Samuel’s Season of Sadness: Risk in Mourning
Sometimes people we consider leaders do something to let us down. Sometimes they absolutely fail.
How do we respond?
I don’t know about you, but I don’t like to watch people go through periods of obvious struggle in their walk. Especially if they’re people I look up to or at least across at.
Unfortunately, we are all human and we fail. The people who are our leaders or that we consider spiritual leaders also fail.
Now the Lord said to Samuel, “How long will you mourn for Saul, seeing I have rejected him from reigning over Israel? Fill your horn with oil, and go; I am sending you to Jesse the Bethlehemite. For I have provided Myself a king among his sons.” 1 Samuel 16:1
How do we respond when those we believe God has called to minister to or with us fail to meet their commitments?
Samuel was very upset when the Lord rejected Saul as king over Israel and entered a time of mourning.
When we love the person, when we’ve grown close to the person, when we know the consequences for the persons actions, we may feel intense sadness at the loss. Mourning isn’t an unnatural or bad response.
However, if that season of mourning takes over our life, if we remain a recluse, if we hide ourselves away from other Christian brothers and sisters out of fear of being hurt again, then our mourning becomes sin. Then our response becomes a hindrance to what God has called us to do.
God called Samuel out of his time of mourning.
“How long will you mourn for Saul, seeing I have rejected him from reigning over Israel?…” 1 Samuel 16:1a
Let me put this in my sarcastic current day version:
“Dude, are you kidding me? How long are you going to cry about this? I rejected him. He will no longer reign over Israel. Suck it up and stop crying.”
Now, my version doesn’t sound as nice as God’s version, but in all reality, it’s what I hear when I read it.
What situation am I still crying about that God says let it go? It’s done. It’s over. He already called it. Stop turning it over and over in my mind and LET IT GO.
Do you have one of those situations (or more) too?
But we used to do it this way when so and so was in charge. I really liked it that way. They did such a great job. It just isn’t the same anymore.
Have you ever thought that? Listen carefully. 1 Samuel 16:1 is for me and you.
God is asking us, “How long are you going to mourn this? I have rejected it.”
Brothers and sisters, it’s time to give up the ashes of mourning. They are holding us down, and God has something much greater to replace them with!
Just because Saul failed to follow through with God’s plan did not mean that God’s plan would fail. God’s plan never fails.
Just because Samuel’s mourning seemed to paralyze him, which was exactly what satan wanted, didn’t mean God was paralyzed.
God’s work will be completed regardless of our choices. If we choose to ignore His calling, His prompting, then He’ll call someone else.
God gives Samuel clear direction to move him from mourning to joy.
First Samuel gets the tough love wake-up call. Then he gets two specific directions.
Fill your horn with oil. This instruction is specific to the task God is sending Samuel on. Let’s look at it from a different angle, however.
The horn, let’s call Samuel himself the horn, is a container that holds liquid. Oil represents the Holy Spirit.
My interpretation again: “Samuel, it’s time for you to get filled with the Holy Spirit and spot mourning!”
Praise the Lord!
It’s time to exchange the ashes for joy!!!!
Isn’t it telling us the same thing? Stop whining, complaining, grumbling, reminiscing, and get filled with the Spirit.
When we’re full of the Holy Spirit and doing what God’s called us to do we don’t have time or desire to focus on what everyone else is or isn’t doing.
Stop mourning and fill your horn with oil!!!
God doesn’t stop there, though. Once Samuel get’s a full cup, it’s time to move.
And go; I am sending you…
Samuel’s job didn’t end when Saul fell. Samuel’s job didn’t end when things didn’t work out the way he wanted. Samuel’s call didn’t go away just because his plans where now a confused jumble of impossible. Why?
God was sending Samuel.
Not just anywhere. Not where you want to go.
Go; I am sending you to Jesse the Bethlehemite.
God is sending Samuel forward. It is time for Samuel to move on.
Sometimes moving on is hard. Doing the same thing in the same place long-term is comfortable. Easy.
Letting go, moving on, doing something different with someone new, isn’t always the most comfortable easy thing to do.
Some times we sit in a season of mourning, we seem to wallow in the ashes, we pull others in with us and never even realize how low we have sunk.
There is great risk in this season of sadness. Satan wants us to wallow. He wants us to pull others into the miry clay with us. He knows that once we get down it’s easy for us to become negative, critical, depressed, bitter, hurt, and stuck in the past. All of those things keep us from moving forward with God.
God calls us to go. We can’t sit in our sadness. We must fill our horn with oil and go.
Yes, that may mean letting go of the people we’ve worshipped and fellowshipped with for years or the jobs we’ve held in ministry. But if we’re sitting in those congregations or positions in mourning instead of joy, then we’re quenching the Holy Spirit not only for ourselves but for those we are coming in contact with.
What is it time to let go of? Ask God. He’ll tell us just like He told Samuel.