Understanding God Sermon Series Part 2
1 Samuel 10:1-11
One of the questions everyone asks, both believers and unbelievers, is how do I know that it is God? How do I know that it is God who is leading me in a specific direction? How do I know that it is God who opened a specific door leading to a future opportunity? How do I know that it is God who answered my prayer? How do I know?
The answer is actually simpler than most people would like to believe or even realize. We will know that it is God by looking for confirmation. Throughout Scripture, whenever God called a person to do something and whatever God planned to do in the life of a person God always provided confirmation. Therefore, whatever God calls us to do and whatever God plans to do for us, we can be sure that God will also provide us with tangible signs that it is indeed from God, or of God, or God.
As we turn again to the life of Saul we are provided with real life examples of how God confirms to us that it is God. I think it might be helpful to pickup from where we left off in our last message. In chapter 9, we learned that God has an assignment for all believers and our assignment is to partner with God in reclaiming the lost. That is, God wants to use believers who have a relationship with Him to bring those individuals who are not in fellowship with God into the fold. To accomplish this God has assigned to each believer a specific role to fill in the life of those we come in contact with along the journey of life. God has also assigned men and women strategically along the path believer’s travel to fill specific roles in the life of the believer. Ultimately, if we stay the course we will discover that God has much more in store for us than anything we could have thought or imagined.
Judging from the expression on your face I can see that you are struggling to comprehend and accept this fact. No to worry, Saul had some difficulty accepting this reality as well. I believe this is one of the reasons that God recognizes we need confirmation. We need to be sure that what is taking place or what has been promised to us is in fact of God or from God. One of the challenges that believer’s must overcome is the “I’m not worthy syndrome.” We live in a society that conditions people to believe that good things come to those who work hard, live right, and create an atmosphere for good to come into their lives. However, we must also understand that God operates by an entirely different set of principles than society uses. God does not necessarily look at what we are or what we have done. God looks at what we can be and how He can best use us to glorify Him so that He can bless us to be a blessing to others. God is always kingdom centered and other focused. Everything that God does in the life of believer’s is not necessarily to benefit them, but for the good of the entire Body of Christ. That is the fundamental difference. When we say, I am not worthy we are looking at ourselves. When God acts on our behalf, God is saying it has nothing to do with your personal worth I am doing this to benefit everyone including you. When everyone benefits we all benefit.
And so, God provides Saul with four signs that confirm to Saul it is indeed God.
In the opening of the chapter Samuel takes a flask of oil and pours it on Saul’s head. Then Samuel declares the LORD has anointed you. Here we have the first sign, the anointing. The anointing is God’s way of signaling to us that God has personally chosen us and that we have been selected by God’s own hand for a special purpose. The anointing confirms God’s blessing, protection, and empowerment. As we examine the anointing of Saul we can see that it occurred in private. It also occurred before all of the other signs. The anointing of Saul lets us know that some signs are personal they are just between God and us. It informs us that when God has a special task for us, God will communicate it to us personally. When God anoints us God is declaring to us that God personally has selected us and has set us aside to be used by God for God’s special purpose. The anointing is God confirming His selection of us.
To take this one step further, before God speaks to others, God will speak to us first. Be careful when people try to anoint you the leader of something or rush to appoint you the head. Wait until you have personally heard from God. God does not make mistakes and God will not come back later and say, well this is not working out so we have to let you go. While others may think you are perfect for the job, God has the final say. We must wait for God to select us and for God to give us His approval and God will do this personally. There will be no doubt that it is indeed God.
