I Samuel 10: APPROVED
It has always been the custom when a new president was elected in our country, the president who was leaving office would have the newly elected president and spouse come to the White House for a tour and insider’s view. It has been the “ hallmark” trait of the peaceful passing of one administration to the next ,as the outgoing president, who was sometimes a defeated president, graciously made the newly elected president feel at home in his new place of dwelling. Samuel is doing this for Saul.
So it is was we see the end of Samuel’s rule and the anointing of Saul as the new ruler- a king of the people’s choosing, not God’s. Samuel is a gracious as can be, humble and unselfish as he passes the torch to the man taking his place. Samuel was asked to resign by a new generation who thought he was too old, and wanted him to replace himself with a king like the pagan nations. We see no bitterness in Samuel as the Lord has told him to “heed the words of the people.”
God through Samuel provides Saul with assurances God is equipping Saul for the task. It is in this giving of these three assurances to Saul, I want us to see God does the same for all of us who are His children. Saul wants the approval of the people of Israel. We all long for approval. And the most important approval of all is to be approved by God.
God wants us to have confidence as we live out our lives and go forth to carry out the Great Commission. He has given each of us talents, gifts and promises. The enemy of your soul does not want you to know what all you possess, and he will do everything in his power to intimidate you and cause you to shrink back from performing the tasks God has for you to do. We must remember God has not given us a spirit of fear but of love, power and a sound mind. (2 Timothy 1)
SAUL’S THREE SIGNS OF ASSURANCE
First Sign: Saul would find two men at the tomb of Rachel who will confirm the lost donkeys have been found, and now his father is worried about Saul’s safety.
Second Sign: Saul is to go forward to the Tree of Tabor where three men of God are on their way to Bethel( House of God) carrying three young goats ( goats were a sin offering), three loaves of bread, and a skin of wine. Samuel tells him they will give him two loaves of bread.
Third Sign: Saul will come to the hill of God where the Philistine garrison is. Here he will meet a group of prophets come down from the high place with musical instruments and prophesying. (Understand prophesying can be expository preaching or praising, not necessarily prophecy which is the foretelling of the future.) We believe this group has come from worshipping the Lord and this outburst of praise and preaching was a result of their time of worship. Samuel tells Saul: “Then the Spirit of the Lord will come upon you and you will prophesy with them and be turned into another man.” This does not mean Samuel was indwelt with the Spirit, only that the Spirit was upon him. The Spirit in the Old Testament could depart a person after coming upon them. In the New Covenant enacted by the Lord Jesus, the Spirit comes to indwell us and will never depart from us. David understood this was how the Spirit of the Lord functioned in his time. And David also knew the Spirit of the Lord which came upon King Saul also departed King Saul. In Psalm 51, David’s Psalm of repentance for his horrific sins with Bathsheba and the murder of her husband, David prayed: “do not cast me away from Your Presence, and DO NOT TAKE AWAY YOUR SPIRIT.”
Now you may be thinking as I did- O God that you would give me such specific signs of assurance as you did Saul. Yet God has given us the same assurances and even greater ones.
God cared about the success of Saul to protect His children, the nation of Israel from their enemies. You must know God cares for you as deeply and that we also are His children, those who have been born again and received the Holy Spirit who will never leave us or depart from us. We can grieve the Spirit and quench the Spirit, but He will never leave us.
Saul has not been born again, he has a become another man, which means he is becoming something he was not before- a king. Just as when a man first becomes a father, he is another man- a father, with a different role in life he did not have before.
THE MEANING OF THE THREE SIGNS
Signs direct us when we travel and God provides signs for us as we travel in our spiritual journey. These signs for both Saul and ourselves are to assure us God is equipping us for the task to which He has called us to perform.
FIRST SIGN: The location is important for Rachel’s tomb is a reminder she gave her life, she died giving birth to Benjamin, of whom Saul is a descendant. His very life comes from death. Hannah’s prayer in I Samuel 2 reminds us of this truth: “The Lord brings death and makes alive; He brings down to the grave and raises up.” Also Rachel’s tomb is located where the future town of Bethlehem would be and where the King of Kings would be born in the town where Rachel, the beloved bride of Jacob/Israel was buried. The men there confirm the lost donkeys are found and Saul’ s father is concerned about his safety and whereabouts.
