1 Samuel 9:1-27
The Call from God:
1) …Can happen at any time.
We live in a society that judges everything by appearances whether that is vehicles, homes or people. Talk shows dedicate themselves to what people are wearing, what their hairstyle is, the car they drive and many other superficial qualities that really mean nothing. Even comedian Jim Gaffigan jokes about the difference between an ugly person smiling at you verses a good looking person and the reaction you have toward them.
Saul had both good looks and wealth going for him but that did not prepare him to lead a country. Some say he was about 7 feet tall which would have made him stand out among anyone. The problem is that the Bible only mentions tall people who were not of God. (Numbers 13:32-33; Deuteronomy 2:10,21; 9:2) 1 Samuel 17:4; 1 Chronicles 11:23; Isaiah 18:7; 45:14; Amos 2:9) It is as if the author wanted us to know that God was sending Saul to punish His people. In fact to govern in Hebrew meant to hold back and so God was choosing someone that would actually hold back the Israelites from being the nation they could be because of their rebellion towards God.
Saul was doing normal activities on a normal day not knowing that his whole life was getting ready to change. He was doing what his father had asked him to do which was go and find some donkeys that had wondered off. Little did Saul know that a normal task was going to turn into a divine appointment.
Saul has a bad reputation because later he messes up but he did not start off as that bad of a guy. He was chosen by God because this is who the people wanted and so God was granting their rebellious prayer request. One of the problems we see immedietly with Saul is a lack of spiritual awareness of who Samuel was. According to 1 Samuel chapter three everyone knew of Samuel and him being the prophet of Israel but Saul does not know who he is. Another area that Saul was weak in was seeking God for the daily frustrations of life. The servant is the one who talked about going and seeking Samuel to help find the donkeys. Psalm 139 shows the intimacy of God in every area of our lives and when we think God is not concerned about the daily things of life it shows our lack of knowledge and intimacy He has for us. God is someone we tend to go to when we have no other options but for the day in and day out stuff we think He is not concerned.
The search for the donkeys was apparently taking some time because they would normally take a thirty day supply of bread with them and the passage lets us know they were running low on supplies. Also that Saul is concerned that his father will start worrying about him is an indication that the search was taking a long time.
So they go up to try and find Samuel and they run into some women who were going to get water, which meant it was later in the day and they told Saul to hurry and they could find Samuel getting ready to make sacrifices. Samuel was back home from traveling around to the different cities and was going to have a feast with 30 men. God told Samuel the day before that He was sending the person to him who would be the King. When Samuel saw Saul God told Samuel that Saul was indeed the one Samuel was to anoint as King of Israel. When they met Samuel let them know that the donkeys were fine and safe and then treated Saul as royalty which was a little confusing to Saul. Samuel then shared with Saul the next day the Lords plans.
The ordinary things of life can become the divine moments in your life.
With God there is no such thing as a regular day, He is working to create divine appointments to accomplish His will. As a follower of Christ you have to be ready that the lost donkeys in our life are there by God’s design for a divine purpose. I have to change the way I think from being frustrated about things to realizing that God is working things out for others.
Romans 8:28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good,[a] for those who are called according to his purpose.
For the good does not necessarily mean your good. (This verse is always misquoted) The thing you take hope in is that God is working things out for eternal purposes that go beyond our understanding. Selfishly we want to interpret the verse to mean that God is working things out just for us but that is the wrong thinking to have. So the lost donkeys in your world can be seen as times that God is doing something for the good. Remember, the greatest good God can do in your life is to make you more like Christ.
Read 1 Samuel 10:1-7
The Call from God:
2) …will be affirmed by others
If you are struggling with the direction God is taking you and you have Godly people reaffirming you then that is a good indication of where you are supposed to go. You need to always surround yourself with people that are first seeking God and reading His word then you will have others around you who will pray through your decisions with you.
Samuel anoints the head of Saul with oil as a sign of what God has called him to do. Samuel then tells him that he will run into 3 groups of people which will confirm what God is doing in his life. Two men who let him know about the donkeys and how they were found(2) Three men going up to Bethel carrying three small goats, three loaves of bread, and some wine. He will then run into a group of prophets which is where God will change Saul’s heart to do the work that God has called him to do.
Many people have made up their minds and are only looking for people to agree with them when they are in fact heading the wrong direction. God has placed people in your life for a reason and if they are Godly people you need to pay attention to the things they are telling you.
Proverbs 13:20 Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.
Who are you listening to? If Godly people are trying to get you to not do something you need to pause and pray. If Godly people are trying to get you to do something you need to evaluate it as well.
1 Samuel 10:7-8
Notice that Saul was told he was going to be King but then he had to wait some more. Again, we do not want to get ahead of God but we also must be ready for the call. You will find plenty of people who have opinions but are you listening to the right people? One of the things I realized very quickly is that everyone knows what to do but I have to discern who is speaking words from the Lord and who is just speaking their mind. Take a step back from the voices that you are surrounded with and you will see that some of the things being said are really foolishness on display.
Are those you are listening to spending time with God every day in daily devotions? Are those you are listening to living a life that is consistent with Christ? Are those you are listening to seeking the wisdom of God or just trying to have their own wants met?