After God confirmed His selection of Saul, God confirms His omniscience to Saul. Saul encounters two men who reveal to him that the donkeys he was looking for have been found. It is interesting that the path Saul was on when he received this confirmation was out of the way. The path took him near Rachel’s tomb, which was not a direct path, but it was a round about path. While it was still leading him where he needed to go it lengthened his journey. Sometimes God has to redirect us so that God can get a word through to us. When we find that our journey has been altered we need to pay attention because God may be trying to communicate something to us. The men that met Saul shared with him information that only Saul, Samuel, and the servant knew. Here we see that God uses people to reveal things to us that perhaps only God and us are privy to. God does this to confirm to us that God is fully aware of our situation, what we are facing and going through, and that God is handling it. In addition to revealing to us that God is intimately acquainted with our situation and us. God also wants to put our minds at ease so that we can focus on the task and matter at hand. We should find comfort in the fact that when God uses people to speak to us about what we are going through it is so that God can confirm to us God’s intimate knowledge of us and our situation.
One of the wonderful things about God is that God does not only demonstrate His awareness of our situations, but also God demonstrates His desire to do something about them. As Saul continues on, he meets three men on their way to worship carrying three young goats, three loaves of bread, and a skin of wine. Here we see confirmation of God’s provisions. Let us be honest, while it is nice to know that God is aware of what is going on with us we really need God to do something for us. The truth is that God always makes provisions for His people, but we are not always willing to accept the provisions that God makes. In this case the text illustrates that God’s help often comes from unlikely sources. Saul did not know these guys, but they were sent by God to provide for the needs of Saul’s body and soul. Let us not be so quick to reject help especially if we need it. I remember when I was a little younger and just starting out in ministry, I was preaching in churches that had very limited resources. I would offer to give some of the elderly men and women a ride home. They would in turn offer me a few dollars for gas and I would refuse to accept it. Then one day a lady said to me that it is not a good idea to refuse what God is offering you, because while you may not need it now you do not know if and when you will need it. Saul did not ask for help. These men sent by God offered help. It is through the offering that God confirms to us His intent to provide for our every need.
The final sign for Saul comes in a very powerful and dramatic way. The Spirit of the LORD comes upon him and he begins to prophesy with the procession of prophets. When we examine the interplay in this scene of the narrative, we discover something very fascinating. Saul is transformed following his encounter with the Holy Spirit. So much so that he begins to prophesy. Literally, he becomes one of them. What makes this so fascinating is that Saul was the son of a wealthy farmer. Yet, after his encounter with the Holy Spirit he begins to do something he was not trained to do nor was he accustomed to doing. He begins to worship and bless God like he has never done before. God releases His Holy Spirit to confirm His presence and power in our lives. It is the work of the Holy Spirit in the lives of believers to equip and empower us for God’s work and to carryout God’s work. The presence of the Holy Spirit is so that God can release His power in us to do and accomplish things that operating in our own strength and power we cannot accomplish. The presence of the Holy Spirit is God declaring to us that we are not alone and that God is with us. The presence of the Holy Spirit is God’s stamp and seal of approval on us. It is God’s green light to go and do what God has placed before us to do and to follow the path that God has laid out for us to walk. I would submit to you that the change you and I seek in our home and family life, in our relationships with others, in our finances, in the direction our lives are going can only be realized if and when the presence and power of God is in us or in the environment around us.
As we look again, this text has taught us that:
1. God confirms His selection of us to fulfill His plans and purpose
2. God confirms His intimate knowledge of us and our needs
3. God confirms His activity in and around us
4. God confirms His presence and power in us
As we reflect on all of the signs of confirmation that God provided for Saul we can conclude that God’s confirmation is designed to produce change. The changes we seek in the natural must be preceded by spiritual change. When God changes us on the inside then everything around us will change. God does not give us His presence and His power to do nothing with it or to keep it for ourselves. Instead, God gives us His presence and His power in the person of the Holy Spirit to transform us into the likeness of Christ Jesus, so that we can become like Him in every way.
This is God’s final confirmation, that we have been changed both in heart and behavior. How will we know? In the text those who knew Saul wondered what had happened to him. My friends, that is how we will know that God is with us, there will be a visible difference in us and others will recognize the change in us before we do. Then, we will know that it is God.