Today’s Reading: 1 Samuel 8-12
Pastor’s kids starting getting a bad reputation even as far back as Eli and Samuel. Just like Eli’s sons were wicked in the sight of the Lord, Samuel’s sons “accepted bribes and perverted justice” (1 Samuel 8:3). The people of Israel saw this and, because they had their eyes on other nations instead of on God (8:20), they asked for a king. Samuel did what all of us should do – he “went to the Lord for guidance” (8:6).
God’s people were asking for something that was outside of His plan for them. He warned them they would someday beg for relief from this king they were requesting, no – more like demanding (8:18). But God, being a merciful God, heard the cries of his people and gave them what they were asking for – a king.
We read how each year Samuel would have to discard of the comfortable coat he had finally grown into and replace it with the new “bigger coat” that his mother had brought him (2:19). We now meet a young man who is about to receive a “bigger coat” and his reaction might be similar to our reaction when God moves us into a situation that seems to us beyond what we can handle.
I guess you could say Samuel told Saul that he would receive a “bigger coat,” more like a kingly robe, and Saul’s reaction was one of humility and fear. He did what many of us have a history of doing when God tries to stretch us – he told God he had the wrong person.
“But I’m only from the tribe of Benjamin, the smallest tribe in Israel, and my family is the least important of all the families of that tribe! Why are you talking like this to me?” (1 Samuel 9:21).
But just like God promises us, He equipped Saul for what He was calling him to do. Saul was “changed into a different person.” Samuel encouraged Saul to do what must be done – the thing God was calling Saul to do – for God would be with him. God “gave him a new heart” and everything God had promised would happen, happened (10:6-9).
As I drink my morning coffee, I know what God is placing on me right now (my “bigger coat”), but what is God calling you to that seems beyond what you are capable of? Are you nervous or scared or intimidated by God’s plan? So was Saul. When they went to crown Saul king, they found him hiding among the baggage (10:22). Are you hiding? Are you using what you consider “baggage” in your life as an excuse to avoid what God is calling you to?
Friend, please know that God is with you. The first situation that came up during his reign, “the Spirit of God came powerfully upon Saul, and he became very angry” (11:7). Just one month after being placed in the position of King, Saul was finding his way and stepping into the leadership for which God was equipping him – just like He will equip you.
So let me do what Samuel did in his farewell speech to God’s people, let me remind you of all the great things the Lord has done for you and for your family (12:7). Look back and see how faithful God has been time and time again. Consider Samuel’s words of reassurance to the Israelites:
“Don’t be afraid. You have certainly done wrong, but make sure now that you worship the Lord with all your heart, and don’t turn your back on him” (1 Samuel 12:20).
God understands that you are not feeling worthy or that you are uncomfortable with what is happening around you against your choice. He knows you have not lived a perfect life or that you want things back to the way they used to be. But what God is asking for is that you worship Him with ALL your heart. Don’t hold back or turn away from what He is asking you to do but worship God by accepting His plan.
“And I will continue to teach you what is good and right. But be sure to fear the Lord and faithfully serve him. Think of all the wonderful things he has done for you” (1 Samuel 12:23b-24).