I have been on a Saul kind of thing. One of the things that has plagued me is am I Saul. Am I more like Saul than David. Second question can that change? To answer that question, I have to ask the question, could Saul of changed his destiny, or had his path been set. For sometime I have thought of a man is destine be a Saul or destine to be a David or something in between. In both situations, God called them when they were not seeking such a call, nor did they feel they were being called, until God sent Samuel, his prophet. I fear I’m more like Saul than David. What bothers me more, is my path set, or can my stars be changed. I can hear everyone scream as they read this, “YES, YES!” “You can absolutely change your stars.”
Ok, lets look at Saul, on more time. When he left his father’s house to look for some lost donkeys, he had no clue about what was getting ready to happen to him. unlike say a singer or politician or professional athlete who pursue their passion, and through their success they are put into the spotlight. And this isn’t someone’s 15 minutes of fame, who are thrust in to the spotlight for of one significant act. God altered this young man’s life in a drastic way. Saul’s life was elevated in every way, social class, wealth, responsibility, authority and importance in history. Because of God’s decision to make him king, his flaws, insecurities, and personality issues would be magnified on one of the biggest stages of life. Did Saul have anyway of understanding the ramifications for his decision and his actions. I think the answer is an emphatic, “No!” For a young man to handle this kind of change, authority, responsibility, and social elevation, he would have to be especially gifted. I keep thinking of Derek Jeter. He had an incredible career, on one of the biggest stages in all of sports. He was the shortstop for the Yankees, one of the most iconic teams in all of sports, in the largest media centers in the world. Were victories, defeats, failures and sins are blasted across every media source for all to see. Jeter seemed to rise to every big moment. He was their Captain and he truly handled himself exceptionally. But that’s not a fair comparison, because Jeter sought a professional baseball career and chose to sign wth the Yankees. I’m sure Jeter dreamed of the day he’d play professional baseball and spent his life preparing for it. Saul, on the other hand, is the definition of being hit by a Mac truck. Saul obviously was not ready or aware of what was ahead. Why, why God did you thrust him into this position for Your chosen people?
David, was thrust into the same situation, with one very important difference. He had a deep relationship with God. and his faith had been tested several times already in his young life. David had demonstrated great faith and he did not hide when presented with what most would consider overwhelming circumstances. He fought the lion and the bear, so he was ready for Goliath, and thus ready to lead God’s people. Its not a stretch to see why God chose David. But Saul? yes, a lot of questions.
Saul’s life and legacy are what Greek tragedies written. Not only would he die on the battlefield, his son dies beside him. And its not in glory. He dies in defeat, in a battle that is his own doing, the cause of poor decisions he made. Think about being in Saul’s situation. Men, your in the fight of your life, your son is beside you, the enemy is overwhelming, and you begin to realize, not only are you about to die, but you’ve lead your son to his own death. You will watch your son die at the hand of your enemy. Does it get any more tragic than this. And God started him on this path. Why?
Personally, I don’t think there is a definitive answer to this question, or at least one I can comprehend. But maybe, did God need a predecessor before David, so he could demonstrate the need to have a man after His own heart. Who is to say you are not one of those poor bastards that are picked to be that predecessor. Or are we some degree of this kind of preordained life? Or are you chosen to be David, who experience success through out your life, or some degree of this or that life?
The more important question is could Saul have changed his life? I believe the answer is yes, but its very unlikely. Is this why the path is narrow, that there is a stairway to heaven and a highway to hell? The question is not for the unbeliever, but the believer. It is not for the casual church goer, but for the godly man still struggling and maybe no one knows, or maybe others can see it, but you don’t know what to do about it. Or how to change your stars. Your not wired to overcome, but your heading to that battlefield and you don’t know how to avoid it? Men can and do have an epiphany and find that determination to change their stars and experience the victory. But that is the exception, and it is a supernatural kind of transformation or deliverance. For many the challenge is to great and it needs to be a deliverance that comes when a man has has the least to give.
