1 Samuel 8:3 “And his sons walked not in his ways, but turned aside after lucre, and took bribes, and perverted judgment.”
The blame game of who was wrong because Samuel’s boys did not live right is often misplaced. We can sit and wonder what Samuel did that would cause his boys to go wrong, but we will miss the mark of who was wrong if we are looking to excuse their rebellious ways. The ways that Samuel lived were not bad ways; in fact, Samuel lived a righteous life and was a great example for his boys. God never tells us how much time Samuel gave to his boys as they were growing up, so if we are looking for a reason as to why they went wrong, we cannot blame the time that he gave to them. God never tells us if Samuel took a day off or a vacation to spend with his boys, so we cannot blame this for his boys turning out wrong.
Who is to blame for Samuel’s boys not turning out right? The answer is found in the verse above. The verse above says, “And his sons walked not in his ways, but turned aside…” Hold on, nobody made them turn aside, but THEY chose to turn aside. Nobody caused them to walk in a different way, but they chose to walk in a different way. The reason Samuel’s boys didn’t do right was not that Samuel didn't give them time, was too busy with the ministry, or was too hard on them; the reason they didn't do right was because they were rebellious and chose not to do right.
We are quick to blame the ways of the old paths for why rebellious children don't do right when we ought to point our finger at the cause of the rebellious person, and that is they chose to rebel. The ways of the old paths are not wrong, but the rebellion of the rebel who blames the old paths is what is wrong. Let me ask, why are the old paths wrong when all the old paths do is show someone how to be blessed if they will walk in those ways? Was God’s way wrong in Heaven when Lucifer rebelled? It is never the “strictness” of the old paths that cause a person to rebel, but they rebel because they are rebellious.
Moreover, the parents who pointed a child to walk in the old paths didn't force them to turn aside. To believe this mindset is to say that the car forced the driver to take the wrong exit. No, the car didn't force the driver to take the wrong exit, but the driver turned onto the wrong exit themselves. Likewise, it is not the parent who was involved in the ministry and showed their children how to live a blessed life that caused someone to turn aside, but their rebellious heart caused them to turn aside.
It is time we stop blaming the parents, the pastor, and the old paths Baptist church for rebellious people, and instead, blame the rebel for choosing to rebel against God’s way. It is tiring to hear people say, “Don’t lose your children because you are too busy in the ministry.” Let me ask you, why doesn't anyone say, “Don't lose your children because you are too busy having them play sports.”? Or, “Don't lose your children because you are too busy making money so your children can live in a plush home.”
My friend, the reason a person chooses not to serve the LORD is because they chose not to serve the LORD. The reason a person doesn't walk in the ways of the LORD is not the way’s fault but the rebel’s fault. We can save many children from straying the wrong way if we stop blaming the way and giving an excuse for the rebel to live their rebellious life, but point to their rebellion as the cause.