Did you miss last week’s post about Saul? Before you read this post, be sure to catch up on the first one here.
Now I don’t know if this is just me getting too emotionally involved in my devotional time or whether other people get this too, but do you ever just wish you could befriend someone within the Bible? I have no shame in admitting that I have a whole list of people I would want to be friends with, and one of them is Samuel.
In a nutshell, he was a prophet. Someone who God deemed faithful enough to speak and work through. He was well known and very highly respected (1 Samuel 3:20). People often sought him out, consulting him about difficult subjects and trusting his advice.
It was his job to follow God’s command and anoint Saul as the first king of Israel (1 Samuel 9). He stayed close by Saul’s side during his kingship, instructing him with God’s word. When Saul disobeyed the Lord, Samuel was told to find and anoint the new king that He had chosen.
1 Samuel 15:35 (MSG) – Samuel had nothing to do with Saul from then on, though he grieved long and deeply over him.
I frowned when I first read that sentence. I read it over and over again, trying to put imagery to the text. Imagine spending decades alongside someone, getting to know one another and experiencing life together, to then just leave and never look back.
We aren’t told exactly how he makes this decision, whether it’s a word from God or whether he decided it for himself, but we do know that it couldn’t have been easy to follow through.
Though he grieved long and deeply…
I don’t think that Samuel wanted to walk away from Saul, but I reckon he knew that he needed to.
Have you heard the story of Jonah and the whale? He runs away from God and boards a ship to head in the opposite direction of where God told him to go. God sent a storm at sea, and the sailors on the ship feared for their lives. When they realised that Jonah was the problem…
Jonah 1:15 – They took Jonah and threw him overboard. Immediately the sea was quieted down.
(I won’t go into the whole story, but it’s a good one so go read it!)
I think Samuel knew that he needed to get Saul out of his boat. He knew that if Saul stayed aboard in his life, problems would stay aboard with him.
Sometimes we need to do a safety check for our own boats. Do you find that a never-ending storm seems to follow you?
Perhaps there’s someone or even something on board that needs overthrowing.
A good way of evaluating your life in this way is looking out for people, places, habits or things that consistently affect you in a negative way. Do you gossip more when you hang out with that particular friend? Do you lose control of yourself when you drink, only to regret your words and actions the next day? Is the busyness of your job slowly pulling you away from Christ?
Changes like these are never easy – the NIV version says that Samuel mourned for Saul for the rest of his life.
You can’t go wrong with praying to God for direction if you’re confused or finding it hard to let go. Remember that He is your stronghold, your anchor in the storm and He’s not going anywhere.
Psalm 55:22 – Leave all your cares and anxieties at the feet of the Lord, and measureless grace will strengthen you.
The size of Samuel’s faith in God is evident in the way in which he follows each of His commands. Did you notice in 1 Samuel 16 how God reveals to Samuel where he needs to go and what he has to do step by step? He doesn’t give him the whole instruction manual from the start.
Instead Samuel has to obey, stop & listen and then obey, stop & listen.
Much to our frustration, God has a tendency of revealing His will in this manner. He rarely ever gives us the blueprint of His plan from day one. Perhaps it’s for our protection, for we’re only human and if we set out with a God-sized plan, we would probably run ahead of His timing and try to improvise on our own.
And maybe the journey is just as important at the destination. There are lessons to learn all along the way, and we probably wouldn’t learn them in the same way if we knew His greater plan right from the start.
1 Samuel 16:6-7 – When they arrived, Samuel took one look at Eliab and thought, “Here he is! God’s anointed!”
But God told Samuel, “Looks aren’t everything. Don’t be impressed with his looks and stature. I’ve already eliminated him. God judges people differently than humans do. Men and women look at the face; God looks into the heart.
Imagine if God had told Samuel from the start that David was the one he was going to anoint. He would have missed this moment. A moment that I’m certain he remembered for the rest of his life. A moment that still encourages people thousands of years later.
Don’t get too fixated on where you need to end up and when. Take time to enjoy and treasure the God-moments along the way.