Devotional

“Now the Lord said to Samuel, “You have mourned long enough for Saul. I have rejected him as king of Israel, so fill your flask with olive oil and go to Bethlehem. Find a man named Jesse who lives there, for I have selected one of his sons to be my king.” — 1 Samuel 16:1. 

January has always been the month of fresh starts and new beginnings. People start diets and pack gyms. People are energized. They want to make changes, make improvements. They have great expectations. 

Then comes February, March, April, May, June, and the realization that we are not making the progress we intended. We get bogged down. We come to the conclusion we have failed and will do better next year. But here is the thing: there is nothing magical about January 1st for a fresh start and no matter what you’ve done or not done, great things are ahead with God. God is making all things new. That’s His character. The overall story of the Bible is a message of new beginnings. Take the example of Samuel. 

The first reign of the history of the people of Israel that began with great expectations was entering a stage of decline. The prophet Samuel had been there the whole time in this story, ever since God sent Saul to his home to anoint him as king However, at the beginning of 1 Samuel 16, we find Samuel lamenting because King Saul had been rejected by God himself as a result of having turned away from Him and making many wrong decisions. Most of us can probably relate. There was probably a stage in your life that you longed to arrive, an exciting start to a new “season” and suddenly an unexpected event or a wrong decision has us lamenting.  

The good news is God has a plan for you and a restoration strategy for your life. One day the story and the mourning for Saul ended in verse one of chapter 15. Notice the words “mourned long enough.” God understood Samuel’s pain, but it was time to get up and get going again. Samuel was sent to Bethlehem to look for a man named Jesse because one of his sons would be anointed as the new king of Israel.  

God has been working through history to enable new beginnings. The Apostle Paul called himself the worst sinner to ever live and yet found grace that changed his life forever and gave him a new start. God wants you to have a new beginning. He wrote, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come” (2 Corinthians 5:17)

In the heat of the summer, we need to be reminded that new beginnings are not relegated to January and that roadblocks may not be roadblocks at all, but rather new beginnings in disguise. Perhaps your missteps are actually opportunities for growth, greater closeness with God, or a nudge to take a leap of faith. Fortunately, our God is a God of new beginnings. All of us need new beginnings. We stumble and fumble and wish we could do it over again so God created us with the need for new beginnings.  “And the one sitting on the throne said, “Look, I am making everything new!” And then he said to me, “Write this down, for what I tell you is trustworthy and true.” (Revelation 21:5).

But as we think about a fresh start, or a new beginning, we need to remember a key point: we are that new beginning. As we continue to learn who God is and who God is in us, we are shifting toward becoming a new creation. 

Discussion Questions:

  1. How can a person keep a new beginning with God from fizzling out? What sustains it over the long haul?