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Monday, March 20, 2017

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Our reading starts at the beginning of a new chapter in Samuel, but we actually enter into the midst of an unresolved and messy story. God regrets making Saul king and rejects him for his disobedience, and Samuel is overcome with grief for Saul. But God doesn't leave Samuel in his grief--or the Israelites in theirs. Rather, God shares in their grief, for God's regret is God's grief. More so, in the midst of this shared grief, God is at work for God's good purposes in the world. God is at work for the sake of God's people. "Set out. I will send you...For I have provided for myself a king." God's call comes to draw Samuel out of his grief and beckon him onward. This call will stir up hope for Israel with David's anointing.

We, too, are not left alone in our grief. God shares in it and, through Jesus, has fully entered into it for our sake. God comes into our lives to do what God has done again and again: deliver God's people.

God of providence, thank you for accompanying us in our grief and delivering us from it through Jesus Christ our savior. Amen.

Annie Langseth
M.Div. Student, Luther Seminary

1 Samuel 16:1-13 (NRSV)

1 The Lord said to Samuel, "How long will you grieve over Saul? I have rejected him from being king over Israel. Fill your horn with oil and set out; I will send you to Jesse the Bethlehemite, for I have provided for myself a king among his sons."
2 Samuel said, "How can I go? If Saul hears of it, he will kill me." And the Lord said, "Take a heifer with you, and say, "I have come to sacrifice to the Lord.'
3 Invite Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will show you what you shall do; and you shall anoint for me the one whom I name to you."
4 Samuel did what the Lord commanded, and came to Bethlehem. The elders of the city came to meet him trembling, and said, "Do you come peaceably?"
5 He said, "Peaceably; I have come to sacrifice to the Lord; sanctify yourselves and come with me to the sacrifice." And he sanctified Jesse and his sons and invited them to the sacrifice.
6 When they came, he looked on Eliab and thought, "Surely the Lord's anointed is now before the Lord."
7 But the Lord said to Samuel, "Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for the Lord does not see as mortals see; they look on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart."
8 Then Jesse called Abinadab, and made him pass before Samuel. He said, "Neither has the Lord chosen this one."
9 Then Jesse made Shammah pass by. And he said, "Neither has the Lord chosen this one."
10 Jesse made seven of his sons pass before Samuel, and Samuel said to Jesse, "The Lord has not chosen any of these."
11 Samuel said to Jesse, "Are all your sons here?" And he said, "There remains yet the youngest, but he is keeping the sheep." And Samuel said to Jesse, "Send and bring him; for we will not sit down until he comes here."
12 He sent and brought him in. Now he was ruddy, and had beautiful eyes, and was handsome. The Lord said, "Rise and anoint him; for this is the one."
13 Then Samuel took the horn of oil, and anointed him in the presence of his brothers; and the spirit of the Lord came mightily upon David from that day forward. Samuel then set out and went to Ramah.

This God Pause daily devotion is brought to you by the alumni of Luther Seminary.