SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 2 (EGW)

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Chapter 8

1-3. Samuel's Sons Loved Reward—Samuel had judged Israel from his youth. He had been a righteous and impartial judge, faithful in all his work. He was becoming old; and the people saw that his sons did not follow his footsteps. Although they were not vile, like the children of Eli, yet they were dishonest and double-minded. While they aided their father in his laborious work, their love of reward led them to favor the cause of the unrighteous (The Spirit of Prophecy 1:353). 2BC 1012.4

1-5. Samuel Was Deceived in His Sons—These young men had received faithful instructions from their father, both by precept and example. They were not ignorant of the warnings given to Eli, and the divine judgments visited upon him and his house. They were apparently men of sterling virtue and integrity, as well as intellectual promise. It was with the full assent of the people that Samuel shared with his sons the responsibilities of office. But the characters of these young men were yet to be tested. Separated from their father's influence, it would be seen whether they were true to the principles which he had taught them. The result showed that Samuel had been painfully deceived in his sons. Like many young men of today who have been blessed with good abilities, they perverted their God-given powers. The honor bestowed upon them rendered them proud and self-sufficient. They did not make the glory of God their aim, nor did they seek earnestly to Him for strength and wisdom. Yielding to the power of temptation, they became avaricious, selfish, and unjust. God's Word declares that “they walked not in His ways, but turned aside after lucre, and took bribes, and perverted judgment” (The Signs of the Times, February 2, 1882). 2BC 1012.5

5. Like All the Nations—The dissatisfied longing for worldly power and display, is as difficult to cure now as in the days of Samuel. Christians seek to build as worldlings build, to dress as worldlings dress,—to imitate the customs and practices of those who worship only the god of this world. The instructions of God's Word, the counsels and reproofs of His servants, and even warnings sent directly from His throne, seem powerless to subdue this unworthy ambition. When the heart is estranged from God, almost any pretext is sufficient to justify a disregard of His authority. The promptings of pride and self-love are gratified at whatever expense to the cause of God (The Signs of the Times, July 13, 1882). 2BC 1013.1

6. Faithfulness Brings Criticism—The unconsecrated and world-loving are ever ready to criticise and condemn those who have stood fearlessly for God and the right. If a defect is seen in one whom the Lord has intrusted with great responsibilities, then all his former devotion is forgotten, and an effort is made to silence his voice and destroy his influence. But let these self-constituted judges remember that the Lord reads the heart. They cannot hide its secrets from His searching gaze. God declares that He will bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing (The Signs of the Times, July 13, 1882). 2BC 1013.2

6, 7. Useful Men Seldom Appreciated—The most useful men are seldom appreciated. Those who have labored most actively and unselfishly for their fellow man, and who have been instrumental in achieving the greatest results, are often repaid with ingratitude and neglect. When such men find themselves set aside, their counsels slighted and despised, they may feel that they are suffering great injustice. But let them learn from the example of Samuel not to justify or vindicate themselves, unless the Spirit of God unmistakably prompts to such a course. Those who despise and reject the faithful servant of God, not merely show contempt for the man, but for the Master who sent him. It is God's words, His reproofs and counsel, that are set at naught; His authority that is rejected (The Signs of the Times, July 13, 1882). 2BC 1013.3