One of the hardest things about being a Christian is learning to honor God’s leadership. I think that at the heart of most people there is a need to be in control. The most obvious place where we exert control is within ourselves. We like to be in control of our schedules, our habits, our desires, and our direction. This need to be in control shapes a mindset of independence that makes us believe we can accomplish what we want if we just work hard enough. The idea leads us to believe that trying hard or working hard will yield the results that we desire.
Look at our culture and you will find this to be true. Hard work leads to a better job, a bigger pay check, more security, or a happier family. If I invest the time, I can reap the benefits. And there is truth in this. Hard work is supposed to “pay off” in the end. The danger lies in thinking that if we take matters into our own hands, we accomplish the things we desire.
In a spiritual sense, this thought process can lead us to a place of rebellion. A place where we think that salvation, obedience, or surrender is about taking matters into our own hands and pushing forward through any obstacle. It allows us to set our own focus or create our own results. This in turn shapes us to believe that we set the course for our lives and that we can determine our own direction. It leads to a place where our own desires, or the way we think about what needs to happen, even in terms of what needs to happen for God, the church, and Christianity as a whole, is shaped by me. I become the focus of what is right and wrong. I set the stage for how to proceed through life. I determine the goals and the timing. And that is the wrong focus.
Honoring God’s leadership is about setting aside the self in order to focus on what God is doing. It means making hard choices that favor what God calls us to be rather than what we see we can accomplish on our own.
In 1 Samuel 24 we see David on the run from Saul. Saul has dedicated himself to the task of killing David. Saul’s dedication has made life hard for David. No longer does he live in the palace, his home has become a series of caves and camps as he flees the wrath of the king. No longer does David eat at the king’s table. He is forced to forage for food and water, seeking what he can find to feed himself and those who travel with him. David no longer has the stability he once enjoyed. He has become nomadic, always on the move, always watching over his shoulder, always knowing that Saul is looking for an opportunity to kill him. Yet, while David has a lot of uncertainty in his life, he lives with the full assurance that God is in control. David knows that he will be king someday. Samuel has poured the anointing oil on David and proclaimed God’s will for his life. (1 Samuel 16) So David waits for God’s movement. He watches for God’s hand. He surrenders the comforts of life and the stability of the palace in order to honor God’s leadership.
One day, Saul is alone in a cave. David sneaks up and cuts off a corner of the robe Saul is wearing. Saul does not notice. David could have used the knife to end Saul’s life. What stopped him? Knowing that Saul was also the anointed king of Israel. David honored the leadership of God. He knew the promises God had made, now he would wait for God’s movement to fulfill the promise. David would set aside his own plans, desires, and opportunities in order to allow God to lead. When David confronted Saul and showed him the piece of robe, David still sought to surrender his will into the hands of a king. He wanted to follow where God was leading, not forge his own path.
How hard is that? How many times do I push ahead with no thought about what God might want in a particular situation? How many times do I give a casual prayer, hoping God will bless my movement, rather than taking the time to search the will of God to see what God is doing? How many times do I make my own opportunities, rather than waiting for God to open the right doors?
Embedding the Bible is about learning to honor the leadership of God. At its heart, the word honor has to do with value. Do I value the leadership of God? Do I value His view over my own? Do I value the fact that He is watching over me? These are questions we must ask ourselves. As we continue to read, we continue to stand amazed at what is doing and can do. We see His faithfulness, His love, and His action in the lives of men and women. This exposure helps us to value what God is doing and who God is as we walk with Him.
As you embed the Bible this week, look for was to honor the leadership of God in your own life.
|September 25||1 Samuel 24|
|September 26||1 Samuel 25|
|September 27||1 Samuel 26|
|September 28||1 Samuel 27|
|September 29||1 Samuel 28|
|September 30||1 Samuel 29|
|October 1||1 Samuel 30|
|October 2||1 Samuel 31|