Summary: Comparing the lives of Saul and Samuel we discover that the golden carrot of listening to God is the assurance of good decision making
Conversant with Christ
December 9, 2001
This past Thanksgiving I had occasion to meet a man who had won a monetary settlement of about $400,000. After he was awarded the money he made some interesting decisions. He quit work and began throwing money around as if he had inherited the Oprah Winfrey estate. As you might imagine his finances are a wreck, he and his wife have both gone to work and they are struggling just to get the two ends to be able to wave at each other, much less meet.
My mind was and is flooded with questions that I would like to ask him, but never will. But one that I know that I don¡¦t have to ask is: ¡§did you think that it would turn out like this?¡¨ Obviously not! No one makes a decision thinking it is going to be a bad one. On the frontside, decisions are like ideas; they all seem like good ones. But of course in hindsight we see with 20/20 vision, and we are able to judge our decisions through the clarifying lens of their results. In truth, the only way that we can avoid making bad decisions is if we are able to talk to someone who sees how things are going to turn out. You and I both know that short of calling Cleo, the Jamaican Psychic, we aren¡¦t going to talk to someone who knows the future. Or are we?
For the past 2 weeks we have been talking about listening, and more specifically we have been talking about listening to God. We have determined that there are some disciplines that we can be involved in that will ensure that we position ourselves to hear from God, and we discovered a process that we can engage to determine if the voice we are hearing is the voice of God.
This week we are going to see that the golden carrot of listening to God is the assurance of good decision making. And by listening, I mean being open and honest with God about what we are planning to do, and allowing Him to shed some light on the plan. So many times we think we have heard from God if we just ask him to bless our decisions. But, in truth, hearing from God is allowing him to have a say in our decisions. Jot these verses down and let the truth stand for itself¡K
ƒÞ Proverbs 16:3 ¡V Commit your works to the Lord, and your plans will be established.
ƒÞ Proverbs 19:21 ¡V Many plans are in a man¡¦s heart, but the counsel of the Lord will stand.
ƒÞ Isaiah 29:15-16 ¡V Woe to those who go to great depths to hide their plans from the Lord, who do their work in darkness and think, ¡§Who sees us? Who will know?¡¨ You turn things upside down, as if the potter were thought to be like the clay.
The truth is that only God really knows the past, present and the future. If you want to live with the assurance of good decision making, if you want to know that your decisions will be verified by the test of hindsight, then you have got to show hospitality to the influence of God. And then when you receive his agenda, you give him glory by allowing his influence to carry more weight than any other voice of influence. That is what C. S. Lewis called the weight of glory. Having heard God¡¦s plan, you give him glory by conforming your life to fit his plans. Refusing to rationalize any disease his plans may have caused you, by manipulating His plans to fit your life or lifestyle.
Today we are going to jump into the shoes of two men who lived about 3000 years ago, and we are going to see the difference that not only hearing God, but listening to God can make.
Who are these two men? Their names are Samuel and Saul. Samuel was the last of the Judges and the Saul was the first of the Kings of the nation of Israel. Ironically, God told Samuel to pass the torch of leadership on to Saul and anoint him as king.
So we have two men with essentially the same high calling. Samuel who was appointed by God to be the leader of Israel, and Saul who was anointed by God to be the leader of Israel. Both men started in the same positions with the same potential and having been equipped by the same call, but ultimately they ended in very different places leaving behind very different legacies. Why, because one listened and responded giving glory to God and the other listened only because he was seeking glory for himself.
Let¡¦s look at the similarity of their starts.