The Lord said to Samuel, “How long are you going to mourn for Saul, since I have rejected him as king over Israel? Fill your horn with oil and go. I am sending you to Jesse of Bethlehem because I have selected a king from his sons.”
1 Samuel 16:1
Mourning is necessary for healing. But like anything else, too much is usually a bad thing.
I’ve started In Medias Res (in the middle of things).
Let me give a short backstory for the Old Testament story I posted above:
Saul is God’s pick for King over Israel and Samuel is a prophet.
The Lord told Saul (through Samuel) to have Saul destroy his enemies, even their livestock. Saul followed through with the first part, but saved some of the livestock to “sacrifice to the Lord.” (Those would be air-quotes if we were face-to-face.)
Samuel to Saul: Why didn’t you obey God?
Saul: I did.
Samuel: Is that sheep I hear bleating?
Because Saul disobeys, God rejects Saul as King, but Samuel is grief stricken that he has had to tell Saul – sorry – God won’t even listen to you since you disobeyed him – to obey is better than sacrifice (taken from 1 Samuel 15). In fact, the Word says they never saw each other again.
“The Lord said to Samuel,
“How long are you going to mourn for Saul,
since I have rejected him…”
When I read these words my eyes were opened. How long will I mourn over (fill-in-the-blank).
Until Saturday when I read this – my answer would have been that I’ve been mourning the job I just lost. I loved what I was doing. I felt like I had purpose. I loved my co-workers.
Budgets get cut. Contracts end. I get it. But whatever the reason, I lost it. And when I read those words, time stood still for a moment. I thought back over my life and the things I have grieved for too long: divorce, being abused, people who left through death or stubbornness or disagreement.
What is it for you? Divorce? Being single? Losing a loved one in death? A job? People who have left?
How long are you going to mourn?
In most cases I can look back and see that the horrible things that have happened or the cases in which people left – that was God’s hand protecting me from something that either was bad for me or something that wasn’t in his plan for me.
But why grieve any longer? He has something for me to do.
Look at this next part:
Fill your horn with oil and go.
I am sending you to _________ because I have chosen to do ____________________ and I’ve chosen YOU to accomplish it .
Today we wouldn’t say fill your horn with oil and go.
The reference was to anointing oil. That was the tool of Samuel’s “trade.” Samuel was a priest; he used his anointing oil to literally pour out a blessing on someone. Today we’d say – get up, get your backpack, and let’s go. What’s in my backpack these days? What are my tools for blessing others? A laptop (for writing), a paper Bible (I don’t leave home without it), and many colorful pens (because I’m a writer).
In one verse I feel like God is speaking this to me through his word:
Melissa, how long are you going to mourn over your lost job, since I have tied up that end for you? Get your backpack and let’s go. I am sending you to the women in the community because I want to bless them with your story and with the Word I have stored up in you. Go bless them.
So I am choosing to obey.
How long are you going to mourn over that thing you’re mourning?
God has work for you.
Get up, get your backpack, and go.