Fill Your Horn with Oil and Move On

ShofarThis Sunday is celebrated as Mother’s Day in the USA and so I find it most appropriate to share a universal lesson that most of us learned from our mothers many years ago. It is the lesson of picking ourselves up, dusting ourselves off and getting over the fact that we just skinned our knees so we can move on to bigger and better things.

In the Hebrew Scriptures/Christian Old Testament in the books of the Prophets (Nevi’im), 1 Samuel 15:35 – 1 Samuel 16:1 we read the following:

Samuel never saw Saul again to the day of his death. But Samuel grieved over Saul, because the Lord regretted that He had made Saul king over Israel. And the Lord said to Samuel, “How long will you grieve for Saul, since I have rejected him as king over Israel? Fill your horn with oil and set out; I am sending you to Jesse the Bethlehemite, for I have decided on one of his sons to be a king.”

In brief review for those rustier in biblical lore than others; God had chosen Saul to be the King of Israel and Samuel the Prophet had groomed him and grown to love him as a son. Saul had some bad habits though and after several incidents of disobedience (not crazy about that word, but it works here), it became clear to Samuel and to God that Saul wasn’t going to cut it. The statement at the end of Chapter 15 sums it up: Samuel was feeling miserable about his seeming failure – he was depressed and having a difficult time getting over it.

God says to Samuel what we’ve heard many times from mothers, friends, bosses, coaches and even ourselves – it’s time to get over it and move on. The oil in the horn – presumably a ram’s horn – was filled with anointing oil. Samuel was being told to take the anointment, or favor on Saul and move it on to someone more deserving; Saul was no longer worthy of it.

How often do we mourn over circumstances, or relationships that have not worked out in our best interests, and felt incapable of moving forward? We “anointed” or blessed a situation or relationship as an important part of our lives and now it’s in shambles at our feet. Admitting that we poured our favor on something that is not serving us as we had hoped, or as it once had is a humbling experience as Samuel’s behavior illustrates.

Of particular note, this timeless lesson is  shared from the perspective whereby God is telling a respected and wise man that it’s time to cut his losses and move on. This is powerful as it shows the great importance of knowing when to hold ’em, and when to fold ’em. God said, “Hey – this didn’t work out; it’s not the end of the world. There’s another king in the next village.”

Consider the magnitude of this event: God chose Saul, and yet at the end of the day, Saul’s choices and behaviors made it impossible for God to continue to consider him as the king of Israel. If God can say, “Hmmm – that didn’t work out as I had planned it to,…” and move on, we can too.

This particular story is teaching us to pay attention to the present moment, and not to hang our emotions, ego and regrets on what we THOUGHT or HOPED would happen. If it’s not happening, and you’ve given it plenty of opportunities to work out, it’s time to fill your horn with oil and go anoint someone or something else.

We know from the rest of the story that Samuel went on to anoint a shepherd boy named David who became a great king and impacted the historical development of the modern world. David made some colossal human mistakes, too but on the whole a better and wiser king than Saul promised to be by his actions. Ask yourself what you’re holding on to that needs to be left, like Saul, in the pages of history.

Whether you have anointed a career, a relationship, or any other life circumstance or decision; if it’s not serving your highest and best Good, it’s time to take that anointing oil elsewhere.

Don’t hold onto things in your past that aren’t serving your peace of mind, your Good or your abundance (which we know is much more than money); learn this powerful lesson and free yourself today.

And so it is.

(C) Practitioner's Path 2016
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