So yes, a man can change his stars, either by intestinal fortitude or by divine intervention, or may be somewhere in between these two. More on that later. Saul would of needed divine intervention. Saul never falls on his knees and calls out to his God. I think of Job, who after holding onto his own self righteousness, confessed his weakness before God, repented in sackcloth and ashes and gave up. It was at this point that God delivered him. More on that later also.
You are a christian, a believe and you may have spiritual gifts. You have had some incredible experiences in your Christian life. You may speak in tongues, or maybe not, if that is not your thing, but you’ve felt the Spirit of the Lord on you. You’ve been in His presence and the Lord has changed you. You’ve felt the anointing of God. You may be a leader, you are faithful to your wife and a good father. You lead a men’s bible study or maybe your deacon in your church. You may be a pastor. The question I ask is, ‘Are you Saul or David?”
Look at David and Saul as two extremes, where many of our lives fall in between this spectrum. Saul was anointed by God, chosen by the Almighty. Saul had the looks, the most handsome man, taller than all others. Yet his life, his ministry was a failure and he died at the hand of his enemies. A closer look at his life is even more disturbing.
Why so disturbing, because God chosen him. Saul did not seek this position, but it was thrust upon him, by God’s hand. As I write this blog, I can not help but think why God would do this to a man. Saul did not do this to himself. He made the mistakes, but he wasn’t prepared for the job God had assigned him.
Look at Saul’s calling. God revealed to Samuel, the prophet of the land, that He would send him the first prince of all of Israel. Their first king. One He did not want to give them. Its a curse, but they asked for a king. But they did not go out and grab some individual and make him king. God brought them Saul. So God tells Samuel to look for Saul and anoint him prince. Saul is swept up in this spiritual euphoria. Saul is treated with honor by Samuel, by the way he address him and by the place of honor at dinner, which Saul was not expecting. Then God anointed him with the Holy Spirit. Saul was filled with the Spirit. Then God changed his heart. He was a new man. This sounds like a recipe for success. Who wouldn’t want to have their ministry blessed in this way. It is a phenomenal experience. The truth of the mater is Saul was destine for failure, and you could see it coming.
There is no history of any real spiritual connect with God. If fact, Saul turned to others for direction, even direction from God, he would turn to the prophet. Saul did not seek this calling. Even after the incredible experience, the anointing of the Spirit, the prophets, and God changing his heart, Saul hid in the baggage when he was called to be presented to the people. Saul did not seek the spotlight. He wasn’t ready to handle it. He didn’t have the spiritual strength, nor the leadership skills. He had good looks. He was tall, but had not been battle tested. And although God had given him some tools, it wasn’t enough. God chose a man who wasn’t ready, and he failed. God’s judgement was harsh for Saul’s mistakes and his misjudgments.
Is there any degree of this in your life. Does the picture look good? Are the spiritual blocks check? Or are you an arrogant kid with a ferocious appetite. Who has a hunger for life with a reckless abandonment, which will get you into trouble one day, but also make you the greatest king of all time. A man who loves his Father and is loved by him. Are you the kid, who the rules don’t apply, but an intense closeness to you Heavenly Father, that no weapon formed against you will be successful.
Both David and Saul walked though the valley of the shadow of death, but David did it without fear. Saul died in his, with his son beside him. Is there any degree of Saul in you and if so, what do you do about it.
The call of Saul to be king is disturbing, because God picked him. But why? When closely examined, serves as a warning regarding church leaders, teachers and anyone that would influence me or the church. From the very beginning he wasn’t ready for the responsibility. What I mean by disturbing is God chosen him, ordained him and seemingly equipped him, but in the end Saul fell apart. God is chosing the first king to lead His chosen people. This man will have absolute authority over all of Israel. Why in the world did He chose Saul, a man with no history of devotion to God, or evidence of great faith. Saul had a reliance on seers and medium, which later would unmask his deep insecurity.
