Coming so far, so close, and nearly missing it

God, I pray that you will never allow me to walk alone, especially when I must walk into the fulfillment of your purpose for me. I pray to have someone so close by to urge me on, particularly when I am so tired and bent on walking away. I cannot afford to come so far, so close to it and for me to miss it.

You will recall that the Lord dramatically provided Israel with their first king after they suddenly got tired of the Theocratic form of government. The Israelites suddenly felt they wanted to be like other nations of the world and technically denounced the rule of God over them. They wanted one of them to rule and lead them to battles. Somehow, they felt it was alright to rely on a man they could see than an unseen God. They concluded that the person you physically see is better than he whom you have to imagine is there with you.

Anyway, while the prophet, Samuel, mused over this request disappointedly, the Lord came to encourage him. “And the LORD said unto Samuel, hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee: for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me that I should not reign over them…and make them a king”. I Sam. 8:7 & 22. With the Lord having spoken, the move to get Israel her first king began.

God in His sovereignty decided to pick His candidate from the tribe of Benjamin; precisely from the house of Kish. God’s first candidate was Saul.

The process of getting Saul as king would have been so easy, one not needing much prayer, if God had come out to categorically say His mind or pick His man. Instead of this, God chose to be quiet. He did not inform Kish that his son, Saul, was His candidate. Did He inform Saul he would be the king? Not at all! Nobody, but Samuel, knew of God’s candidate or His process of choosing a king for Israel.

So what was the arrangement on ground to have Saul crowned as king? God decided not to take a straight journey (line), which Mathematicians say is the shortest distance between two points. God started with the asses of Kish wandering off from home. Was their shepherd careless or what? However, when it was obvious that these asses were lost, Kish, even though a wealthy and powerful man in the land, decided he wasn’t going to close his eyes and allow the least of his wealth to get lost without a search. He didn’t feel he had enough to stop him from bothering over the loss of a few number of animals. I love Kish for this spirit – nothing must be wasted, even though I have things in excess.

In trying to get back these asses, Kish had to raise a search party and it was surprising that instead of committing the search of these ‘mere’ animals into the hands of ‘mere’ servants, Kish decided otherwise. He cared so much for his asses that he committed their recovery into the hands of his son, Saul.

Saul, the tallest man in Israel; Saul, the first child and first male child of a powerful man in Israel; Saul, handsome Saul, was now to begin to look for mere animals. These and more were qualities Saul had to disqualify him from being chosen to carry out such a ‘dirty’ and ‘ordinary’ job.

He was qualified enough as a son to be asked to negotiate with kings and business moguls on behalf of his father’s empire. With his qualifications and academic decrees, Saul was qualified to sit back at home and have his father’s servants go for this menial assignment, but Kish felt differently and surprisingly, Saul accepted to go without a record that he complained.

If his father had considered him good enough to look for mere animals, in spite of his personal achievements and beauty, then so let it be. For Saul, it meant those animals meant so much to his father for him to have sent his son.

Brothers, as mere lost animals you will say we are, but we mean so much to God. We are so precious that the task of looking for us must be done by His only begotten Son. Although Jesus Christ had all the qualities to make Him stay back at His heavenly home, but since the Father chose the Son for this assignment, so let it be.

Saul left home in the company of a servant and the search began. They initially thought it wouldn’t take them long, but they were surprised that the missing asses were nowhere to be found. They looked everywhere for what I will say was not missing. Hmm!

Did God then keep the missing asses somewhere only to move Saul out of his comfort zone? While Saul and his servant looked through the hills and valleys; as they moved from one town to another, God was also using the situation to get Saul closer to Samuel, the one chosen to anoint him king. Saul was looking for animals, while God was looking for Saul.

On getting to the town, Zuph, Saul got tired and suggested calling off the search. He felt they had tried enough and beyond that he gave a seemingly good reason to discontinue the search. “Enough of this. Let’s go back. Soon my father is going to forget about the donkeys and start worrying about us.” (I Sam. 9:5 The Message)

How considerate of Saul! He knew his father so much. He knew that since they had gone for days, his father would have given up the care of the animals for them. If he had a mobile phone, maybe he would have called home, but without any form of communication, he felt his father would have been worried. This was a sincere concern from a legitimate son.

However, as he moved to return, his servant saw contrarily. “Not so fast. There’s a holy man in this town. He carries a lot of weight around here. What he says is always right on the mark. Maybe he can tell us where to go.” I Sam. 9:6 TM. Begging to differ, Saul’s servant came up with the idea to see the man of God in that very city who could be of help to them. You can begin to imagine the awesomeness of God.

Saul was looking for animals without knowing he was walking close to the man of God looking for him. He got to the place where Samuel dwelt and suddenly he wanted to go back home. He came close to the man ordained to crown him king and suddenly, he had a ‘good reason’ to walk away. What if?

What if he had been alone? What if the servant did not persist that they should see the man of God, Samuel? How come Saul got to the very town Samuel was waiting for him, only to choose to return? How come he didn’t feel like returning earlier? How come he got so close only to begin to feel he should return?

If Saul had travelled alone, he would have come so close to becoming a king only to walk away. You will recall that God did not tell Saul about His plan; so in his ignorance, Saul could have walked away after getting so close to the fulfillment of God’s plan for his life.

Thank God for the servant who was obviously also acting in ignorance. At a point, as though that thing must just push Saul away from the honour reserved for him, he saw another reason to return home. I wouldn’t know, but something was as though set to stop him from keeping his appointment with Samuel and consequently, with his set glory. “Saul said, If we go, what do we have to give him? There’s no more bread in our sacks. We’ve nothing to bring as a gift to the holy man. Do we have anything else? I Sam. 9:7TM.

God bless this servant wherever he is. (Oh! I know he’s dead). When Saul was getting itchy to walk away from glory, this servant came up with another idea to push him into it. “Look, I just happen to have this silver coin! I’ll give it to the holy man and he’ll tell us how to proceed!” I Sam. 9:8 TM. What a faithful servant! This servant was willing to give out of his own purse even when his master had nothing on him to move him to the fulfillment of the promise of God for his life.

But for this nameless servant who accompanied Saul, meeting Samuel would have been impossible. If not for this faceless servant, Saul would have walked away after travelling distances to get so close to it. If this servant had been so selfish and held back his money, his walk would not have been advantageous to Saul. Selfish men don’t add value to anybody they walk with.

I know you know the rest of the story. Eventually, Saul met Samuel face-to-face and that was how he became the first king in Israel; but then, he could have walked away.

I pray that the Lord will MOVE YOU towards the man to honour you. He will create circumstances around you that will lead you into His promises for your life. He will also place right men by your side to walk with. He will not permit you to walk with selfish men who lack the willingness to share out of their possession to get you into your land of promise. I pray you will never find any reason good enough to make you abort your journey, especially when you are only a step away from glory. These and more your LORD will grant you. Stay blessed!

  • Burning Bush Boy
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