Finding More Than Donkeys
Father, it is glory enough to be Your servant, and it is grace enough that You should be my Lord.
Read 1 Samuel 9:1-27
Scripture taken from the THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, NIV Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
“The will of God is not just a rigid line on which we walk, but a releasing relationship in which we live. He guides our decisions, helps us make hard choices, and shows us what we can be” (Lloyd John Ogilvie).
God told Samuel, “Give them a king” (8:21)–but how? The scene shifts to a prominent man with a handsome, tall son. “Tall and handsome” is always a plus in choosing leaders! Even if we did not know already, we would suspect that Saul will become king. On his journey, Saul is surprisingly passive. Lost donkeys take him toward Samuel’s home. When he is ready to give up, his servant persists with a key proposal and even offers money when Saul is hesitant (5-8). Young girls provide information, highlighting a sacrifice where Samuel must preside (12,13; c.f. 1 Sam. 13:8,9). God has intervened the previous day, telling Samuel, “I will send” (15-17). The donkeys, servant and girls, and Samuel’s being there come together in God’s purpose. The initiative and choice was solely his: Saul was unwittingly led to Samuel and Samuel was not inquiring. God responds to the cry of “my people” (three times, vs. 15,16). Saul’s “anointing is not for the sake of the monarchy, not to establish a new institution, not to enhance Saul. It is for “my people” … so that Israel may live” (W. Brueggemann, First and Second Samuel). Our minds can move ahead to Jesus, the anointed King, sent to bring life.
Saul realizes that something is happening that involves him, hence his disclaimer (21), but Samuel is in no hurry. Not until morning is he ready to announce God’s choice, with no one else present.
Through all the account, with its suspense and twists, we see God at work using people going about their common activities: a servant helping his master look for donkeys, girls collecting water and a prophet present to offer a sacrifice. Only the prophet could claim to be “somebody” in human eyes, but without the others Samuel could not act.
Today, go about your everyday activities open to being surprised by what God may be doing in answer to prayer. Our God is a God of surprises.
Sovereign Lord, my life is in Your hands. I don’t want to walk ahead of You or behind You, but with You. Keep me in step with the Spirit.