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IN THE FATHER’S WAYS

| Tuesday 12th April, 2022

Our Daily Bread 2022 Annual Edition

By Our Daily Bread

Read: 1 Samuel 8:1–9 (NIV) | Bible in a Year: 1 Samuel 19–21; Luke 11:29–54

They turned aside after dishonest gain and accepted bribes and perverted justice. 1 Samuel 8:3

In the 1960s, the bustling community of North Lawndale, on Chicago’s West Side, was a pilot community for interracial living. A handful of middle-class African Americans bought homes there on “contract”—that combined the responsibilities of home ownership with the disadvantages of renting. In a contract sale, the buyer accrued no equity, and if he missed a single payment, he would immediately lose his down payment, all his monthly payments, and the property itself. Unscrupulous sellers sold at inflated prices, then the families were evicted when they missed a payment. Another family would buy on contract, and the cycle fueled by greed just kept going.

Samuel appointed his sons judges over Israel, and they were driven by greed. His sons “did not follow his ways” (1 Samuel 8:3). In contrast to Samuel’s integrity, his sons “turned aside after dishonest gain” and used their position to their own advantage. This unjust behavior displeased the elders of Israel and God, putting in motion a cycle of kings that fills the pages of the Old Testament (vv. 4–5).

To refuse to walk in God’s ways allows room for the perversion of those values, and as a result injustice flourishes. To walk in His ways means honesty and justice are clearly seen not only in our words but in our deeds as well. Those good deeds are never an end in themselves but always that others may see and honor our Father in heaven.

Read: 1 Samuel 8:1–9 (NIV)

Israel Asks for a King

8 When Samuel grew old, he appointed his sons as Israel’s leaders.[a] The name of his firstborn was Joel and the name of his second was Abijah, and they served at Beersheba. But his sons did not follow his ways. They turned aside after dishonest gain and accepted bribes and perverted justice. 4 So all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah. 5 They said to him, “You are old, and your sons do not follow your ways; now appoint a king to lead[b] us, such as all the other nations have.” 6 But when they said, “Give us a king to lead us,” this displeased Samuel; so he prayed to the Lord. 7 And the Lord told him: “Listen to all that the people are saying to you; it is not you they have rejected, but they have rejected me as their king. 8 As they have done from the day I brought them up out of Egypt until this day, forsaking me and serving other gods, so they are doing to you. 9 Now listen to them; but warn them solemnly and let them know what the king who will reign over them will claim as his rights.”

INSIGHT

  1. What current example of injustice are you aware of?

  2. What is one way you can work toward justice in that example?

A subtheme of this small section of Scripture—the evil practice of taking bribes and perverting justice as Samuel’s sons were doing (1 Samuel 8:3)—was a big concern of God’s prophets. The prophet Isaiah told the people of Judah, “Your rulers are rebels, partners with thieves; they all love bribes and chase after gifts” (Isaiah 1:23). Ezekiel noted, “In you are people who accept bribes to shed blood; you take interest and make a profit from the poor” (Ezekiel 22:12). Amos derided those “who oppress the innocent and take bribes and deprive the poor of justice in the courts” (Amos 5:12). Micah said, “The ruler demands gifts, the judge accepts bribes, the powerful dictate what they desire” (Micah 7:3). We honor God when we work for justice for the poor and vulnerable.

PRAYER

God, injustice surrounds us on every side, often overwhelming our hearts. Help me to stand with those who suffer and commit my life to walking in Your ways. In Jesus name, I pray and believe. Amen!!

Read: 1 Samuel 8:1–9 (NIV) | Bible in a Year: 1 Samuel 19–21; Luke 11:29–54

1 comment

  • Joshua
    / Reply

    Amen.

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