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Operator, Please Connect Me with 1982!

Read: 1 Samuel 16:1-13; Philippians 3:13

 

In Randy Travis' song “1982”, the singer laments that he needs to make apologies for what he didn't do; so he needs to go back to 1982. Alas, the words speak of a lost love and the singer's inability to focus on anything else. The song ends with the words:

‘Losing my mind

Going back in time to 1982.’

The song came out in December of 1985. Perhaps it was so popular because most of us have a "1982" that we wish we could do differently, but we can't go back, and God doesn't want us to be stuck in sorrow or regret that we can't alter. I need to press the pause button for a moment just to say that if we can make something right, God wants us to do so; however, after doing everything we can do to make amends, we don't want to miss God ordained opportunities due to our own mistakes or sins that Jesus has wholly cleansed, 1 John 1:9. An example of that sweet fruitfulness that God can bring later.

 

Okay, let's take the discussion off pause and learn from Samuel, the last of Israel's judges. A bit of background: Samuel had been the one to anoint Saul, Israel's first king, 1 Samuel 10:1. Saul started out as king on a high note; however, as his reign progressed, so did his disobedience and rebellion. Samuel warned Saul and finally had to give him the bad news that, although he would continue to be king over God's people, in reality his position had been given over to another man who would be loyal to Him, 1 Samuel 13:14;1 Samuel 15:23. God's choice was David. The actual changing of the king would take place in God's timing, but the decision was set in stone. Saul's reaction? He didn't repent. In 1 Samuel 16:1, we learn that Samuel had been mourning because of Saul's on-going wrong choices and God's having rejected him from being king. How long had this mourning gone on? We aren't told, but we can understand Samuel's struggle over Saul's rebellion. Even so, God had a question for His man. “How long would he continue to mourn?” God had made His decision concerning Saul, and it was time for Samuel to act. He needed to fill his horn with anointing oil and go and pour it over the man who would be Israel's next king. By the time we read 1 Samuel 16:13, Samuel has filled his horn with oil, gone to Jesse's, had the sacrifice and anointed the new king elect. All because he stepped up to do God's task in God's time. Did Samuel still feel regret and sadness due to Saul's on-going bad choices? We don't know for certain, but it would be understandable if he did. After all, he had been instrumental in Saul's life. Even so, he didn't let his sorrow about Saul's choices keep him from doing the tasks God had for him. He couldn't change what had happened, but Samuel could be obedient when God called.

 

In Philippians 3:13, Paul speaks of forgetting what is past. He had not yet become all that God intended for him to become. Even so, the apostle would press on and not be trapped in the past. Neither the fleshly righteousness he used to rely upon Philippians 3:3-8 nor the things he had done to harm God's people, Acts 9:1-3, would keep him from looking toward God's goal for his life. He could never undo the wrongs he had done when he harmed and harassed God's people, but he didn't get stuck there. The apostle's life pictures the sweet fruitfulness that God can produce when He changes a person and that person allows His grace to permeate his life. He doesn't deny the sinfulness of the past that cannot be changed; instead, he allows God to display it. Not to bring shame upon himself but to magnify the grace that changes a life completely.

 

1 Timothy 1:12-16

12) I give thanks to Christ Jesus our Lord who has strengthened me, because He considered me faithful, appointing me to the ministry. 13) one who was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and an arrogant man. But I received mercy because I acted out of ignorance in unbelief. 14) And the grace of our Lord overflowed, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. 15) This saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance: “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners”, and I am the worst of them. 16) But I received mercy for this reason, so that in me, the worst of them, Christ Jesus might demonstrate His extraordinary patience as an example to those who would believe in Him for eternal life.

 

With His enabling, let's give past missteps, and mistakes and regrets to God and ask Him to display His grace through our lives as we press on to His high calling.

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