The Lord said to Samuel, “How long will you mourn for Saul, since I have rejected him as king . . . ?”
In his book on change, William Bridges slyly wrote, “It isn’t the changes that will do you in [as a leader], it’s the transitions” (Managing Transitions). In other words, moving from an old situation to a new normal takes tremendous emotional work when you have grown used to (and fond of) doing things the old way.
Even though Samuel had not wanted Israel to have a king at first, he had grown used to the idea. Samuel had wanted the king to do the right things for the sake of God and the people. And he had put enormous effort into guiding the young King Saul. So Samuel mourned about the man who could have been great but turned out to be a poor leader of God’s people.
Grieving that loss was appropriate. But then Samuel got stuck in that depressive place. So God said, “How long will you mourn for Saul, since I have rejected him as king . . . ? . . . I am sending you to Jesse of Bethlehem. I have chosen one of his sons to be king.” God understood Samuel’s feelings, but it was time to move on, and he called Samuel to move with him.
Samuel obeyed. And as he looked first at one and then another of Jesse’s sons, he learned that it was not all about appearance, but about the person’s heart. So he kept saying, “The Lord has not chosen this one.” Then finally, after Jesse called his youngest son in from tending the family’s sheep, Samuel anointed David to be the next king.
Lord, when I get stuck, help me to change my perspective to your way of seeing things. Amen.
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