Depending on God rather than Man; June 4, 2017

1 Sam 13:10 Just as he finished making the offering, Samuel arrived, and Saul went out to greet him.

Saul was eminently human, and so serves as a cautionary tale to us all. We are told that he was distinctly taller than average, (1 Samuel 9:2) and that fact alone probably made other look to him for leadership. He was all too used to depending on his own gifts and abilities, and that was what did him in. When he got into what looked to him like a really tight spot, he thought that he had to do something, so he did. The problem was, Samuel, as God’s representative, had told him to wait. It was his inability to wait that betrayed the fact that he was depending on human strength rather than on God. This is in sharp contrast to the story of Gideon, as recorded in Judges 6-8. God won a magnificent victory for Israel specifically after reducing the number of Gideon’s fighting men, but Saul was so concerned with numbers that he disobeyed what he had been told. We do the same thing all the time, making our plans strictly on the basis of what we can see with our eyes and understand with our minds, rather than seeking God and what He wants us to do. When we do that, we take ourselves out of the flow of God’s grace and power, and that never ends well.

This is of course totally applicable to me. God has gifted me in various ways, to the point that some people think they could never serve God because they aren’t like me, but none of that means anything if I’m not being obedient to God. I have learned the hard way that I can indeed do nothing apart from Christ. (John 15:5) The problem is, at this point my expectation and anticipation of what God is going to do around and through me is muted. That too is foolish, and no way to enter into what God has planned for me and for this church. Today is Pentecost Sunday, but I am physically drained, having gotten in after 11 last night after driving over 150 kilometers to interpret for a Gospel Music Seminar. Being physically drained is a good thing, so I won’t try to make things happen in my nonexistent strength, but failing to be excited over what God might do is not. I desire that God pour His Spirit out on us to use us for His glory, but I can’t begin to make that happen. I need to receive this lesson in waiting expectantly on the Lord, knowing that if I will both wait and expect, He will renew my strength. (Isaiah 40:31)

Father, thank You for Your grace, and for the awareness that I am totally dependent on it. Thank You for getting us to and from the venue safely yesterday, and for the fellowship we had in the process. I have no idea how many of the participants were not Christians, but I pray that all would have been powerfully drawn closer to You. I do thank You for Your plans for today, whatever they are. I pray that not only here but in each of the churches of Omura that there would be total openness to You and Your Spirit, so that we may be empowered to be Your witnesses indeed, for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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