1 Samuel 15:34-16:13 "The Portrait Hall": The Stubborn Prophet

Facing the future can be exciting, intimidating and even scary. Our portrait this morning displays an aging prophet that was upset with what God was allowing in his world. He was not ready to give up the “good ole days” for the future that God was opening. God preserved the record of this struggle, because He knew we would need it!

Key Principle: Following God’s direction means being able to move past our desires to fulfill His desires.

What must we do to move on? Eight decisions we must make:

  1. Take the time to reflect on the experiences of the past, recognizing the benefits of learning through them. God loves a healthy memory! (1 Sam. 15:24-35a; Dt. 6:5-12).

Samuel saw Saul understand all too late that he was walking in disobedience (15:24-25). Truth: God only offered a limited number of chances to obey, and Saul’s insistence on self will caused God to withdraw blessing permanently. Because God saves people does not mean that He doesn’t withdraw blessing from defiant believers!

Though Saul begged, Samuel knew that God was not going to change the penalty (15:26-29). Truth: Mature believers know that God is sovereign and has the right to rule. They may want to see unlimited chances, but God reserves the right to be judge.

Samuel still had a broken heart over Saul, so he went to help him worship and then complete his appointed job and kill Agag (15:30-33). Truth: Even the most mature believers lament what could have been for their disobedient friends and family members. We try to make the best of their lives, but their rebellion limits the options. When possible, we should love and serve them to the best of our abilities.

Samuel couldn’t shake the disappointment and grieved (awbal: deep and sore lamentation) over God’s change from Saul to another (15:34-35). Truth: We cling to memories instead of facing what God wants to do and move forward. We find it hard to move on to what God calls us to because we feel more comfortable with the past. God wants us to trust Him as we move forward.

  1. Accept the fact that some failures occurred, and know that God has a better view of all that happened (1 Sam. 15:35b).

God regretted making Saul king (15:35b).  Truth: God understands that we don’t understand how each piece of the puzzle of our lives fit together. The revelation of regret was designed as part of Samuel’s lesson. God wanted to allow Samuel the opportunity to not take undue responsibility in the tragedy.

  1. Listen to God’s direction for the next step, and get past the past. Remember the importance of complete obedience in God’s work (1 Sam. 16:1).

God spoke words that penetrated Samuel and asked him if he was ready to move on and give up his grieving. God told Samuel to get himself together and go to anoint the son of Jesse (16:1). Truth: There comes a time when delay is nothing more than disobedience and rebellion. We need to be prepared to move on to our next step with God.

  1. Be realistic of the pitfalls of your next plan, and talk constantly to the Lord about the plans (1 Sam. 16:2-3).

Samuel asks, “How can I? If Saul hears, he will kill me!” The Lord said, bring an animal and tell people you come to offer a sacrifice (16:2). God said, “Invite Jesse and I will tell you what to do next.” (16:3). Truth: Follow God and He will show you ways to move around any obstacle that may come up.

  1. Remember, your success comes from the Lord, not from your plans. It is great to plan, but obedience to God’s direction is the key (1 Sam. 16:4-5). You cannot anticipate everything, but God can!

Samuel obeyed and went to Bethlehem. On his way in an elder asked if he came in peace. He said he came to sacrifice and invited the man along with Jesse and his family (16:4-5). Truth: When you follow the Lord’s direction, you allow Him to show you provision at a whole new level!

  1. Don’t fall back into the same traps as you did in the past, rather, celebrate the assurance that comes from a walk with God and obedience! (1 Sam. 16:6-7).

When Samuel saw the oldest of Jesse’s sons, he thought this was the right one. The Lord corrected him and reminded him that outward appearance was not what God saw (16:6-7). Truth: God often takes us through multiple lessons to cover our blind spots!

  1. Don’t forget – God measures things on a different scale. “Important” is what God says it is. His vision is what is important! (1 Sam. 16:7b-10).

Each son was brought by, and each time God indicated to Samuel these were not the choice. (16:8-10). Truth: When we see the blind spots that God points out, we can follow His direction more carefully, and the blessing will be greater.

  1. Observe – When God chooses a man, God provides the empowering to accomplish His will.

Samuel asked, “Is this all of your family?” Jesse replied, “No, one is tending the sheep.” Samuel told them to send for him. When David came in, God told Samuel to anoint David. From that time the Spirit came on David, and Samuel went back to Ramah (16:11-13). Truth: Where God guides, God provides!

Remember, following God’s direction means being able to move past our desires to fulfill His desires.