Each of us has likely heard the warning “be careful what you wish for”. It seems in our humanness we are often prone to believe the grass IS truly greener on the other side of the fence, or we recreate the “good ole days” into utopia. In the song The Way We Were, Barbara Streisand sings “Mem’ries may be beautiful and yet What’s too painful to remember We simply choose to forget”. Whether imagined or remade we do often seem to romanticize that which is not available to us while diminishing all we have.
One of the most often referenced “be careful what you wish for” stories in scripture is found in 1 Samuel 8, when Israel clamors for a king.
“The Lord said to Samuel, “Listen to the voice of the people in regard to all that they say to you, for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me from being king over them. “ (v.7) And while the choice to reject God’s plan was reflective of their own hardened hearts and rested squarely on their shoulders, their demand was precipitated by Samuel’s sons not fulfilling their God-given duties: “His sons, however, did not walk in his ways, but turned aside after dishonest gain and took bribes and perverted justice. Then all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah; and they said to him, “Behold, you have grown old, and your sons do not walk in your ways. Now appoint a king for us to judge us like all the nations.” (v 3-5 emphasis added).
I am not sure how many times I have read that passage, but today was the first time those verses stuck out to me. It made me stop to wonder how many times we – individually or as the Church collectively – prompt others to indulge their wishes while ignoring God’s because of our own inaction or disobedience. Another reminder of the importance of allowing God to Father us as we seek to reflect His love and purpose as we in turn father our children and serve those in our circle of influence.