Saul did not seek this position, nor was he keen on accepting it. Saul and his servant are looking for some lost donkeys, that Saul’s father told them to go find. When Saul was unsuccessful and ready to quit looking for the donkeys, his servant suggested they seek the guidance of “a man of God” also known as a seer. This man was Samuel. The day before, God had revealed to Samuel that He would send Saul to him and he was to anoint Saul ruler over his people. This young man is away from his family, probably frustrated or disappointed that he had failed his father and bam, God is anointing him king. Saul didn’t get a burning bush, or Jesus appearing to him on the road. God did not appear to him as a flame, or as an Arch Angel, such as Michael or Gabriel. There is no indication that Saul had a deep relationship with God or he called on God to meet tough situations. Remember it was his servant that suggested the seek the man of God, not Saul. In contrast, David relied on God to deliver the lion into his hands and to slay the giant, even at a young age. Saul had none of this history, or experience or faith. Yet, God still called him to be king!
When the day came to publicly anoint Saul king, Samuel gathered everyone together, all the tribes, including the tribe of Benjamin, who was chosen by lot, then Saul’s family and finally Saul. So Saul had the support of those that loved him. He wasn’t alone. But when Samuel looked for Saul, he could not find him. Saul was hiding amongst the baggage, and the Lord had to reveal his location. Saul was going to anointed king reluctantly. Maybe this is more of his insecurities that would later be rear its ugly head when he attached David, because he was jealous of him and fearful of him. Even after he showed his loyalty. I am not sure if Saul hid because he didn’t want to be king or he was fearful. Either way, it is clear he wasn’t ready. Again compared to David, who took on Goliath, knowing God would deliver him into his hands. David show his metal and his faith over and over.
Ok, once God got Saul in front of all Israel and anointed him king, God began to equip him. Saul had some incredible experiences. His heart was changed by God, then God surrounded him prophets where he was filled with Spirit and started to prophesy. This was a new experience for Saul. the testimony of those that knew him, would lead me to believe Saul had never experienced anything like this before. Many of you have had these experiences, but know you are still not ready for what ever ministry you want to under take or the church is recruiting you.
God’s hand is all over this appointment, and He dragged Saul into it, reluctantly. God had taken a man with whom He did not have a close relationship, anointed him with His Spirit and changed his heart to make him king. History would show that Saul wasn’t a good choice and it ruined his life and the life of his son. Saul would reign for 42 years and he would have little peace during that time.
So what’s my point here? Did God make a mistake? Was God running some kind of social experiment? I don’t know what God’s thought is here. I don’t know why He picked a man who was destined to fail, but it does serve as a warning to me, especially about church leaders. Saul was chosen by God, anointed, his heart was changed, and filled with the Spirit of God. Yet, he was still the wrong man for the job. Think about it. You have a man, that you witnessed his calling, saw the Spirit of God fall on him, he prophesied. This man was reluctant to accept his calling and even when he hid, God pulled him out of hiding, and made him your pastor? I would. Why wouldn’t I. Saul was king for 42 years. How long has your pastor been your pastor? Is he the right man to lead your church? I don’t know. On the other hand, if God called him, it’s not your job to remove him. David made that clear, when he had Saul’s life in his hand more than once. And when those that had relished or took advantage of Saul’s death, were brought to David’s attention. He had them put to death. David had been anointed king. It was his, but he would not assume the position, not because of some insecurities, but because he would honor God’s chosen until God removed him.
One conclusion for me, is God allows his people to be misguided and mislead, God will give them just what they asked, but to their detriment. It will have all the trapping of a blessing and only to be a curse. So what the answer? How do you know when you have a David or a Saul? Can you be a Saul, even know you want to be a David? These are all good questions, that I don’t have a clue to the answer, but it would be a good discussion.
