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How God Brings Light into a Dark Situation

In the midst of political and spiritual corruption, God raises up leaders who listen to his word.


Today we will be looking at 1 Samuel 2:12-36, although we'll focus on verses 12-26. About a year ago now, the Arab Spring was just starting, and we've seen the impact of it in a whole range of different places. Even a year afterwards, the rumblings continue. Protestors are not just calling for reform. They're after revolution. They didn't simply want a change in leaders, to get rid of a particular individual, but a change in the whole political system. Only time will tell how successful they've been.

Three thousand years ago, in 1 Samuel, a period of similar political turmoil led to a complete change of the system of government. At this point, we are moving from the time of the judges into the time of monarchy. But from the start of this book, which charts this movement from judges to monarchy, the writer wants us to be in no doubt that the fundamental problem is not political; it's spiritual. It's sin. It's the rejection of the rule of God. In those days "everyone did as he saw fit," what was right in his own eyes. That's the fundamental problem.

You can have a complete change of political system, and this problem can remain. Let's not fool ourselves into thinking that if we could somehow spread democracy around the world, everything would be sorted out. I believe with Winston Churchill that democracy is the least bad form of government. I'm a democrat in that sense. But it was a democratic government that elected Adolph Hitler.

The fundamental problem of society is spiritual. And what we need is not a change of political system but a reestablishment of God's rule. And, praise God, he's determined to do so. If he wasn't, the Bible would have ended at Genesis 3. In Genesis 3 human beings reject the rule of God. ...

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Vaughan Roberts is the rector of St Ebbe's Church, Oxford, United Kingdom, president of the Proclamation Trust, and author of several books including God's Big Picture.

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Sermon Outline:


I. Eli's sons: religious but wicked

II. Eli: good but weak

III. Samuel: unnoticed but crucial