1 Samuel 15-17 & Psalm 85
By: Marthalee Lyman
We can only do our best with the information, skill and drive we possess at any given moment. Yet, we seem to always second guess our motives, authority and delivery; undermining self-confidence. When added to this inner monologue of supposed failure we find actual failure and deep disappointment, the result is abject depression and mourning.
In the reading today, Samuel’s broken heart stirs me. Samuel, called by God as a very young child, walks in confidence as God’s prophet for many years. He listens to God and obeys every command. His life as a prophet is well known and many in his sphere of influence look to him with respect and admiration. He has a great position of honor both with God and man.
Saul’s disobedience and subsequent demotion as king breaks the heart of Samuel. He mourns deeply and continually for the failure of this God-appointed man. In his grief, there had to be moments of personal reflection wondering where HE had failed Saul, or what HE might have done differently to bring about a better outcome.
Samuel brutally kills Agag to fulfill the command of God King Saul failed to accomplish. Samuel goes to Ramah, his home and continues his mourning. Then, (I like how the NLT shows us) God shakes Samuel with these words: “You have mourned long enough for Saul…” Get on with your duties! And Samuel sets off to anoint David as the new King.
We all second guess ourselves from time to time. “If only I had not spoken so harshly…If only I had not done that certain thing…It would have been better if I was not even there!” Oh, how the enemy and our own mental monologues condemn us! We need God to shake us! We need to listen to God as he does shake us and tell us to be about the business at hand!
When disappointment and failure dog our steps, there needs to be a resolve inside that stops the mental condemnation, silences the daily accuser and leans into the quiet whisper of the still small voice of God pressing us onward. Obey like Samuel and get on with life!
Had the prophet remained in Ramah licking his wounds, so to speak, would there be a story of Goliath? If Samuel remained in mourning, would we even have a David? You see, God really depends on the obedience of his chosen to move His plans to completion.
To simply throw up our hands and proclaim, “It’s ok, God’s Got This!” is not a statement of Faith, but of cowardice. It is up to us to make our calling and election sure. We are commanded to go…to make disciples…to spread the Gospel. We cannot remain silent in the face of suffering and sorrow. We MUST pray. We MUST listen and we must hear God’s voice and we MUST follow his lead.
How do we know we are headed in the right direction? We move forward and watch for God’s STOP signs. That is the walk of Faith. When God speaks, sometimes he only gives us a sentence or two, seldom the whole picture. He may nudge us one way; a way that seems so out of our comfort zone; but when we obey and trust him, we see, in retrospect, his guiding hand.
David was so deeply incensed at the challenge from Goliath that he moved toward him in the confidence and trust of his victorious God. That is how we conquer the Goliaths in our lives. Sometimes righteous indignation can spur us on to radical Faith and obedient action. Watch for the nudges from Him, then watch for the stop signs, too.
Psalm 85: 8-9 (NLT) I listen carefully to what God the Lord is saying, for he speaks peace to his faithful people. But let them not return to their foolish ways. Surely his salvation is near to those who fear him, so our land will be filled with his glory.
P.S. So I have a brief post script to my devotional… After typing it today and thinking about the admonition to go forth and follow the leading of the Lord, I went to the grocery store. Nothing very eventful happened until I got in my car to leave … started my engine and suddenly there is a powerhouse 20’s some thing young lady standing outside my passenger window. So I put down the window and she asks me if I have a sore foot. I say, “No it’s my hip.” She said, “Well, the Lord told me to come and pray for you.” How about that! So we grab hands and begin to pray. She stops me and said “No, just receive. Don’t pray, just receive.” She proceeded to ask the Lord to not only heal my hip but also my left knee! We have this marvelous time in the Holy Ghost give each other a high-5 and off she goes.
So there I sit in absolute amazement at how God not only speaks but shows just how he wants it done and I’m claiming total healing in Jesus name! So because of one obedient servant, I see manifested the duty of us all!