Lets get to it. Today I had a conversation that inspired this blog. During the conversation I talked a lot. It was painfully obvious I needed to get something out. To the young ladies that endured our conversation, thank you.
I love the Old Testament, more than the new. I rely on it more to understand who God is than I do the New Testament. Why? Well, I have thousands of years of history, verse some 70 years. I do view the Bible as a history book, God’s history book of the world. How He created it. How man devolved, and His interaction with man. Because I look at it as God’s history book, I don’t look at the men of the Bible, godly or not, as His mouthpiece, but rather God’s recording of lives of these men. An example are letters of Paul. Just because Paul wrote it, doesn’t mean God said it or He agrees with it. Paul is a man just like me, with his own set of flaws and struggles, that would inevitably come out in his writings. I believe his legalist nature before his conversion was a continue struggle for him, that isolated him later in his life. More on that later. My point is, I get a much better sense of who God is through the Old Testament, much more so than the New Testament. Please don’t think I don’t value the New Testament. I do! There is much to be learned in both, The bottom line is they both combine to make a history of earth.
One of the things I’ve learned from the Old Testament, is how God interact with His people. What specifically did I learn? God does not interact with people for the most part, but with the individual. People get in the way of that relationship, and by that, I mean the church. The church is a two edge sword. It can encourage believers in Christ and be a place where the Spirit draws men together, but it can also stump the spiritual growth of a man. In fact, I think that’s a given.
You can start at the beginning. God did not create 100 men, but one individual. One man, and with that man He walked in the garden, and gave him the best of life. He created him in His image, for fellowship. He wanted to know Adam and watch him grow as a man. Though out the Old Testament, God isolates a man. He deals with him one on one. Abraham was told to leave everyone one. God listed family and relatives!
“Now the L ORD said to Abram, “Go forth from your country, And from your relatives And from your father’s house, To the land which I will show you;” Genesis 12:1
This is also a good example of a godly man not follow God’s direction, even while he follows it. God told Abram to leave his relatives as well as his father’s house. God said, “And from your relatives…” before He said his father’s house. First thing Abram did was take Lot, his nephew, with him. But God stuck with Abram and blessed him, even though he could not follow the simplest of instructions. Many men in scripture died for a lot less.
Back to God deals with individuals, not people. The list of God’s interaction with men as individuals is long. Moses, David, Isaac. As you read the Bible, you see people were by themselves when they encountered God. When He called them it wasn’t in the mist of the congregation. It was out in the wilderness. God also speaks to His people through individuals, not as groups
My own encounters echo this theme. I continually struggle and I am deeply flawed, but my biggest victories in Christ have come when I am all alone and no where to turn or no one to turn to. Often, I am not even in a good spiritual place or full of the spirit.
Now I have felt God’s spirit often in church, during service or Sunday school. I have felt Him at retreats. It is a great sense of worship, but that’s not what I am discussing. I am describing those moments when God moved in my life, changing my circumstances or delivered me. Now. When God’s given me instruction or lead me, or healed or made a physical change in my life, I was alone.
I referenced a conversation that inspired this blog. During it one of the ladies talked about getting those that she ministering to the next level. She commented that it turned on how well a job she had done on presenting who God is. And I feel for her there is more to it, but this was her first response. My thought was the only way these ladies get to another level in their relationship with the Lord is for her to get out of the way. These ladies are His. He is responsible for them and He wants to draw them to Him. Her challenge is they seek Him instead of her. Instead of making that phone call, they call out for His name, get quiet before Him. Does this happen in a night, a day, week or is it years. Think of the stories in the Bible and how long some men had to wait before they heard from the Lord or God called them back, i.e. Moses. In other words, the veil has been torn from top to bottom and we are called to enter into His presence, to commune with Him as our Daddy. Abba Father. Its time for us to walk with our Father in the Garden. It is quantity, not quality that is the emphasis. Quality is important, but as any parent knows quality comes out of quantity.