1 Samuel 8:1-3. And it came to pass, when Samuel was old, that he made his sons judges over Israel. Now the name of his firstborn was Joel; and the name of his second, Abiah: they were judges in Beersheba. And his sons walked not in his ways, but turned aside after lucre, and took bribes, and perverted judgment.
God’s Way of Ruling
God’s way of ruling in Israel was through judges, for many years after Moses came out of Egypt and established the law of God. There were good judges, like Samuel, and then there were bad judges like his sons, Joel and Abiah. It tended to go through cycles of good and bad for many years. Regardless of the quality of the judges, God expected obedience from his people. There is no doubt that Joel and Abiah had an affect on the people of God and influenced them to desire a king. But that was not what God wanted. That was not God’s way of fixing the problem.
A King Instead of a Judge
The same is true in the contemporary church of today. There are, no doubt, good pastors and then there are hirlings, much like Joel and Abiah. The problem is that many people have good pastors and refuse to obey them. Instead, they leave good churches with good pastors, and then they seek out a Joel or Abiah, who will pervert judgment. They want to have someone who will preach smooth things to them and not require much of them, if anything; as long as they get their “lucre” each week in the offering plate. Much like the children of Israel, they want a king instead of a judge. The king takes a lot from them but in return fights all their battles for them. They don’t have to go to war. They don’t have to put together a militia to fight their own battles. Instead, they pay another tithe in taxes to the king and he fights their wars for them.
The Man of God and Not a Hirling
God’s way, with a man of God, who preaches against sin, tells his people what to do, and how to do it, is God’s method for today. We want the easy way out, like the world, and just get us a nice “king” preacher who will take our money, put us in bondage, and then fight our battles for us. In a good church, the congregation should do the majority of the work of God. There should not be any pew warmers. People should live for God and do what the man of God demands of them. There are few people who want a judge rather than a king in church today. Yes, your pastor is not going to be perfect, just like the children of Israel did not have perfect judges, but it is still God’s way and he is still God’s man, just like Samuel was God’s choice at the time. I am sure that sooner or later God would have taken Joel and Abiah out, if they did not get right. He did it with Eli’s sons. God can take care of the man of God. Our job is just to obey the Word of God and follow the man of God.