A Time to Move Forward
Now the LORD said to Samuel, “How long will you grieve over Saul, since I have rejected him from being king over Israel? Fill your horn with oil and go; I will send you to Jesse the Bethlehemite, for I have selected a king for Myself among his sons.” (1 Samuel 16:1)
Notice in the beginning of this passage that God approves of a time of mourning, but there comes a time when his plan and purpose must move forward. Grieving over a lost loved one is necessary for healing purposes, but if it turns to self-pity God is not pleased. Samuel is deeply grieved by the failure of Saul as king. But God will not permit His servant to be immobilized by grief, as we ourselves sometimes are. Samuel is told to take a flask of olive oil and go and anoint one of the sons of Jesse to be Israel’s future king in place of Saul. At first, Samuel is full of fear. He says, “How can I go? When Saul hears of it, he will kill me.”
I can relate to that fear. When I received my first preaching assignment in a little church in Stanton, Missouri, I was so scared that my knees were knocking together. Had it not been for the pulpit to hide me, I surely would have collapsed from fright. The Holy Spirit, however, sustained me, and I made it through the service.
God gave Samuel help and assurance for his fear by telling him to take a sacrifice with him. Taking the Lord at his word, the Scripture says, “So Samuel did what the Lord said,…” (v. 4)
I have felt like Samuel many times, but God always provided the necessary means and courage to take on the task. In the end, the job was accomplished and God received the glory and the kingdom of God moved forward.
What do we learn from this? When God gives you a task to accomplish or an open door to go through, trust in the Lord and move forward in his strength. When Israel became “frightened” at the Red Sea, God told Moses, “Tell the sons of Israel to go forward.” (Ex. 14:15) Because of their obedience, the people were able to walk across on dry ground. God will do the same for you.
Prayer: Dear Lord, let me always remember that you are my source of help.