MISCHIEF…LITTLE HAPPENINGS…SELF-IMPOSED BLINDNESS…AMAZING, LOVING GOD…
God used prophets, priests and judges to lead the people of Israel. There was a particular kind of closeness to God that meant visions and miracles and triumphant victories. Yet…they were a stubborn and stiff-necked people. Like with us…some things started with a little mischief. But once you start…things often get complex…even out of hand.
Despite God’s faithfulness, love and amazing direction, they would repeatedly get sidetracked, worshipping and serving other Gods. Oh the sins that followed!
Despite God’s faithful leading, the Israelites wanted to be like other nations so they asked to have a king to lead them. Samuel was the prophet, priest and judge during this season. Despite his warnings about the kind of taxation and oppression it would ultimately mean…they were relentless in their demands for a king.
Obviously, it hurt Samuel to feel he was being rejected/replaced. God said, “Samuel…they aren’t rejecting you…they are rejecting me. Let them have what they ask.”
Prior to Saul becoming king, there is this seemingly random little story tucked in God’s word. It tells how Saul’s dad’s donkeys got loose. Saul and his servant were sent to find them. They went from place to place, endlessly searching for these stubborn, wayward donkeys. Saul was about to turn around and go home but his servant mentioned how there was a man of God (Samuel) nearby and, “Everything he says comes true. Maybe he can tell us where the donkeys are.”
Then…wonder of wonders, despite their random wandering, they “coincidentally” ran into Samuel.
Seriously? They had been searching everywhere for these foolish donkeys and they “just happened to” run into Samuel? This was the man who would pick Israel’s first king. God’s plan was for Saul to be that king! Can anyone deny that these very daily events and yes…this crazy donkey-search was orchestrated so the people of Israel could have Saul as their king?
Small events add up to the life God intends. Sadly, this was something God did not want for them. This was something they chose because of ego and sin and a desire to be like their godless neighbor nations.
Yet…God picked a king for them.
Why? Because, as always, He was on a mission to provide what the people needed in order to ultimately be drawn to Him. There was a lot of pain attached to choosing the leadership of a king, rather than the leadership of God. Rebellion always means pain. Rebellion is blindness by choice. To rebel is to choose not to see and hear what God is saying. It doesn’t start with total rebellion. It starts with the little things.
God understands us though. He knows that to force us would mean an unrepentant, unchanged heart. He knows that eventual desperation will give us the best opportunity and desire to call out to Him. God formed us and knows our psyche and knows what it takes to drive us out of our self-imposed blindness. It is still our choice, of course. But He is ever working to open our eyes through our disquieting circumstances, the prayers of others and the power of His convicting Holy Spirit.
He has a custom-made plan for you and me so that we can live out the custom-made life He has designed for our peace, joy and purpose and… the glory of His name…
2 Timothy 3:12-17 (NIV)
12 In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted,
13 while evil men and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.
14 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it,
15 and how from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.
16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness,
17 so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.