1 Samuel 8:1-9, 9:15-17 and 10:1 (NRSV)

1 When Samuel became old, he made his sons judges over Israel. 2 The name of his firstborn son was Joel, and the name of his second, Abijah; they were judges in Beer-sheba. 3 Yet his sons did not follow in his ways, but turned aside after gain; they took bribes and perverted justice. 4 Then all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah, 5 and said to him, “You are old and your sons do not follow in your ways; appoint for us, then, a king to govern us, like other nations.” 6 But the thing displeased Samuel when they said, “Give us a king to govern us.” Samuel prayed to the Lord, 7 and the Lord said to Samuel, “Listen to the voice of the people in all that they say to you; for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected me from being king over them. 8 Just as they have done to me,  from the day I brought them up out of Egypt to this day, forsaking me and serving other gods, so also they are doing to you. 9 Now then, listen to their voice; only—you shall solemnly warn them, and show them the ways of the king who shall reign over them.”

15 Now the day before Saul came, the Lord had revealed to Samuel: 16 “Tomorrow about this time I will send to you a man from the land of Benjamin, and you shall anoint him to be ruler over my people Israel. He shall save my people from the hand of the Philistines; for I have seen the suffering of  my people, because their outcry has come to me.” 17 When Samuel saw Saul, the Lord told him, “Here is the man of whom I spoke to you. He it is who shall rule over my people.”

1 Samuel took a vial of oil and poured it on his head, and kissed him; he said, “The Lord has anointed you ruler over his people Israel. You shall reign over the people of the Lord and you will save them from the hand of their enemies all around. Now this shall be the sign to you that the Lord has anointed you ruler  over his heritage:

1 Samuel 9:17 (NIV)

17 When Samuel caught sight of Saul, the LORD said to him, “This is the man I spoke to you about; he will govern my people.”

DEVOTION – Georgia Bruton (Florida)

Samuel heard the Lord speak clearly.  He didn’t hesitate or question; he followed through immediately and anointed Saul as king.  Samuel knew what God desired because Samuel listened.

However, our reading today tells of Samuel’s wicked sons who failed to walk in the ways of their father.  When I read that chapter I wondered why Samuel’s sons had not followed his example.  I don’t know/  I feel sure that this godly man prayed for his family.

But I know sometimes I’ve felt like a failure as a parent, even though I’ve tried to be good example.  I’ve prayed for myself and for my children, asking for wisdom about how to rear them.  But still they don’t always choose wisely, and sometimes I feel that Their mistakes are my fault.

Then I remember Samuel.  His problems with his sons could have caused him to waver and doubt his ability to hear God.  Instead, he continued to listen to God and to obey.  I have that same choice:  I can let my failures, perceived or real, keep me second guessing my ability to hear God; or like Samuel, I can choose to listen and obey.


THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: We don’t have to be perfect to hear God’s voice.

PRAYER:  Dear Lord, sometimes, even when we seek your direction, failure comes and we question if we really heard you.  Help us to listen when we feel like hesitating.  Amen.