God's Way, No Other Way!
by Judy Webb
When Samuel got to be an old man, he set his sons up as judges in Israel... But his sons didn’t take after him; they were out for what they could get for themselves, taking bribes, corrupting justice. (1 Samuel 8:1-3)
These are the words preceding today’s reading, and helpful in understanding all that is happening to give us our first clue...something will go very wrong. “They did not take after their father. They did not follow God.” Are you confused as I am? Shouldn’t Samuel have known this? Maybe he was thinking this honor would turn his boys around and they would follow God.
Judges were appointed by God and He ruled through these Judges, who were empowered to champion and protect His people. But at some point, the Prophet Samuel selected his sons as Judges over the people. These two men, not appointed by God, brought the people down.
How is Samuel going to get out of this mess? How can he do what God appointed him to do and not alienate his sons? Sounds like a real predicament, which often happens when we don’t follow the way God laid out for us. Can you think of an instance when you found yourself in a similar pickle? What happened, how did you rectify the situation?
Read 1 Samuel 8 for the entire story. Learn how the people were tired of being ruled by these two corrupt men and decided they wanted to have a king. They forgot they were a people, chosen by God and therefore meant to be different than all the others; to stand out in the crowd. How many times have I not heeded God's direction and gone my own way? How many prayers have I uttered, begging for something I knew in my heart would not be in my best interests? There is no need for me to voice them. God knows best, but we want what we want.
Give us wisdom to know how time does time helps to mature wisdom in each of us. Teach us to trust and obey. It always works best when we follow God's direction. He will never steer us wrong. Even when we are certain that we know best, prayer will clarify our direction. Trust and obey...there is no other way.