Scripture Reading: I Samuel 8:1-3

“Yet his sons did not walk in his ways but turned aside after gain. They took bribes and perverted justice.” (I Samuel 8:3)

Nothing can grieve a parent more than to have rebellious children. Samuel’s two sons, Joel and Abijah, did not walk in the ways of Samuel. They were dishonest — “They turned aside after gain.” They were guilty of bribery and they perverted justice. They abused their power when Samuel made them judges over Israel.

The sad fact is that even children of godly parents can become rebellious. Samuel’s sons had the advantage of being brought up by a godly father. Samuel was one of the most faithful and devout servants of the Lord during his time. There is nothing negative said about him in all the Scripture.

Samuel gave his sons godly names. Joel means “Jehovah is God” and Abijah means “my father is Jehovah.” These men had the tremendous advantage of being brought up in a covenant home. But they chose to rebel against their father and against his God. It is easy to understand the rebellion of the sons of Eli, but it is hard to understand the rebellion of the sons of Samuel.

We are very blessed that all our children are walking with the Lord. I am so thankful for God’s work in their lives. My heart is heavy for parents of children who have become rebellious to the things of God. I can only imagine the grief and disappointment they are experiencing.

What can parents do if their children are rebellious to the things of God? Parents must remember that they cannot save their children, only the Lord Jesus can save them. However, parents can pray and never give up. All of us can follow Jesus’ instructions about prayer and claim his promises — “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened” (Matthew 7:7,8). Never quit praying for them!

Parents of rebellious children must also continue to claim God’s covenant promises for their children. Never give up on rebellious children. It may take years, but I have seen God bring rebellious children back to Himself.

Lord God, I thank You for the work of grace that You have done in my children’s lives. I pray for them as they bring up their children up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. My heart is heavy for parents whose children have turned away from their faith and are not walking in the ways of their parents. Lord, hear their cries for their children. Bring the prodigal sons and daughters back into fellowship with You.


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