Ask Me About My Grandchildren

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Bumper stickers bearing these words were popular several years ago. It may surprise you to know that, “Ask me about my grandchildren,” could pass for a loose paraphrase of Proverbs 17:6, which reads, “Grandchildren are the crown of old men.” This is both a biblical and natural truth.

If this bumper sticker had been around in the days of the Old Testament prophet, Samuel, I think he would have one stuck on the tail of his mule.

Why would I say that? Let me explain.

Samuel was God’s man of the hour at a dark time in Israel’s history. His ministry began at the end of the period of the Judges. The tragic theme for that era, and for the book of Judges itself, is found in Judges 17:6, which is repeated in the last verse of the book—“In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes” (Judges 21:25).

The nation of Israel was decayed to the core. In the area of government—there was pure anarchy; In the realm of religion—there was empty formalism or downright heathenism; As to the condition of morality—there was total laxity. It was a sex-saturated society.

However, in the midst of this moral poverty, a barren wife vowed to give her child completely to the service of God, if He would act on her behalf. God said “Yes” and Samuel was born.

Samuel was the first Prophet-Priest, and his ministry was empowered by God. He was a leader of kings, anointing both King Saul and King David. He led Israel after the judges and before the kings. For decades, Samuel was God’s man.

When Samuel began to grow old, he made his two sons judges over Israel, hoping they would follow his steps. But Samuel’s sons lacked the integrity and godliness of their father—“His sons, however, did not walk in his ways, but turned aside after dishonest gain and took bribes and perverted justice” (1 Samuel 8:3). It seems the great prophet was not a great father. The people, not wanting dishonest men, demanded a king, and Samuel gave them what they desired. From this time forward, not much is revealed about Samuel’s sons.

As we look at this story, our hearts ache for Samuel. Seemingly, family godliness ended with him. We may picture his death, as a broken old man, with disobedient children, and no hope.

However, that would not be an accurate picture. Hidden away, in the obscurity of a long list of unpronounceable names in 1 Chronicles, you will find the genealogy of a godly man named, Heman, whose name means “faithful.” Heman was a Levite personally appointed by King David, to preside over the singing of praise to God. Who is this worship minister? “Heman, a singer, the son of Joel, the son of Samuel, the son of Elkanah” (1 Chronicles 6:33-34). This spiritual leader of praise to God is none other than Samuel’s grandson!

God, who had employed Samuel in such a mighty way, now used his grandson, to sing, lead, and play music as the Ark of the Covenant of God was brought into Jerusalem (1 Chron. 15:13-24). Heman was appointed by name to serve, continually give thanks to God for His mercy, and to play “with trumpets and cymbals for those who should sound aloud, and with instruments for the songs of God” (1 Chronicles 16:41-42).

Heman and his sons proved to be faithful servants of God for years, as they, under King Solomon, led worship during the dedication of the Temple (2 Chron. 5:11-14). On that special day, as Heman’s choir and orchestra sang and played with cymbals, psalteries and harps, the very Glory of the Lord came down and filled God’s house to such an extent that they had to stop!

But the story doesn’t end there. These sons of Heman, great-grandsons of Samuel, were instrumental in one of the greatest revivals of the Old Testament. The Bible reveals that the sons of Heman, under King Hezekiah, were the principle leaders in the rededication of the Levites following a period of gross sin. They dedicated themselves to cleanse the House of God, the first step in a revival that shook the whole kingdom of Judah (2 Chron. 29:14-19). Following this revival, Scripture reads, “So there was great joy in Jerusalem, because there was nothing like this in Jerusalem since the days of Solomon the son of David, king of Israel” (2 Chronicles 30:26).

So, here is the point: Samuel’s sons proved to be unfaithful to the Lord. They were not pleasing to God, but Samuel may have had a godly influence on his grandson, Heman, and hence, on the whole future of the nation of Israel. Decades after Samuel’s death, his descendants were still active worshiping the true God.

If your children do not grow up and continue to serve the Lord, don’t give up! If God gives you grandchildren, challenge them with all your heart to live for God. Be, as a grandparent, a living example of Christ before them. We know that the son of an unfaithful son may one day be named “faithful!” That little one may be a future Heman in the eternal work of God.

If Samuel were alive today, without a doubt he would say, “Ask me about my grandchildren!” May it please God to give us generations of humble leaders and great servants to His glory!

Author: Larry E. Clements

Follower of Christ, fortunate to be husband to Pat, father of 5, grandfather of 12, writer, associate pastor of Pauline Baptist Church

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