AT SOME POINT IN THE JOURNEY …
Change in leadership, what some corporations call a “Re-org”, stirred up mixed emotions with Samuel. I don’t remember connecting with this before. The old prophet-sage had invested time and energy into the O.T. Saul, to be a good king, an investment that yielded dividends of frustration. God said “Enough of this!, now move on, to meet the next king.” (embellished paraphrase).
“Now the Lord said to Samuel, ‘How long will you mourn for Saul, seeing I have rejected him from reigning over Israel?”
When God told Samuel to “move on“, Samuel knew it was time to “move on“. And while God’s sense of urgency was happening, God saw Samuel’s grief for Saul’s impending replacement. God’s orders for Samuel, for “the next thing”, and the next king, were as follows (my paraphrase):
“Bring oil for anointing
and go to Bethlehem. See a fellow by the name of Jesse.
One of his sons will be the king I have found.”
When Samuel comes into town, in this case Bethlehem, the elders usually get a little stressed. In this case, the elders were immediately disrupted: “Samuel, should we be freaking out, right now?” Samuel did his best to keep these fellows from panic, and spoke (my paraphrase):
- “I come in peace.
- Everybody calm down.
- Keep your hands where I can see them.
- No sudden movements, and no one gets hurt.
- So … don’t panic.”
Samuel found Jesse and began meeting his sons, wondering who it was that would become king. Seven of Jesse’s son came through. Samuel asked Jesse: “Do you have any other sons?” Jesse reluctantly acknowledged that there was still the youngest boy, who was keeping the sheep. And the youngest boy came: “… ruddy, bright eyes, and good-looking.” And this was the one. This was who God wanted: the youngest of them all; the one who had been appointed by his brothers to do the dirty work, tending the sheep … quite the dirty job. The boy’s name was David, and Samuel used the oil to anoint him: pretty serious stuff, when the country’s prophet anoints a boy with oil; a shepherd boy. Wow. The idea of good men and women appointed and anointed, favored by God, to do great things: its hard to believe, sometimes. God can us a shepherd boy to shake the world … so He can probably use me to do something cool, eh?