Not long ago I read through Genesis while doing the 30-Day Bible Reading Challenge developed by Revive Our Hearts. It had been a while since I spent much time reading in the Old Testament. Even though I think most of us know the stories that are contained in it, I was surprised by how many of the details had been forgotten. The stories have now taken on new life due, in part, to my experiences since their last reading. Now I’m hooked on going through more OT books to learn with fresh spiritual eyes.
Next on my list is another of my longtime favorites – 1 Samuel. Again, I am caught by how much I have forgotten (or maybe didn’t truly pay attention to). The other night I was reading in chapters 9 & 10 about Saul being chosen king. What struck me toward the end of chapter 9 was that Saul wasn’t chasing after what he thought God’s will might be for his life. He was out chasing donkeys. Yup – donkeys. Walk through this with me (to read the actual account, click here).
We meet Saul just as he finds out that some of his father’s donkeys are missing. He is then instructed to take a worker and go look for them (I’m no scholar, but this can’t be an easy task). He and his companion decide on a plan-of-action and get moving. They journeyed for 3 days, stopping in various towns, before Saul decided that they had better turn around. Apparently not one to give up, the worker points out that they are close to the city where “the man of God” lives and suggests that they should at least see if he can help.
Whoa – time out. This all seems a little too coincidental. By God’s grace, we are allowed to peek behind the curtain to see that God had indeed set Saul up. It is here that it hits me, Saul wasn’t chasing after an opportunity to run for office. He wasn’t chasing after the next ministry opportunity, promotion, completing the next WOD or fill in the blank. Saul was just doing his job. He was literally putting one foot in front of another doing what he was told to do by his earthly father. It was God who was looking ahead and preparing for Saul’s future.
At this point, I know that God is teaching me something wonderful about Himself (again) . If you are still reading, I hope you will listen as well. It’s not our job to try to figure out God’s will for our individual lives. Our job is to do the work that He has set before us. The lesson I need to learn is to stop chasing after the future – my next project, my next blog post, whether I should (or shouldn’t) ____________. The Shepherd of my soul has used Saul to remind me to be content with what He has placed directly before me and to let Him be concerned about the future.
“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
“Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”
Important side note – do not take this so far that you neglect acting upon opportunities whether it is for a promotion that you would like, to step out in full-time service or looking for creative ways to save/make money so you can stay home with your kiddos. As with everything in this life, balance is required. Christians walk a fine line between trusting in God’s sovereignty and not being lazy in how we go about our every day. For example, I know that God’s will is for each human to coming to the saving knowledge of Christ (2 Peter 3:9), but I must do my part and verbalize that truth those He has placed in my life (Romans 10:14).
The steps of a man are established by the Lord, when he delights in his way;
I hope you are encouraged to take comfort and rest in God’s sovereignty fully trusting that our entire lives – circumstances, health, choice of spouse, number of children, marital status – are under his watchful and loving eye.
I know, O Lord, that the way of man is not in himself, that it is not in man who walks to direct his steps.