Showing off the Wrong Thing

In the Old Testament, Samuel was a great man of God. He was a seer, judge, and prophet of God’s people, the children of Israel. Through the Israelites living during Old Testament times, we can learn many lessons about God’s favor, because He lavished it on them, but they didn’t always show their appreciation. 2Timothy 2:13(NLT) tells us, “If we are unfaithful, he remains faithful, for he cannot deny who he is.” Our Heavenly Father is always and forever faithful, but we are not. Sometimes, we allow our commitment to God to waver, and we focus our attention elsewhere. This is what the children of Israel did. Even after the Lord showed them tremendous blessings and favor, they were not satisfied.

God’s desire has always been to have a special relationship with His children. Many other regions during the periods covered in the Old Testament had kings. These individuals were chosen to be kings because they were known to be strong, virile, courageous, and possess many other attributes that people found desirous. Once in power, kings were treated as gods. They were worshipped, adored, and adorned with the very finest. The people of Israel were to be different, because the One True God had chosen them as His special people. Moses told them in Deuteronomy 7:6(NLT), “For you are a holy people, who belong to the LORD your God. Of all the people on earth, the LORD your God has chosen you to be his own special treasure.”

This was a warning to the people of Israel. Idol worship was rampant, and they could not have any friendship or association with idols or idolaters. They were to be in communion with God and fellowship with darkness was an absolute no, no. God’s motive was to bless His people, but we must remember that our Heavenly Father is a Righteous Judge. Hebrews 11:6(NLT) tells us that He is a Rewarder to those that diligently seek Him, but He will reward unrighteousness. When Heavenly Father tells us the truth, we must have faith in what He says. The evidence that we have faith in what He says is to actually DO what He says.

There could be no doubting who God is. He has no equal. His power is unlimited, and His promises are never broken. Other nations of that time were mightier and more numerous than God’s chosen people, but His promise was that He would handle everything, and He demonstrated this before His people repeatedly. There was a covenant and communion between God and His people living during this time, and no other group of people had it. Quite naturally, one would expect as the other nations were showing off their kings, that the children of Israel would demonstrate an allegiance and appreciation for their Father, who is the King of Kings. It would seem a given that they would be incredibly devoted to Him, but this was not the case.

The Israelites wanted a king like all the other nations. They told God’s prophet, Samuel, in 1Samuel 8:5(NLT), “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 didn’t like what was going on, and he went to the Lord for guidance. God said in 1Samuel 8:7-8(NLT), ““7 Do everything they say to you,” the LORD replied, “for it is me they are rejecting, not you. They don’t want me to be their king any longer.” 8 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.””

God shows us many examples in His Word of individuals that wanted God’s blessings, but not for the right reasons. They wanted to show off and gloat about the wrong thing. In the Old Testament Book of Esther, King Xerxes’ empire had such opulent wealth that he had a party for six months for all the dignitaries of the provinces under his rule. King Xerxes was proud of his grandeur and wealth, and he wanted to show it off with extravagance. It was vain and arrogant and would serve no purpose other than showing off.

Esther 1:5 tells us that when the party was over, he threw a banquet for all the people of lesser or no particular rank. His queen, Vashti, gave a banquet for the women in the royal palace. Vashti was very beautiful, and the King, feeling good from all the wine he drank at the celebration, sent for Vashti. He wanted her to wear her wonderfully ornate crown so he could parade her beauty in front of the nobles that he wanted to impress. Well, Vashti refused the king’s command and things did not end well for her.

Heavenly Father tells us in Proverbs 16:18-19(NLT), “Pride goes before destruction, and haughtiness before a fall. 19 Better to live humbly with the poor than to share plunder with the proud.” Things don’t end well when the focus of our hearts is on the wrong things. When our motivation is bragging rights on material things and other stuff that isn’t important to God’s Kingdom, we are out of alignment with God’s Will. He tells us in Romans 12:2 that we shouldn’t allow the world to transform us in that way, but instead, we need to be focused on what God is doing internally through Jesus Christ. We need to be concerned with becoming more and more like Jesus Christ every day.

Jeremiah 9:23-24(NLT) tells us, “23 This is what the LORD says: “Don’t let the wise boast in their wisdom, or the powerful boast in their power, or the rich boast in their riches. 24 But those who wish to boast should boast in this alone: that they truly know me and understand that I am the LORD who demonstrates unfailing love and who brings justice and righteousness to the earth, and that I delight in these things.” We are quick to excuse ourselves from being prideful and often feel as if we have some reason to be, but it is a violation of our duty to recognize the sovereignty, power, and magnificence of our God. He alone deserves all glory and honor, and the generosity of His love is so overwhelming that He has given us the privilege to come under its shelter. 1Corinthians 1:31(NIV) says, “Therefore, as it is written: “Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.” The goodness of God is our only reason to boast. It’s forever and always the right thing to show off, and we should continually rejoice because of God’s goodness every day of our lives.■

Scripture quotations marked (NLT) are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved.

“Showing Off the Wrong Thing”, written by JMack,© 2022. All rights reserved. All praise and honor to God through Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.

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