[From June 16, 2013]
"Samuel said, 'Though you are little in your own eyes, are you not the head of the tribes of Israel? The LORD anointed you king over Israel... Whey then did you not obey the voice of the LORD?'"
(1 Samuel 15:17, 19a)
We draw our strength from God. We get our sense of purpose & confidence from God. Anywhere else (including our own strength) gets us in trouble. Case in point: Israel's first king, Saul.
When the prophet Samuel came to anoint the young Saul as king, he initially protested: "I am only a Benjaminite, from the least of the tribes of Israel, and my family is the humblest of all the families of the the tribe of Benjamin. Why then have you spoken to me in this way?" (1 Samuel 9:21) But Samuel assured him that he was God's anointed!
Fast-forward 6 chapters. King Saul has been told by God (via Samuel) to attack & destroy the Amalekites (payback for how they treated the Israelites in the wilderness). He was to leave nothing & no one alive. (Now we today have issues with this apparent "genocide," but let's focus on Saul's obedience for now.) He took his army and defeated the Amalekites... but left the king alive (captive) and took the best sheep and cattle (actually, the people got them!).
When Samuel came to confront Saul, he was actually proud that he'd "carried out the command of the LORD!" "Then why do I hear the sound of sheep," Samuel asked? Saul explained that they saved the best parts for God! For sacrificing!
Now, if you'd only had that information, it would sound like good reasoning, wouldn't it? Save the best for God. For religious services. That's how it should be, right? But it's really just an excuse. God didn't ask for any sacrifices. He wanted obedience. And when Saul confessed (eventually) that he'd disobeyed God, he blamed it on the people. "I feared the people, and obeyed their voice." (I can hear them now, "It seem like such a waste to destroy perfectly good sheep & cattle. Can't we just keep them... for sacrificing, you know!?!")
What does it mean for me (and my fellow colleagues) to be God's servant(s), when given a calling/command from the LORD? Do I have the courage to find my strength in Him? Amidst any insecurities and personal uncertainties, can I draw my strength from God? Despite what people around me (including my church, my denomination, the community) are clamoring for?
Oh Lord God... may it be so.
May it be so.