30. Enough!

Meditations in 1 Samuel   30. Enough!

1 Sam 16:1  The LORD said to Samuel, “How long will you mourn for Saul, since I have rejected him as king over Israel? Fill your horn with oil and be on your way; I am sending you to Jesse of Bethlehem. I have chosen one of his sons to be king.

We have seen the Lord encourage and help Saul in every way possible and we have seen Saul blow it. First of all we saw him pretend to be the spiritual leader and manipulate God by bringing offerings when he shouldn’t, and then he failed obey the command to wipe out an enemy. Now we may not think that these are particularly severe things but that simply suggests that we have adopted the appeasement mentality of the twenty-first century West.  What I mean by that is that so often, because we have abandoned the foundation for all ethics or morality (the Lord) we get into a state where we don’t want to upset anyone by disagreeing and so we seek to calm and pacify by being half-hearted about ethical issues, especially ones to do with relationships. When it comes to the Bible we find the principle that to him who has been trusted with much, much is required. When you are given a position of leadership the standards are particularly tight. Saul has shown his heart is not directed towards God and the Lord comes to the point where He says, “Enough!”

The word is not there in the text but that is what He is saying when He comes to Samuel and says how long will you mourn over Saul? Samuel this is especially not on because I have rejected him. I have come to the point of saying, enough is enough. I have given Saul every bit of help I can to show him the way but he has refused to learn from all I have said and done, so I am drawing a line under his reign and setting up a new king. You will find my new choice to the family of Jesse in Bethlehem.

Now note various things about this. In His grace the Lord is not immediately removing Saul from the throne. He could have struck him down then and there but He doesn’t do that. He allows Saul to carry on as king, but He will not bless him in it, as we’ll see. Indeed quite some time will pass before Saul is removed from the scene.  Second, the Lord does not immediately bring His new man into the public domain as a challenger. He will anoint him for the task but basically most people will not know about it and his new man will carry on as usual in his life for some time and before he takes the throne he is going to go through some very tough times when he may even question the reality of having been anointed.

Now we need to learn some significant lessons here. Lesson number one is that the Lord often allows the less than perfect to carry on while He is working out His purposes. Jesus once told a parable as follows: Once again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was let down into the lake and caught all kinds of fish. When it was full, the fishermen pulled it up on the shore. Then they sat down and collected the good fish in baskets, but threw the bad away. This is how it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come and separate the wicked from the righteous and throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” (Mt 13:47-50) Note that the sorting out doesn’t come until the end of the world. i.e. life carries on with a mixture of good and bad people; bad people continue to be bad.

Jesus told a similar parable: “Jesus told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared. “The owner’s servants came to him and said, `Sir, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?’ ” `An enemy did this,’ he replied. “The servants asked him, `Do you want us to go and pull them up?’ ” `No,’ he answered, `because while you are pulling the weeds, you may root up the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest.” (Mt 13:24-30 with an explanation in 13:36-43) We live in a world where God tolerates wrong people, giving them every opportunity to repent (see 2 Pet 3:9). Now there are times, especially in the church where we are to confront obvious sin and stop its continuance and in life generally we are to report crimes, but this does not stop bad people continuing.

The second lesson is in respect of what is about to happen that we have referred to already. God’s word (prophecy) is going to be spoken over this new man but it will be a long time before it is fulfilled in reality. He will be king in God’s eyes immediately but not in the eyes of everyone else for some time. Understand that God can speak a promise into your life now but it may take quite a long time to be fulfilled. It may be that there are a whole lot of circumstances surrounding your life that have got to be changed before the promise can be fulfilled and often those circumstances take time to change. Also the fulfillment of the promise may involve  you being changed. For example, when the Lord promises a future role in leadership, as in fact is about to happen here, before that leadership can be taken hold of, the recipient (you?) has to be changed to be equipped and able to take it. Very often the process of change in us is as important as the end objective and the end objective cannot come about until the process of change has been worked through. If God appears to be delaying fulfilling a promise it is almost certainly for one of these two reasons, so be patient and persevere. Watch this as it is rolled out before us in the coming chapters.

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