Friday, July 9, 2010

1 Samuel 16-18: In Mourning

There's so much that I could write about David, and maybe I'll do that later, but right now I want to look at Samuel.

Right now I relate to him a lot more than I do to David.  I mean, David's a kid, just starting out in life.  He loves his work as a shepherd.  He gets to spend a lot of time dreaming, hoping, writing songs, rescuing sheep.  Who knows what life holds for him?

Samuel, on the other hand, has lived a lot of years.  He's dedicated those years to serving God, to honoring him, obeying him.  He's been disappointed more than a few times.  He's experienced rejection, like when the people begged for a king and they ignored his advice.  Samuel clings to God's truths in spite of the disappointments.  

Samuel invested his life in Saul, who also rejected his advice.  And even though Samuel knew it was coming, he had hoped it would turn out different.

And now he knows for sure that Saul's kingdom will come to an end.  He mourns the loss of Saul's kingdom.  He mourns Saul's separation from God.

The Bible doesn't say it, but I think Samuel feels like his life has been a failure.
The people.  Saul.  His own children.
They all reject God and God's plans.

Samuel knows God is faithful, but he just can't see how God is going to work things out.
And so he shuts down.  He mourns.
And he's a little afraid of what Saul may do to him.

And then one day God comes to Samuel and says, "How long will you mourn for Saul?  Get up.  I still have things for you to do."

It's like God says, "The story's not over."
There's more.

There's always more.
It's interesting to me that although this book is named after Samuel, the story's not really about Samuel.  Samuel plays a pivotal role in setting the stories in this book into motion, but the stories are not about him.  They also are not about Saul.  Or David either, for that matter.

These are stories of God's love for the people he has chosen, and the way he continually draws them to himself.

And my stories, even if I want them to be, are never about me.
They are about the way I allow (or don't allow) God to use me as part of  the story he is telling in the world.
The same is true for all of us.

And when we feel like we have failed, like the story is falling apart, God comes to us and says, "How long will you mourn?  Get up and get on your way.  I'm sending you in a new direction."

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