Summary: Hang on! Let go! Endure till the end! Throw in towel. So should we quit or not quit? That is the question!
Some have already crashed and burned! Others are killing it. Fasts. Workout plans. Pages read. Promises kept. Promises broken. A new year and new dreams, new ambitions, new desires and old obstacles, old challenges, old situations. This mix leads to quitting. As much anticipation and expectancy as day one of the year started with we are often suddenly and even brutally forced to alter or even abandon our ambitions and attempts. So, as I said last week our challenge is that
it is essential that we learn what to quit and what not to quit.
Like it or not there are some things that we should quit. Even if what we should quit is our preference! I will show you what I mean in Scripture.
1 Samuel 15:10-11(NIV)
Then the word of the Lord came to Samuel: “I regret that I have made Saul king, because he has turned away from me and has not carried out my instructions.” Samuel was angry, and he cried out to the Lord all that night.
1 Samuel 15:35 (Message)
Samuel had nothing to do with Saul from then on, though he grieved long and deeply over him. But God was sorry he had ever made Saul king in the first place.
1 Samuel 16:1-2 (Message)
God addressed Samuel: “So, how long are you going to mope over Saul? You know I’ve rejected him as king over Israel. Fill your flask with anointing oil and get going. I’m sending you to Jesse of Bethlehem. I’ve spotted the very king I want among his sons.” “I can’t do that,” said Samuel. “Saul will hear about it and kill me.”
In order to understand the scene of 1 Samuel 15 and 16 and the deep pain and discomfort that Samuel experienced you must first go back and understand that originally Samuel resisted Israel's desire to have a king. According to 1 Samuel 8 as Samuel increased in age he set it up so that his sons would rule over Israel as prophetic judges. However, the nation demanded a king. Samuel fought it but finally obeying God he sees and anoints Saul! Scripture says this is Samuel's description of Saul on the day he was covered with oil to rule. “Take a good look at whom God has chosen: the best! No one like him in the whole country!” This began a long relationship between Samuel and Saul. Saul reigned 42 years. And then finally due to his continued disobedience and pride God sends word to Samuel that it is time to anoint a new king which as you know would be David. David would end up being the greatest king of Israel until even to this day Israel is still marked and shaped by his reign.
That is the backdrop. After 42 years, Samuel's preference had changed. Either through familiarity, his own resistance to change, or maybe he felt his own reputation was at risk by admitting the choice turned out to be less exemplary than desired ... Samuel didn't like the fact that God was making a change. In fact, from the passages I read to you, we discover that Samuel was angry with God, distressed, grieved and finally when you get to chapter 16 we discover that he is moping because of the change.
It is out of this account that I want to challenge you with a couple thoughts! This year some of us need to . . .
a. Quit crying!
More specifically we need to quit mourning over what God is finished with!
Notice that God didn't say it was wrong for Samuel to cry over Saul. He just confronts the fact that Samuel has been in a long season of mourning. How long will you continue to mope or one version says weep over Saul?
Too many of us are like the Israelites when they find themselves free from slavery but continue to long for the leaks and garlic of bondage in Egypt. We continue to mourn and weep over things from yesteryear or yesterday that God is finished with and if the truth be told would keep us in bondage! We have got to quit crying.
How many of us have been in a long season of mourning because of the broken relationship, the broken friendship, the lost job, the lost dream, the lost desire? We find ourselves moping like Samuel. And we have stayed in this season of mourning so long that that we miss the new relationship, the new friendship, the new job, the dream that was God ordained and sent.
We need to learn the lesson that Samuel learned and that is there is a season of mourning. Weeping endures for the night. It isn't appropriate to continue to mourn in the new morning. Weep, grieve, wail, lament, and even moan if you must but recognize there is a there is a season for that and if we don't quit crying we will drown in things that God is finished with.