WE RUN THIS RACE ALONE
1. As Samuel grew old, he appointed his sons to be judges over Israel.
2. Joel and Abijah, his oldest sons, held court in Beersheba.
3. But they were not like their father, for they were greedy for money. They accepted bribes and perverted justice.
1 Samuel 8: 1–3 NLT
Today’s Passage offers us a Valuable Lesson on parenting and the Development of Leaders. Samuel has maintained his integrity throughout his tenure as Judge over Israel, but he has grown older, and the responsibilities of the traveling position became more than the old gent wished to maintain.
So, as any good father would do, Samuel set his sons up with an opportunity to follow in his footsteps and fill a position that would have set them up for the remainder of their lives. But for whatever reason, Samuel’s sons corrupted their stations, taking bribes and perverting the judgment they were commissioned to deliver.
From the position of an outsider looking in, no worse situation could arise, especially considering how Samuel got the job in the first place. It is interesting and somewhat ironic that the very same issue that prompted God to usher Samuel into his Leadership Position and Eli out is happening again in a new generation.
But what is even more ironic is that this situation would arise at all. Given the situation and who he was, how could Samuel have allowed his sons to corrupt the vaunted position in the first place? You’d think he would have drilled such strictures into them from the beginning, not waiting for the natural temptations of avarice to rear their ugly heads.
But Samuel’s sons fell to a similar pitfall as Eli’s did, Greed. They took money to alter their judgment, and as you might imagine, Samuel, the people, and God are not happy about it. But what happens next is what is truly important in The Story of Samuel and will change the entire narrative.
But before we get to that, let’s talk about Today’s Lesson. Regardless of your stance in God’s Kingdom, our walk with Christ is a Personal one. We cannot live life for anyone else; we have to decide to live for God on our own. Still, teaching those that come after us what it means to please God is Essential Knowledge, and we are commissioned to pass it along.
That does not mean that those we teach will ever follow our instructions. Eli’s sons and now Samuel’s are proof of that. Today’s Lesson comes from Today’s Passage, but it may be better framed by reading Philippians 2:12. There, it tells us to “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.”
We cannot make the decision to live right for anyone else. All we can do is be a good example for those we influence and correct them when we see them in the wrong. Samuel seemed to have failed in his duties as a father, if not a judge, by promoting unworthy individuals to the position.
A good leader knows the characters of his subordinates and delegates accordingly. But God is doing something specific here that no one else is aware of. It is a distinct possibility that He used the corruption of Samuel’s sons to usher in a new era of history in Israel that He had always intended but needed a catalyst to drive the people toward it.
We do not know how God does what he does, so my assessment of what is happening here may be flawed through the inadequacies of my human understanding. But one thing is clear; God is about to change everything for Israel, and this is only the beginning! Stick around to see what comes next but until then,
Have a Wonderful Wednesday And Remember, A Marathon Is An Individual Sport; No One Can Run This Race For You!