Tag Archives: obedience

God searches for you

At the turn of the 11th century B.C., in 1 Samuel 10, the prophet Samuel anointed Saul as the first king of Israel. Before leaving, Samuel instructed Saul to wait seven days at Gilgal. At that time, Samuel said he would come and offer burnt offerings to the Lord.

Waiting at Gilgal, Saul looked at the Philistine army which had amassed 30,000 chariots and 6,000 horsemen against the Israelites. He saw his army of only 3,000 begin to dwindle as his men began hiding “themselves in caves, in thickets, in cliffs, in cellars, and in pits.” (1 Samuel 13.6 NASB) When Samuel did not arrive on the seventh day, Saul grew impatient, perhaps fearful, and decided to take matters into his own hands by offering a burnt offering to the Lord. Saul was a king, not a priest.

Immediately after Saul presented the burnt offering to the Lord, Samuel arrived …

Samuel said to Saul, “You have done foolishly. You have not kept the commandment of the Lord your God, which He commanded you; for now the Lord would have established your kingdom over Israel forever. 14 But now your kingdom shall not continue. The Lord has sought for Himself a man after His own heart, and the Lord has appointed him to be ruler over His people, because you have not kept that which the Lord commanded you.” (1 Samuel 13.13-14)

Saul had, of course, disobeyed God. He had sinned before God. Samuel, in effect, was saying to Saul, “If you had obeyed God, if you had obeyed the command that He had given you, then the Lord would have established, confirmed your kingdom on Israel forever. But now, your kingdom will come to an end.”

The next sentence spoken by Samuel gives great insight into the mind and heart of God. He said, “The Lord has sought for Himself a man after His own heart.”

That search continues.

For the eyes of the Lord move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His. (2 Chronicles 16.9)

In the push and pull of everyday life, there is a God who desires for Himself someone who seeks Him. But know that the search after God’s heart is demonstrated by the obedience of the searcher, the submission to His will.

Know that He is searching for you.

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Responding to God’s call

Overlooking the Mediterranean Sea at the port city of Jaffa, Israel, and just down the street from the House of Simon the Tanner (Acts 10.32), there stands a rather modest sculpture of a whale … a tribute to Jonah.

The word of the LORD came to Jonah the son of Amittai saying, “Arise, go to Nineveh the great city and cry against it, for their wickedness has come up before Me.” But Jonah rose up to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the LORD. So he went down to Joppa, found a ship which was going to Tarshish, paid the fare and went down into it to go with them to Tarshish from the presence of the LORD. (Jonah 1.1-3, emphasis mine)

You know what happened next in Jonah’s brief trip of rebellion.

The biblical story of Jonah has stirred the imagination and hearts of people of all ages for thousands of years. Yet, near the possible location where Jonah boarded the ship to Tarshish, the enduring symbol for Jonah is that of the whale, the symbol of judgement, repentance and resurrection.

When God speaks, you must obey. To disobey is to be a Jonah: to seek your own direction, to do it your way. Disobedience is simply an attempt to escape His presence.

In what is often referred to as “The Roll Call of Faith,” Hebrews 11, there are listed many of the great biblical names of people who lived lives of faith, such as Noah, Moses, David and Samuel. One name noticeably missing, however, is Jonah. The Lord spoke to Jonah and gave him undeniably direct instructions to go and call Nineveh to repentance, yet Jonah purposely did the very opposite of what God had called him to do. It was an act of self will, the opposite of faith.

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