Prepare to Listen. Take time to still your heart and mind then prayer with the psalmist: Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones that you have crushed rejoice.
Prayerfully Read Samuel 16:1-5
The LORD said to Samuel, ‘How long will you grieve over Saul? I have rejected him from being king over Israel. Fill your horn with oil and set out; I will send you to Jesse the Bethlehemite, for I have provided for myself a king among his sons.’ 2Samuel said, ‘How can I go? If Saul hears of it, he will kill me.’ And the LORD said, ‘Take a heifer with you, and say, “I have come to sacrifice to the LORD.” 3Invite Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will show you what you shall do; and you shall anoint for me the one whom I name to you.’ 4Samuel did what the LORD commanded, and came to Bethlehem. The elders of the city came to meet him trembling, and said, ‘Do you come peaceably?’ 5He said, ‘Peaceably; I have come to sacrifice to the LORD; sanctify yourselves and come with me to the sacrifice.’ And he sanctified Jesse and his sons and invited them to the sacrifice.
God has a habit of sending his messengers on tasks without giving clear instructions! Samuel was merely told, ‘I will show you what you shall do.’ He knew he was to anoint a successor to Saul whom Samuel had been grieving over. Talk about a crisis of leadership! Samuel was living it. Yet, he protested God’s call because he feared Saul’s reaction. God was asking him to risk his life. He went anyway, his uncertainty about knowing who to anoint notwithstanding. All he heard from the LORD was a vague anoint ‘the one whom I name to you.’ Trouble was, God didn’t immediately name him; didn’t even name him when he arrived at Jesse’s home and his seven good looking sons, all likely candidates, paraded before Samuel.
Samuel’s arrival in Bethlehem, caused the elders to tremble. They knew that he was upset with Saul. Did they also suspect he’d mislead Saul about why he needed to go to Bethlehem. He’d told Saul he was merely going to sacrifice, and repeated that excuse to the elders. Everyone knew, but dare not say so, that there to do more than sacrifice. But Samuel remained cautious. Waiting for God to name one of Jesse’s sons; trusting the LORD would show him what to do. Trust always requires obedience and then patient waiting for God to reveal his will in God’s time.
What were you shocked or delighted by in these verses? How would you respond to God’s vague command—go and do what I will show you? What hope does the story give you in our own leadership crises in responding to a global pandemic?
Respond to Jesus
Gracious Lord, sometimes what you want me to do makes me afraid for so many reasons. Give me Samuel’s honesty to protest your call and also his courage to obey it. Amen.
Go live obediently in the world following God who will show you the way.
Because I believe that Scripture is food for our soul (our entire being) I seek to read it and encourage others to read it in ways that nourish and transform our beings. I invite you to read the Bible with me during Lent and into Easter. I am a Bible teacher, spiritual companion and retreat director. I know the Bile and how to read it for spiritual formation.