The difficulty with all of this is some of us have really close friends or family members who are not seeking God but are very strongly opinioned about it. If someone is giving you a hard time about a decision you are making simply ask them how much they have prayed about it. If that does not work ask them if they will set aside an hour to pray with you over the decision you are trying to make.
1 Samuel 10: 20-24
The Call from God:
3) … Can be overcome by fear
Samuel gets all the people together to announce Saul publicly but Saul is nowhere to be found. They have to go to prayer to find him and God tells them he is hiding in the baggage on the outskirts of the town. They would put bags and other items in a pile out of the way and that is where Saul went to go and hide. Saul, who looked the part as a leader, was looking at his one inferiority and not Gods power. Fear can freeze you from following through with what God has called you to do.
2 Timothy 1:6-7 For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands, 7 for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.
1 Samuel 10:25-27
The Call from God:
4) …Can be met by resistance from others.
Saul gets anointed king in front of all the tribes of Israel but a few of them would not listen to the spiritual leader and let their thoughts be known. If you are waiting for no criticism to move forward then that day may never come. Notice the Bible calls them worthless fellows because what they are saying and how they are acting is worthless to the kingdom of God.
We live in a society of opinioned people. Many people want to hear themselves speak instead of listen and learn. When football seasons arrives there will be a ton of experts sitting at home who know their favorite football team better than the coach who is coaching them. People love to sit back and shout out what they think but they do not want to get involved. These men were causing division simply because of their attitude and their actions.
Thom Rainer who does church research for Lifeway calls them church bullies. Although these apply to the church I thought they were appropriate for the bullies in our own lives.
9 Traits of Church Bullies
1) They do not recognize themselves as bullies. They don’t see themselves as bullies they see themselves as being right and by offering their opinion they believe they are helping you. All of us tend to offer advice and one of the best things we can do before we do is to stop and pray and seek wisdom from God before we open our mouths. Sometimes things are just non of your business. In John 21 Peter tries to ask Jesus about what will happen to John and Jesus makes it clear that whatever God has planned for John is not the business of Peter. Make sure you do not just step into someone else’s life because you think you know best.
2) They have personal and self-serving agendas. They have determined what “their” church should look like. Any person or ministry or program that is contrary to their perceived ideal church must be eliminated. They have a view of life that they think everyone should fit in and not Gods call specifically on yours. Peter rebuked Jesus because Jesus was talking about suffering and Jesus called Peter and instrument of Satan (Matthew 16:23). Peter had a view of Jesus that Jesus was not going to fit into and Peter was not happy about it. When you sense the call of God on your life you will have those who do not understand and will even try to stop you from doing Gods will. These are not bad people and can even be followers of Christ but because they have their own agenda they tend to try and get everyone to fit into it.
3) They seek to form power alliances with weak members in the church. They will pester and convince groups, committees, and persons to be their allies in their cause. Weaker church staff members and church members will succumb to their forceful personalities.
4) They tend to have intense and emotional personalities. These bullies use the intensity of their personalities to get their way. Peter had a very strong personality and because of that many people probably went along with him just to get along. Those with strong personalities need to guard their tongues to make sure that they are not a hindrance to the work of God in someone else’s life.
5) They are famous for saying “people are saying.” They love to gather tidbits of information and shape it to their own agendas. One of the best things you can do if someone is using general terms is to ask for specifics. If they say, “people are saying” then ask them for names. Tell them to have the people come and talk to you personally.
6) They find their greatest opportunities in low expectation churches. People that bully others know who they can and cannot pick on. You have to set boundaries sometimes or they will continue to walk on you. This is true especially when you are seeking God’s direction for your life and you have not confirmed it yet.
7) They are allowed to bully because church members will not stand up to them.
8) They create chaos and wreak havoc. A church bully always has his next mission and next agenda item that they will complain about. Sometimes with their negativity they can create such turmoil that it draws attention away from what needs to be done.
9) They often move to other churches after they have done their damage.
Saul kept the peace with them when he could have had them killed. It is not clear what should have been done and people have different opinions but there are times to speak up and there are times to be silent.
Proverbs 26:4-5 Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest you be like him yourself. 5 Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own eyes.
Some people you should answer and some you just need to walk away. The one thing we must know for sure is that our loyalty to God trumps loyalty to everything else.
Luke 14:26 If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.
To hate means to love less than. You can love your family and you can love God but if the choice is between your family and God then you have to choose God. Acts 4 says that it is better to serve God than man when Peter was faced with obeying God or obeying authority.
We cannot allow the opinions of others keep us from the call God has on our lives. Noah had a calling that no one understood and yet he faithfully did what God called him to do even though only his family stuck by his side. Abraham was called to leave his home to go to a place God would show him. Abraham did not have a clear direction or destination he just simply listened for the voice of God to direct his every move. Some of the calls of God on our lives are very difficult to explain to others because it goes against the norms of what the world expects. When the calling is different or the destination is unclear then people will come in and add confusion to your life by telling you what you should do and how you should live. It is not what you are called to that matters, but only if you will answer the call.