*First Sign tells us: God can solve your problems. He is in fact working on whatever problem you have now as Jesus told us: “My Father is always working.” (John 5: 17)
SECOND SIGN: These men are on their way to house of God and have three loaves of bread and give two of them to Saul. Remember when Saul’s servant suggested they go up to see the prophet, Samuel, Saul said, ‘we have nothing to give him, we have no food.’ God provided manna for the nation of Israel for 40 years. Jesus said, I am the true bread of life who comes down from heaven. Man does not live by bread alone, but every Word which proceeds from the mouth of God.
*Second sign tells us God shall provide all our needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.
THIRD SIGN: Saul will encounter a group of prophets coming down from a worship service and they are prophesying and the Spirit comes upon Saul and he prophesies also.
*Third sign tells us: God will empower us with His Spirit who indwells us and equips us to serve the Lord and do His will. “For it is God who works in you both to will and desire His good pleasure. “
Now it is also important we take note of the instructions Samuel tells Saul in verse 8: “You shall go down before me to Gilgal and surely I will come down to you to offer burnt offerings and make sacrifices of peace offerings. Seven days you shall wait till I come to you and show you what to do.” (We will see what happens when Saul decides to not wait on Samuel, thus not wait on the Lord.)
“Being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it out to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. “ (Phil 1: 6) This is an assurance to a born-again believer indwelt by the Holy Spirit.
God gave Saul these three signs as signs of assurance that God had indeed chosen him to be king over Israel. And God would be faithful to equip Saul for the task. God changed Saul’s heart, that is his attitude about the role God had given him to perform.
If we are to be successful in what the Lord has called us to do- we need assurance the Lord will be with us to enable us to carry it out, just as Saul needed assurance.
Joshua had to feel overwhelmed that he was to take over for Moses. Moses was such a great man of God who had been used in such a mighty way. Joshua was told by God: “No one will be able to stand up against you all the days of your life.” What God did for Joshua and Moses, He can do for us. He said I will be with you as I was with Moses. Guess what? We have it even better than Joshua. We have God with us- Immanuel, indwelling us in all his fullness. We have God’s complete word and revelation. We have a perfect High Priest who intercedes for us. We have an advocate with the Father, Jesus the Righteous One. We have a New Completed Covenant and can enter the very throne room of heaven with boldness. We have been adopted and blessed with every spiritual blessing in heaven. We are forgiven, accepted, redeemed and have the riches of His grace abounding toward us. John proclaimed: “oh what manner of love is this the Father has lavished on us.” He, God, has made known to us the mystery of His will according to His good pleasure. We have obtained an inheritance and in fact are joint heirs with Jesus.
We have available to us: spiritual wisdom. Listen to Paul’s prayer for us and pray this prayer for yourself and your loved ones: “ …that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, MAY give you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you MAY know what is the hope of his calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power, which He worked in Christ when He raised Him up from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in heavenly places far above all principality and power and dominion and every name that is named, not only in this age, but also in that which is to come. And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all thigs to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.” (Ephesians 1)
May is a verb which expresses both possibility and permission. God is saying to us the possibility of living this way is real and He wants to assure us as He did Joshua we can do what He has called us to do, what He has gifted and equipped us to do. No one can stand against us. We have weapons which are divine, which are powerful and spiritual to pull down strongholds.
May represents the permission God has given us- to have all these things possible in our lives if we will trust and obey. God told Joshua and is telling us- “The Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate upon it day and night, that you MAY observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make you way prosperous and you will have good success. MAY I GOD – DO ALL THESE THINGS? .GOD IS SAYING TO YOU- YOU MAY, IF YOU: MEDITATE UPON THE WORD OF GOD DAY AND NIGHT AND DO ALL THAT IS WRITTEN IN IT.
