Ordained or Allowed
1 Samuel 16:1-13
The prophet Samuel had devoted his life to serving Saul. He had been the one to anoint and appoint Saul king over Israel, and spent an immeasurable amount of time with him. Samuel had been the mediator between man and God, the guiding hand in expanding a great nation, and the wise counsel to Saul for many years. So I can only imagine the heartbreak Samuel must have felt when he realized Saul’s rebelliousness had finally reached the point of no return, and God would no longer recognize him as king.
When God then sent Samuel to anoint a replacement for the king’s position, Samuel was expecting to find someone resembling Saul who looked like the stereotype of royalty - tall, handsome, and fit for battle. So Samuel was surprised when God chose the most unlikely of all - a young, ordinary shepherd boy named David. But the Lord wasn’t impressed with all the outwardly obvious candidates who had stepped up. He was more concerned about the condition of their hearts. And He knew David may not have appeared mighty on the outside, but on the inside he was full of extraordinary faith and love for his Creator.
What Samuel didn’t realize at first was that the things which seem most promising are sometimes only a stumbling block, and often that which we deem unworthy could be our biggest blessing. You see, Saul was people-approved, not God-ordained. The Israelites chose Saul based on his appearance, but never stopped to consider his character. They relentlessly persisted for him to be king in spite of God’s warnings. Eventually God grew tired of their refusal to heed His advice, so He allowed Samuel to make Saul ruler over His people. And because of the Israelites lack of judgement, they suffered a great deal. Saul’s reign was filled with darkness and cruelty. But David - who was ordained by God - brought victory and true worship into the kingdom.
Samuel spent years of his life investing in something God only allowed before he invested in something God had fully ordained. He was doing the right thing for the wrong cause.
God won’t hesitate to wreck your plans if that’s what it takes to set you back on the right course. He may tear down everything that you’ve built and give you something new that you wouldn’t have chosen or ever expected. He’ll take everything you’ve poured yourself into, only to hand you something unfamiliar and undeveloped. But He won’t have to if we learn to accept His initial “no”. We have to be open to receiving a shepherd, even though we were anticipating a warrior - knowing that whatever God chooses to put in our life is far greater than anything we could create.
Are you pursuing things in your life because they are appealing to your flesh, or because the Lord has called you to them? And if God does wipe out what you’ve invested in, ask yourself: Was it ever really God-ordained in the first place, or just God-allowed?
Pray: “Lord, let me always heed your counsel regardless of my personal desires. Help me to chase after that which You have ordained and never settle for something You simply allow out of my stubborness. And give me the patience to wait on Your perfect will, and discernment to know what isn’t.”