‘Hidden Hand’ Meditations No.3: What????
1 Sam 9:16 “About this time tomorrow I will send you a man from the land of Benjamin. Anoint him ruler over my people Israel; “
I did say I would get us to look at specific verses expounding the principle of Providence and then go on to consider people but after my comments yesterday, I felt I ought to take one human situation before I do that. It is in the story of Saul being sent to find his father’s lost donkeys and his meeting with the prophet Samuel so that Samuel could anoint Saul to be the first king of Israel.
The key words that raise interest in our starter verse above are, “I will send you.” This speaks of distinct purpose because we should note that the Lord doesn’t just say, “a man will arrive tomorrow,” which we would call a word of knowledge, but instead it is a word of revelatory prophecy that reveals the Lord working to bring about something specific. Now as the story rolls out, we see that Saul was both the Lord’s choice and the people’s choice to be king, and he’s chosen for a specific reason – he’s a big guy who looks good and looks like he is (outwardly at least) a great candidate to be king who can beat up other kings! This man is about to be chosen and so it is no accident that he is coming to meet Samuel.
Now that we have that out the way, we must next face the implications of what we’ve read – Saul is coming because God has brought him, specifically to meet Samuel. But then we have to face the details of how he came to be here. First, some donkeys went missing. Second, his father sent him to look for them. Third, at the point he is about to give up the search and turn home, his knowledgeable servant gives him the idea of meeting Samuel and asking him. Three definite and distinct elements to a story of how Saul gets to meet Samuel. Now this is where it gets tricky. The Lord has brought this about. How? Has He MADE all these things happen – donkey’s go missing, father to send Saul, servant to speak out? How can He do that without overruling the free will He’s given us?
Well, may I remind you of something the Bible is very clear about – God is a communicating God. God speaks to people. Most of the time, at first sight at least, the Bible shows us the Lord speaking openly with people so that they know it is Him. But what is to stop God speaking ideas into our minds, ideas that ‘fit’ our present circumstances, ideas that seem sensible to us? I would like to suggest that He does this again and again in life. So, one evening He distracts a servant with a thought, and the servant fails to properly latch the gate to the pen where the donkeys are kept. A little urging from on high and the donkeys wander off and settle in some local ravine. The rest becomes very obvious; further wisdom for the father and the servant, and behold, Saul meets Samuel, just as God wanted. Providence!