Read 1 Samuel 16:1
1 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.” (NLT)
What makes this one verse interesting is what has gone before. The Lord had previously told Samuel to anoint Saul as king. In this sense, it was not a wrong appointment. Samuel didn’t make a mistake or mishear the Lord. But now things are different. Saul has proved unworthy. It is a case of a decision being made with God’s guidance and the result being not what either we or God wanted.
We can say two things about this. One is that whenever other human beings are involved we cannot guarantee outcomes. Not even God could stop Saul from being a disappointment. God does not compel us to be good or obedient. And we can note that Jesus, after an all-night prayer vigil still chose Judas!
So we might make decisions involving others and those others let us down. It doesn’t mean we have decided wrongly, nor does it mean futile regret. We are merely experiencing the vagaries and fallibilities of human nature.
The other thing to say is that God will yet be at work achieving his purposes. Saul hadn’t worked out, but God wasn’t beaten. Another, greater king came along in the person of David.
We cannot forever be paralysed with regret about what might have been. We are encouraged to move on and embrace what might yet be still to come.