Sometimes God changes things up on you when you were not looking for anything to change. Our of nowhere comes an intrusive ripple in your normally manageable pond. He did not announce it was coming beforehand. He did not dialogue with you to see if it was convenient for you. Also, God did not ask your permission. He just initiated change with a spur-of-the-moment kind of atmosphere. This doesn’t make God insensitive or mean or cavalier in His leadership of you. When God seems to change things that we assumed would never change, a pivotal moment occurs in our lives wherein we have learned to recognize that He is making our previously limited vision a little more attuned to His plan. There was an ancient man who served as both God’s prophet and Israel’s leader. His name was Samuel, and he became an old man who had faithfully served his God and nation. The day came when the man, Saul, whom Samuel had anointed the first king over Israel had to be removed from his kingship. God was seemingly changing things that Samuel had assumed would remain. God was saying ‘no longer’ to something He had once said yes to. Samuel was not happy about this unforeseen change, so God spoke plainly to His servant and said,
“How long will you grieve over Saul, since I have rejected him from being king over Israel? Fill your horn with oil, and go. I will send you to Jesse the Bethlehemite, for I have provided for Myself a king among his sons.” – 1 Samuel 16:1
Samuel learned that part of the reality of sovereign authority of God is that He unilaterally begins things and ends thing. God interrupts things. Clearly God expected Samuel to accommodate the new direction in which God was leading. Samuel was reluctant to embrace the God-ordained changes in Israel’s leadership. Samuel was not being asked to stand on the sidelines and be an idle spectator – Samuel was being called to facilitate the change by anointing the new king. Notice the language from God in the verse above. He had already made up His mind and rejected Saul’s kingship. He had already made up His mind about raising up a new king over Israel. He had already made up His mind about the individual who would rule over Israel in Saul’s place. Most importantly, notice that God declares that all of this change was “for Myself”. These changes were not so much about Samuel, Saul, David and Israel as they were about God and His glory.
We also need to remember this when God injects a ‘no longer’ in an area of our own lives wherein He once said Yes. He often introduces change in places where we had mistakenly assigned permanence. His plan is rarely motionless and it is certainly not completed yet. Faith moves. Faith progresses. Following the Holy Spirit involves regular seasons of growth and change. Yet, you and I are often misguided when we assume that our journey of faith will be a straight, uninterrupted line moving in one direction. God actually prefers to write our stories in squiggles.
God leads us on serpentine paths. He knows where He is taking us. He appoints the destination and also the pathway. Again, He does this for Himself but He also does this for us. Saul was no longer the best for Israel. David would become their king. Samuel had invested so much of his life into Saul and to have God place a stoppage to that part of Samuel’s life and ministry was difficult for Samuel to swallow. But swallow it he did. He filled his horn with oil and went to the house of Jesse and anointed the least likely person as the next king of Israel. Little of it made sense at the time but Samuel obeyed his God in the face of unanticipated change.
Today, if you travel to Jerusalem and look upon any flagpole waving in the wind, you will see an emblem on that flag. It is a star. The name of that star is commonly known as The Star of David. A little over 3,000 years ago God threw Samuel a curveball and Samuel swung his faith and connected with what God tossed him. Little did he know that, through His obedience, God would establish the course of a people and raise up the second-most glorious king who would ever reign over Israel.
Sometimes He changes things in our lives because there is a Saul getting in the way of our David. We cling to our Sauls because they are familiar to us. We know what we are getting with the way things currently are, so we tend to clutch. When the Father discerns that He will be more greatly glorified by making some divine interruptions in our plans, paths and presumptions, we do well to release whatever is being required. Sometimes He pulls the drapes on the windows through which we love to gaze. He has shut a few doors in my face and loudly, turned the deadbolt, allowing me to proceed no further. You and I have said goodbyes that we never volunteered to participate in. Most of those times, especially when we are young believers, we struggled intensely at what we perceived as losses. We hated to bid farewell to our Sauls. But then came the Davids that followed. Then came the awareness of a much bigger picture being worked out for us by God. After we said goodbye to thing that He required, we began to feel in our hearts the thing that He was now supplying. Our faith budded and blossomed. Our confidence in God’s ways solidified. We sighed in relief, submitted in faith and surrendered in trust. We began to truly trust the mysterious ways of our Maker. We experienced true spiritual growth.
Is there a Saul being removed from you? Is He showing you that nothing is permanent down here? The bigger issue is whether or not you are trusting in His goodness, love and benevolence toward you as He brings interruptions to your plans.
Can you let go of all that He calls for? I hope so, because if He is requiring you to release it, the reason is because whatever it is, it is in the way of something better He is offering you. It is the season for your David to arise.