life’s biggest lesson?

Category : David, Saul, faith, fear, taking action

  

“The Lord who delivered me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.”  (1 Samuel 17: 37)

This was David’s response when Saul asked him why he thought he could beat Goliath, a man that every other Israelite feared.  Sometimes all we need is to apply the things that God has already taught us.  David didn’t need more proof that God would help him – he already had two examples.  And for David, that was enough.

getting out of bed

Category : God, faith, fear, taking action

 

Has there ever been a day where you just wanted to stay in bed?  Of course there has.  That’s a silly question!  For me it’s those cold mornings.  My bed is warm.  Comfortable.  And the thought of stepping into the cold air fills me with dread.  Not to mention the bad mood it puts me in!

Sadly staying in bed isn’t always an option.  Sometimes we have to get out of the comfortable, and step into the cold. This is where Samuel found himself.  God had told him to place Saul over all of Israel.  But now, after a few years had passed, Saul had gone too far.  He had once again defied God, which meant Samuel had to deliver some bad news to Saul.

Now I don’t know about you, but I’m not particularly fond of delivering bad news.  I will put it off for as long as I can.  Especially news that may get me killed.  I’m also pretty sure that Samuel wasn’t looking forward to this conversation with Saul.  The Bible tells us that “Samuel was troubled” (probably the understatement of the year) “and he cried out to the LORD all that night.” (1 Samuel 15: 11)

I don’t blame the guy.  I wouldn’t want to go tell the King that he would no longer have God’s support and was about to be dethroned.  Of course if I were in that position, I would have done a lot more than just “cry out.”  (I would be firmly in the ‘hiding under my bed’ camp.)  But Samuel was a man of action.  He was someone who trusted God totally and was willing to follow through no matter the cost.

We see in the next verse that “Early in the morning Samuel got up and went to meet Saul” (1 Samuel 15: 12).

It is one thing to work up the courage to deliver news that may cost you your life.  It’s another thing to do it first thing in the morning.  I don’t even like talking to people early in the morning and here Samuel was off risking his life.

But as I said, Samuel was a man of action and trust.  So the very first thing he did was go look for Saul.  For all we know he didn’t even stop at Starbucks for some coffee.  He just acted.  There was no arguing; no waiting for the “right” time (as if telling a king God wasn’t happy with him would ever have a good time).

Samuel just got out of bed.  No procrastination, just action.

Some people don’t think the Bible is funny or that God can have a sense of humor.  But I disagree.  We see that after a full night of worrying and crying out, Samuel can’t find Saul.  He’s moved on.  All that worrying for nothing.  That’s funny!

It is also exactly like God.  He likes to push us to our limits.  Because when we reach our limits we realize we can go further.  God gave Samuel a task.  Something that was hard.  Something that may cost him is life.  And Samuel was determined to follow through with it no matter what.  Samuel could have easily said, “well I tried, but he wasn’t here.  Back to bed for me!”  But he didn’t.  Instead he went and found Saul and delivered the news.

Can I say the same about my life?  Can I look God in the eye and say, I did what you asked?  I want a life that’s filled with the same kind of trust and action that Samuel displayed.  But that doesn’t come about by wishful thinking or knowing what we should do – it only comes through action.  It only happens when we get out of bed.

who am I?

Category : God, Saul, bible, choice, faith, old testament

Sometimes God calls us to do scary things.  He calls us to leave the comforts of our homes and become missionaries.  He calls us to change jobs so we can start ministries.  Sometimes he even asks us to do something really terrifying: talk to our friends about him!  

In my life it seems every time God asks me to do something crazy I go through the same process.  First I say, “I’m sorry, you didn’t really just say that, did you?”  Followed promptly by “d’oh!” when I realize (alright…admit) I heard him the first time.  When I begin to submit to the path God has for me, I find myself honestly asking “who am I to do such things?”

Who am I to do great things in the world?  Aren’t there more qualified people?  Better educated?  Less fearful?

In the Old Testament book of Samuel, God uses a prophet by the name of (wait for it……wait for it…..) Samuel to establish a king over Israel.  Up to this time Israel had been ruled by God.  So by demanding a human king, Israel was quite literally saying God was not good enough.  They wanted to be like everyone else, and if that meant rejecting God, they were okay with that.  They wanted to do it their way, not God’s way.     

So God goes about establishing Israel’s first king, a guy by the name of Saul.  Now not everyone has a great first day of work, and that’s certainly true of Saul.  Instead of a stirring speech, or exciting victory, we find Saul hiding with some baggage.  Not a great way to start when you’re supposed to be replacing the creator of the universe…

But Saul had a big problem: his desire to do things on his own.  (Kind of like Israel’s desire, huh?)  Saul had repeatedly demonstrated that he wasn’t interested in looking to God for help.   He wanted to do things by himself.  Who knows if he wanted to be The Man, or if he was just impatient?  But whatever his reasons, he always chose to strike out on his own. 

I think that is why he was hiding.  I think when he was selected as king he was asking himself: “who am I?”  And the answer hearing was “no one.”  And so he did something entirely reasonable – he hid.  I think if I would have been Saul, I would have hidden as well.  How could you possibly take God’s place as ruler over his chosen people?  How could your resume ever match God’s?  And to make matters worse, Saul believed he had to rely on his own abilities; that he had to do it all by himself.

His fear must have been crippling.  And so he hid. 

Whenever God asks us to do something for him it’s bound to be terrifying.  God is a radical God after all.  And we often don’t like doing something that’s different.  When God moves in our lives, we will often stand out from our friends.  We will occasionally look foolish to the world.  But we are never alone.  And we never have to do things by ourselves.  In fact, God doesn’t want us to do it alone.  Part of the reason he gives us such outlandish tasks is to show us (and the world) that he is control.   We are supposed to turn to God and ask for help. 

So the next time I’m asked to do something that scares me and I find myself asking “who am I?”  I need to follow that up with, “is God with me?” or “am I alone?”