Hesitant Leader

1 Samuel 9:6-10

6But the servant replied, “Look, in this town there is a man of God; he is highly respected, and everything he says comes true. Let’s go there now. Perhaps he will tell us what way to take.” 7Saul said to his servant, “If we go, what can we give the man? The food in our sacks is gone. We have no gift to take to the man of God. What do we have?”

8The servant answered him again. “Look,” he said, “I have a quarter of a shekel of silver. I will give it to the man of God so that he will tell us what way to take.” 9(Formerly in Israel, if someone went to inquire of God, they would say, “Come, let us go to the seer,” because the prophet of today used to be called a seer.) 10“Good,” Saul said to his servant. “Come, let’s go.” So they set out for the town where the man of God was.

Introduction

Have you heard of the phrase, “Tulak ng bibig, kabig ng dibdib!” It can be translated, “Lips deny, heart ratify!” Or say, “Refuses audibly but yearns silently!”

Say: John kept glancing at Mary, and James said, “Hey, John! You like her, ey!” John denies, “No!” Why would John deny? Scared of rejection or being teased.

Similarly, believers desire to share the gospel to friends, acquaintances or relatives but they hesitate for fear of rejection or hurt their relationship. Others are scared that it may affect their situation. They want to be politically correct. There are various factors of hesitation to accept God’s calling. What’s yours?

Prophet Jeremiah was young when God called him. He was scared to declare the Lord’s message especially, when he heard about a plan to kill him.

He declared in Jeremiah 20:9, 9But if I say, “I will not mention his word or speak anymore in his name,” his word is in my heart like a fire, a fire shut up in my bones. I am weary of holding it in; indeed, I cannot.

It is possible that God allows us to hesitate as precaution so that we will be mindful of our steps. When the Lord deems it is time to declare His message, we won’t mind about consequences, like Jeremiah. The Lord will take care for us things we cannot control. We can learn from the faith of Shadrach Meshach and Abednego when they responded to King Nebuchadnezzar in Daniel 3:16-18.

“King Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter.  If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.”

Whenever God calls us to a mission or ministry He prepared for us, expect the possibility of challenge or testing. God tests us to determine if we prioritize Him. Most things that God uses as instrument for testing are things that we value the most. What do you value: family, finance, fitness, fame, or fantasy?

When the Israelites asked for a king, Samuel prayed, and the Lord told him to grant their desire to have a king. So, the Lord arranged events for Samuel to discern the king he will anoint. The Lord has chosen Saul as king of Israel. Saul was raised in a prominent family in Benjamin, but he was indecisive.

Saul’s father told him to look for their missing donkeys. Together with his servant, they searched where they expected the donkeys might have wandered. When they came near the town where Samuel lived, Saul wanted to go home but his servant insisted to ask the help of Samuel. But still, Saul hesitated because he has nothing to give in return. He had nothing of value to give as gift.

1. Gift

6But the servant replied, “Look, in this town there is a man of God; he is highly respected, and everything he says comes true. Let’s go there now. Perhaps he will tell us what way to take.” 7Saul said to his servant, “If we go, what can we give the man? The food in our sacks is gone. We have no gift to take to the man of God. What do we have?”

Saul may have been a hesitant leader but at least, he was considerate. He presumed that if they ask for help from a prophet, he had to give a gift as symbol of gratitude. Some scholars interpreted that prophets earn their living in the form of gift from those who come to them for divination or who ask for God’s will.

When the Lord instructed Amos to prophesy against Israel, a priest named Amaziah told him in Amos 7:12-15, “Get out, you seer! Go back to the land of Judah. Earn your bread there and do your prophesying there. Don’t prophesy anymore at Bethel, because this is the king’s sanctuary and the temple of the kingdom.” Amos answered Amaziah, “I was neither a prophet nor the son of a prophet, but I was a shepherd, and I also took care of sycamore-fig trees. But the Lord took me from tending the flock and said to me, ‘Go, prophesy to my people Israel.’

Was it a common knowledge among the Israelites that prophets prophesy as means to earn their living? This connotation is also real in our generation. There are preachers who would require a standard pay or compensation for them to speak in any occasion which may devalued or cheapen the image of preacher.

How much?

A countryside pastor requested a popular preacher to speak in their church anniversary celebration in his hope to attract more people to attend. The popular preacher asked, “How much would you give as ‘Love Gift’?” What do you think?

If a preacher inquires about compensation or “Love Gift” for his service, do you consider that preacher as practical and not spiritual?

The pastor, who invited the popular preacher, can be seen as practical rather than spiritual, why? Well, he expected that the popularity of speaker will attract people instead of relying upon the Lord to bring people to church, right?

When Saul mentioned about the gift, did he imply to be mindful or he just wanted to hide his hesitation? His servant has more grit or persistence than him.

2. Grit

8The servant answered him again. “Look,” he said, “I have a quarter of a shekel of silver. I will give it to the man of God so that he will tell us what way to take.” 9(Formerly in Israel, if someone went to inquire of God, they would say, “Come, let us go to the seer,” because the prophet of today used to be called a seer.) 10“Good,” Saul said to his servant. “Come, let’s go.” So they set out for the town where the man of God was.

The servant exhibited grit, persistence or concern to search for the missing donkeys. The servant insisted to ask the help of the prophet. He offered to give all he had to fulfill his master’s command. He was obedient to his master. His willingness to sacrifice all he had, it also made Saul’s hesitation more awkward.

Why did God choose, as the first king of Israel, a hesitant Saul instead of a persistent servant? Is this a lesson that God would choose anyone He deems useful to accomplish his purposes? Surely, the Lord used the persistence of the servant so that Saul will be anointed as king of Israel after they met Samuel.

It is also another example that whatever reason we may have to avoid the calling of God, nobody can stop it. God has various ways to fulfill His will.

Application

God’s call to go abroad was testing of obedience. We also had hesitation.

As requirement, we took medical exam but assumed health issues may cause delay or deny our visa. I had peace in my heart that if it is the will of God for us to go abroad, we will have good medical record. The rest is history!

Nothing is too difficult with God. No obstacles can stop His will to happen.

It says in Ephesians 1:3-4, Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms  with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight.

Whatever issue that may occur in pursuit of holiness, if God predestined you to live with Him in His heaven, trust that God will complete what He started in your life. The Scripture is clear that Christ alone is the way to the Father. It is not what we do, not our prayer, not our doctrine, not our experience or effort.

Only Christ can save us. He can enable us to live a godly life if we allow Him to perform His lordship in our life. Obeying the Lord’s instruction is very useful for us to experience and realize the plan God has prepared for us.

Even with hesitation, Saul gave in when his servant insisted to ask for help from Saul. After he was crowned as king, did Saul commend his gritty servant? It was not known. Probably, the servant was given a promotion. Did Saul have strange awkward feeling whenever he saw his gritty servant?

Certainly, no hesitation can prevent God to accomplish His purpose for us.

Our hesitation to obey the Lord may haunt or make us feel guilty later.

When Christ was crucified, would you accept that the Lord took even guilt, blames and shames and crucified them with Christ? How about hesitation?

Pray for God to take away any hesitation and give willingness to obey Him.

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