So remember when the enemy intimidates you tries to scare you to death, God has not given you a spirit of fear but of love, power and a sound mind.
Remember you can be confident that He Who began a good work will complete it.
Remember Jesus told you, His Father is always working. He is working in your life and His purpose is to work all things together for good for those who love Him and are called according to the purpose to be conformed to the image of His Son.
Remember Jesus said: “I in them and you in me. MAY they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that You sent Me and have loved them (that’s you and me) even as you have loved me.” John 17: 23. “I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.” (John 14: 12)
“His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness. Through these He has given us His very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.” (2 Peter 1)
Paul gives us our spiritual inheritance and what riches and power and hope we have in what Jesus’ finished work at Calvary has provided us. The first three chapters of Ephesians tell us about all of this inheritance. It is like reading a will of what we have inherited and is ours and is available to us.
Then the last three chapters of Ephesians tells us how we are to walk, that is live out, what we have inherited and is ours, for as Paul tells us: “…we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works He has ordained for us to walk in.’ Are you aware of what you have inherited? Are you living like a spiritual pauper? If so why?
STAND YOUR GROUND
Paul sums it up in Ephesians 6: 10 and following: “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take you stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world, against the spiritual forces of evil in heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then with belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all saints. “
God has provided the perfect equipment needed for all our needs. First things – first: the belt of truth. It is the Word of God which is truth. From the very beginning the enemy has attached the Word of God for he knows how powerful it is. He probes to see how well we know the word and in doing so he is looking for a ‘chink in our armor.’ The truth is what sets us free. Jesus is the called the Word of God and He also said I am the way, the truth and the life. IT IS NOW OBVIOUS, THE MOST IMPORTANT SUBJECT IN THE WORLD IS TRUTH? WHAT IS TRUTH?
The breastplate of righteousness is attached to the belt of truth. When we come to know the truth and believe it by faith we are given Christ’s righteousness. WE also see the Sword of the Spirit is the Word of God with which we combat and parry the enemy’s lies with the truth and promises of Scripture.
What a shame to have inherited all this wealth and live like paupers. What a shame to be deceived and waste all our energies fighting the wrong enemy of flesh and blood. The enemy knows the word of God and knows you and I have the weapons which are mighty to the pulling down of strongholds he builds in our minds and thus influences our lives.
Think about it- He is called the deceiver the father of lies. A thief and a murderer who comes to steal, kill and destroy. While Jesus comes that we might have life and have it more abundantly. It is a shame the enemy knows more about what is true of our position in Christ than many of us do.
Jesus said you must be perfect as your Father in heaven is perfect. We must be holy as He is holy. We must pursue holiness. The only way to be perfect and holy as the Father is to be clothed through faith in the perfect, righteous holiness of Christ. This is both Old Testament truth and New Testament truth.
Isaiah 61: 10: “… For He has clothed me with the garments of salvation. He covered me with the robe of righteousness.” We have taken off the old and put on the new- we have put on Christ. (Colossians 3) “Without holiness no one will see the Lord.”(Hebrews 12:14)
The enemy’s scheme is clear: to keep us as Christians from living our full potential. He knows he cannot destroy us, so his strategy is to discourage us, to conform us and to get us to compromise what the word of God says.
He would have us offer the gospel with a spoonful of sugary new age compromise and softening of the truth of God’s word. Now as Mary Poppins sang a spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down in delightful ways. But we are not called to be sugar, we are called to be salt.
Salt can sting but that is its healing power, it also preserves and flavors. In fact, recent studies show sugar is not good for you.
What a shame for the enemy to know more about what is true about you, than you a child of God should know.
“Study to show yourselves approved unto God a workman who needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of God.” We should always love the approval of God over the approval of man.
Approved- officially accepted. I am accepted in the beloved. Approved. Affirmed. Indwelt and empowered. I can do all things in Christ who is my strength.
I am now free. There is therefore now no condemnation to those of us who are in Christ Jesus. Without the Word of God we cannot know the true nature of God and the beauty of holiness.