Daily Reading: 4 March
Do not be afraid.
Samuel said to the people: 'Do not be afraid; you have done all this evil, yet do not turn aside from following the Lord, but serve the Lord with all your heart; and do not turn aside after useless things that cannot profit or save, for they are useless. For the Lord will not cast away his people, for his great name's sake, because it has pleased the Lord to make you a people for himself.'
- Full reading – 1 Samuel 12:19-23.
Samuel's farewell speech, forming the whole of chapter 12, marks the transition from his leadership to Saul's kingship. He has reminded the people of their choice to have a king, but that the terms of the covenant are unchanged.
The choice of a king need not lead to disaster as long as the king and the people remain faithful to God.
Although Samuel is handing over his leadership, he promises to pray for the people and to 'instruct them in the right and the good way.' There is a clear role for Israel's prophets alongside the kings in the governance of the people.
The prayers and instruction of the prophets will help the people to follow and keep God's covenant.
There are prophets today who remind us of a bleak future for the world if we act out of accordance with God's will. They challenge the accepted view and call for change.
And we need to listen to the scientists who warn of the disastrous consequences for millions of people if global temperatures rise more than 2ºC; to the economists who expose the shady world of tax dodging.
Prophetic voices are not usually popular ones. But, as today's reading shows us, we ignore them at our peril.
Samuel is clear that the world needs prophets as well as leaders. Is there an issue that you feel particularly strongly about that you or your church could speak out about? Take a look at Christian Aid's campaigns, and speak out for change.
God of the prophets,
open our ears to the prophets today.
And may we be prophetic communities,
rejecting the status quo and
speaking of life and hope,
even when the world tells us
Today's contributor is the Rev Kate Tuckett, former Church Resources Manager for Christian Aid, now Curate at Holy Trinity, South Wimbledon.
Published on 04 March 2018