

The first 3 verses of chapter 8 sound very reminiscent of the Phinehas and Hophni days.

“but his sons did not walk in the ways of Samuel; they turned aside after dishonest gain, took bribes, and perverted justice.”

As a result of the boys behavior, the elders of Israel demand a king. Its as if they were driven to the request because of how they were being treated by Sam’s sons. And just like a script right out of Hollywood, a lot of previewing for the chapters ahead are given to us in verses 10-18. The 400 years of kingdom-living will reek with everything described in those 9 verses!

But I like what Samuel did when people asked something of him. (Oh, how I wish I responded like him more often).

“The elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah and said, ‘Give us a king to judge us.’ So Samuel prayed to the Lord!”

  • I need to do this when I hear displeasing news.
  • I need to do this when I’m requested to do something.
  • I need to do this when confronted by a number of people on all sides.
  • I need to do this when someone attempts to manipulate me into thinking it’s my fault (see verse 5).
  • I need to do this when I am criticized or evaluated.
  • I need to do this all the time!

Oh Lord God, how many times I could have saved myself heartache and wasted time, if I had only prayed to You first. Teach me to come to You with every decision I make (that sounds like a lot of times in any given day Lord, but I don’t suppose there is such a thing as communicating with You too much!) And if I have started any negative ripples in this pool of life, I pray that You will intervene and convert them into splashes of joy instead!