We have been looking at the life of Saul to see where we can grow in 2023. Last week we talked about how Saul didn’t start off bad but somewhere along the way he lost the plot. Maybe because he never really trusted God. Or maybe because he was always insecure about whether he belonged where God had placed him. Whether he deserved to be king of Israel.
When Samuel began to speak with Saul about being the king of Israel, Saul had this to say in 1 Samuel 9:21, “Saul replied, “But I’m only from the tribe of Benjamin, the smallest tribe in Israel, and my family is the least important of all the families of that tribe! Why are you talking like this to me?””
This sounds familiar, doesn’t it? Reminds me of Gideon when God called him to fight for Israel. Judges 6:14-16 says, “Then the Lord turned to him and said, “Go with the strength you have, and rescue Israel from the Midianites. I am sending you!” “But Lord,” Gideon replied, “how can I rescue Israel? My clan is the weakest in the whole tribe of Manasseh, and I am the least in my entire family!” The Lord said to him, “I will be with you. And you will destroy the Midianites as if you were fighting against one man.”
Two men. Both feeling ill equipped and underqualified for what God is calling them to do. We, ok I don’t know about you so maybe I’ll say, I sometimes feel underqualified to do what God has called me to do. I say sometimes, but I mean a lot. Saul and Gideon show us that when we don’t put our trust in God completely, insecurity will cause us to stumble and eventually fall away from God.
1 Samuel 15:17 says, “And Samuel told him, “Although you may think little of yourself, are you not the leader of the tribes of Israel? The Lord has anointed you king of Israel…” It appears, from this verse, that what Saul was did in the following verses was driven by his insecurity. We can’t let what we think of ourselves get in the way of who God says we are. We end up stuck in cycles we can’t get out of, like our mate Saul.
1 Samuel 15:18-21 goes on to say, “And the Lord sent you on a mission and told you, ‘Go and completely destroy the sinners, the Amalekites, until they are all dead.’ Why haven’t you obeyed the Lord? Why did you rush for the plunder and do what was evil in the Lord’s sight?”
“But I did obey the Lord,” Saul insisted. “I carried out the mission he gave me. I brought back King Agag, but I destroyed everyone else. Then my troops brought in the best of the sheep, goats, cattle, and plunder to sacrifice to the Lord your God in Gilgal.”” Oh Saul. Face palm. He later on admits he messed up, but the fact is Saul disobeyed God because he was insecure. He was more concerned about what people thought about him than what God thought about him. He wanted to look out for himself and didn’t trust God to look out for him.
Unlike Saul, Gideon trusted God… for a while. God said this to Gideon in Judges 7:2, “The Lord told Gideon, “You have too many soldiers with you for me to drop Midian into their hands, because Israel would become arrogant and say, ‘It was my own abilities that delivered me.” God had a plan to use him to rescue Israel from the Midianites. Gideon was so successful that Judges 8:28 says, “Midian remained subjugated to the Israelis, and they didn’t so much as raise their heads anymore, so the land was peaceful for 40 years during the lifetime of Gideon.” But if we read a few verses before that, we see that Gideon fell into idolatry and when he died the whole nation of Israel turned away from God.
It is easy to look at these verses and look at our own insecurities and think, “Am I going to make it?” The short answer is, “It’s up to you.” Are you going to keep Jesus on the throne of your life? Are you going to trust God to look out for you and trust that when He asks you to do something, He is trying to help you? Are you going to believe God when He says, “I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you not to harm you”? We get to choose where we end up in life.
Finishing our race comes from continually deciding to put God first. Are we going to mess up? Absolutely, no doubt! But we can keep getting up and keep choosing to trust God. Keep choosing to put our faith in God no matter the circumstance.
We need to take everything, and I mean everything, to God in prayer. When we process our emotions and struggles outside of God, we tend to find answers outside of God that pull us away instead of drawing us closer to God. In 2023, let us have made up minds to keep God at the center of everything.
I will leave you with this, Proverbs 24:16, “For the lovers of God may suffer adversity and stumble seven times, but they will continue to rise over and over again. But the unrighteous are brought down by just one calamity and will never be able to rise again.” Whatever happens in 2023, keep getting up again. God is with you, and he is for you. The problem with Saul and Gideon is that once they fell, they chose to stay there and did not get up again. You can get up again. Each day you are alive is a chance to get back up again.
Love and blessings,
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