By Rev. Sheila L. Scott
Text: 1 Samuel 15:34-16:13 NRSV
What you see in the above picture is determined by what you are focusing on. Some of you saw a young lady wearing a feathered hat with a necklace on her neck. While others saw a senior lady where time has etched its lines upon her face with her thin lips separating both a long nose and chin. Someone wrote these words: “It is difficult to look at the same information from different perspectives.”
In our text we find God redirecting Samuel’s attention because he was focused on old things, the past, his sorrow, his pain, his disappointments and grief. And God reminded Samuel that you can no longer grief over someone else’s mess, someone else’s mistakes, someone else’s hang-ups, someone’s issues, if they are unwilling to change. We cannot change anyone but ourselves and change must first start by the way we think. “It is difficult to look at the same information from different perspectives.”
The way we see things and the way God see things are two different perspectives. That is why God could ask the Prophet Samuel, “How long will you grieve over Saul? I have rejected him from being king over Israel…” I can imagine Samuel reminiscing, going down memory lane saying to himself, “I remember when Saul and his servant boy were looking for his father’s missing donkey and they came to me for direction.” I can imagine Samuel saying to himself, “I fed Saul gave him the best portion and provided him a place to stay before going back home to his father. Saul was the first man I anointed king, he looked like a king and he talked like a king but because of his disobedience God has rejected Saul as king.” Saul was rejected by God because he disobeyed the voice of God and allowed his greed to get the best of him.
Distractions can hold us back from reaching our goals. For Saul the consequences of his distraction caused him to lose his anointing as king. And for Samuel lingering in his grief over Saul caused him wasted time. Distractions can cause us to waste time or miss out on reaching our goals in life. God gives us all a free will to chose to obey or disobey him. The prophet Samuel was told by God to anoint another king. A story is told about an Indian teaching his disciples the art of archery. He ask one of them what do you see, the disciple replied, “I see the trees, sun, grass, branches and birds flying in the air.” The other disciple said, “I see the bird’s eye.”
As Christians we are to stay focus on doing the will of God. God tells us in His Word(Isaiah 55:8) “My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD.” We evaluate things based on our finite perspective but God’s infinite, unlimited perceptive on what’s really happening on a cosmic, global, international, local and individual level that He understands us better than we understand ourselves, God sees the invisible details of a situation. Things that we can’t see nor even imagine that’s why we got to stay focus on the main thing–God. God reminds us again (Isaiah 55:9-11 NLT) “For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts. ‘The rain and snow come down from the heavens and stay on the ground to water the earth. They cause the grain to grow, producing seed for the framer and bread for the hungry. It is the same with my Word. I send it out, and it always produces fruit. It will accomplish all I want it to, and it will prosper everywhere I send it.”
Staying focused helps us to keep moving forward. Samuel could have gotten stuck over the loss of his friend and king, Samuel could have gotten off track if he would refused to do his job as a prophet because of God’s rejection of Saul. Like so many of us who lose focus of our goals because a friend was looked over, or whatever the case may be don’t miss your blessing because of others actions or inaction. Samuel’s work wasn’t over, nor the mission ended because of Saul’s rejection but his time God didn’t want Samuel to get distracted by what a person looked like, remember God sees the heart.