Baggage

Recently I was listening to a teaching that referenced 1 Samuel 10:22. The teaching was more focused on David and Goliath, but the concept mentioned kept coming back to me. Previously, the scriptures tell us that the people of Israel had rejected God as their King and were requesting an earthly one. The people took their request to an important man named Samuel. He was prayed for earnestly by his mother, Hannah, and grew up in the Lord’s house. Also, the Lord audibly called Samuel by name when he was just a boy. Samuel answered the Lord by saying, “Speak, for you servant is listening.” (1 Samuel 3:10).  I pray we hear and do the same when he calls our name.

IMG_8385.jpgThe Bible says, “Samuel grew and the Lord was with him, and he fulfilled everything Samuel prophesied. All Israel from Dan to Beer-sheba knew that Samuel was a confirmed prophet of the Lord.” (1 Samuel 3:19-20). A prophet is described in Deuteronomy 18:18 as one who God says, “I will put my words in his mouth, and he will tell them everything I command him.”  So, God had given Samuel words to speak to the people of Israel, but they did not always listen. “No!, they said, We must have a king over us. Then we will be like all the other nations; our king will judge us, go out before us, and fight our battles. Samuel listened to all the people’s words and then repeated them to the Lord. “Listen to them,” the Lord told Samuel. “Appoint a king for them.” (1 Samuel 8:19-22). This sounds so much like us. We desire to be like others and have the world direct us as “king” instead of letting God be the King who judges us, goes before us and fights our battles. The Bible is so relevant even thousands of years later.

But back to our story. Samuel was told by God who the king would be and his name was Saul. He was described as, “an impressive young man. There was no one more impressive among the Israelites than he. He stood a head taller than anyone else.” (1 Samuel 9:2). Wow! Sounds like Saul really stood out! Samuel and Saul met up because Saul’s father had him go look for a lost donkey. Saul and a servant went on the search and the servant shares the most fascinating information. “Look, the servant said, there’s a man of God in this city who is highly respected; everything he says is sure to come true. Let’s go there now. Maybe he will tell us which way we should go.” (1 Samuel 9:6). Indeed, Samuel would tell Saul more than which way to go to look for the donkey, but the direction the Lord would have his life go.

I have to insert this part. “Come on, let us go.” “So they went to the city where the man of God was. As they were climbing the hill to the city, they found some young women coming out to draw water and asked, “Is the seer here?”  (the prophet of the day was formerly called a seer – vs. 9). The women answered, ‘Yes, he is ahead of you.” (1 Samuel 9:9-12). I just had to put this piece of the story in to ask a question of us. Are there people on our path of life who point us to where we can hear from God? Having people pointing us to him is so important. Also, be that person in others lives.

Now, “Saul and his servant were entering the city when they saw Samuel coming toward them on his was to the high place. Now the day before Saul’s arrival, the Lord had informed Samuel, “At this time tomorrow I will send you a man from the land of Benjamin. Anoint him ruler over my people Israel. He will save them from the Philistines because I have seen the affliction of my people, for their cry has come to me.” (1 Samuel 9:14-16). Samuel invited Saul to eat with him and gave him a place to stay for the night. I love this next part. “When I send you off in the morning, I’ll tell you everything that’s in your heart. As for the donkeys that wandered away from you three days ago, don’t worry about them because they have been found. And who does all of Israel desire but you and all your father’s family?” (1 Samuel 9:19-20). What Saul had been asked to find has been found and so much more.

Saul immediately rattles off how insignificant his family is and wonders why the prophet would say such things. Samuel invites him to dinner and they talk a bit on the rooftop, but it is what happens the next day that set Saul’s future in motion. The future that God had planned for him before time began. He has yours planned too, you know.  As for Saul, the next day Samuel anointed Saul’s head with oil and said, “Hasn’t the Lord anointed you ruler over his inheritance?” (1 Samuel 10:1). Saul leaves Samuel with some instructions for his journey home. He also says, “The Spirit of the Lord will come powerfully on you, you will prophesy with them, you will be transformed.” (1 Samuel 10:6). Samuel sends him off and “When Saul turned to leave Samuel, God changed his heart…” (1 Samuel 10:9). “Then the Spirt of the Lord came powerfully on him…”. (1 Samuel 10:10). Not only was Saul the most impressive man among the Israelites, stood a head taller than anyone, he is now anointed, had his heart changed and the Spirit of the living God is on him! Amazing!

Then the most interesting thing happens that does not make any sense to me after reading how Saul truly seemed to have it all. Samuel gathers the people and says, “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘I brought Israel out of Egypt, and I rescued you from the power of the Egyptians and all the kingdoms oppressing you. But today you have rejected your God, who saves you from all your troubles and afflictions. You said to him, ‘You must set a king over us’, Now therefore present yourselves before the Lord by your tribes and clans.” (1 Samuel 10:17-19). The tribes and clans present themselves, but Saul cannot be found. “So they inquired again of the Lord, ‘Is there a man still to come?’ and the Lord said, ‘Behold, he has hidden himself among the baggage.’ Then they ran and took him from there. And when he stood among the people, he was taller than any of the people from his shoulder upwards.” (1 Samuel 10:22-23).

This tall, anointed, spirit-filled man is hiding in the baggage. Again, are we any different all these years later? I am the opposite of tall, but I have been anointed (2 Corinthians 1:21, 1 John 2:20) and the Holy Spirit lives inside of me (Acts 19:2, 2 Timothy 1:14, 1 Thessalonians 4:8). On top of that, I know where I will spend eternity. However, with all of this going for me I still tend to hide in my baggage. I hide in my fear, pride, uncertainty, lack of hope at times, anger -sin actually. Why? When our identity has been made clear, why do we not take our rightly place as a child of God? “For all those led by God’s Spirit are God’s sons. You did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear. Instead, you received the Spirt of adoption, by whom we cry out ‘Abba, Father’! The Spirit himself testifies together with our spirit that we are Gods’ children, and if children, also heirs – heirs of God and coheirs of Christ – if indeed we suffer with him so that we may also be glorified with him.” (Romans 8:14-17).

What more could we want? I think it is time for each of us to come out from hiding in our baggage and step into all that God has for us. You with me?

 

One thought on “Baggage

  1. Never, in all the times I’ve read or listened to that story, have I connected baggage with BAGGAGE! How enlightening! How often do we hear or even talk about baggage referring to emotional issues or sin. Even more enlightening is the question I must ask myself & the Lord. Rather than You, what am I hiding behind? I kinda want to shout Praise God, & thank you Natalie!

    Like

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