In 1 Samuel 15 & 16, Saul’s willful disobedience and what seems to be an ever blossoming arrogance/ego had brought God to a point where He rejected the man the people had chosen as their first king. Saul just couldn’t seem to acknowledge that his first directive as the king of Israel was to obey the God of Israel. Everything else should have grown out of that obedience, so his reign was about to come to an end. God was making another, much less obvious choice to be king in Israel. Saul’s reign was over.
But the priest, Samuel (who had anointed Saul and was now supposed to anoint someone else), struggled a little bit with what he knew God was doing. I imagine that at times, Samuel really felt stuck in the middle, trying to mediate between God and Saul, torn between the power of a man and the holiness of God. Samuel had a hard time letting go of the results of his past work. It couldn’t have been a pleasant time. I mean, who wants the job of telling the king he’s no longer king, right? But, God was at work, and in contrast to King Saul’s failure to comply, Samuel was willing to be moved by God.
You have mourned long enough for Saul.
– God, to Samuel
The time for grieving was over. It was time to move on in obedience to God’s explicit instructions. That obedience ushered in the dynasty of David and the peak of the ancient Israelite nation, but it wasn’t easy. In fact, things got pretty ugly as David went to work in Saul’s palace for a time, then took to the hills to escape Saul’s murderous last grasp to keep power.
What time is it in your life? Is it time to let go of the reassurance we may get from previous choices and move forward into the uncertainty of tomorrow? If God were telling you (like he told Samuel) that the time for mourning was over, what would He tell you about what you lost? What allegiances do you need to lay aside because they’re less important than your allegiance to God? And what is it that He’s leading you into?
We’ll never know if we keep grieving our “Sauls”…