This message is for those of you who wonder if you have what it takes to do God’s work or to lead God’s people.
Because the Bible is literally God’s Word to us, the careful reader will find intriguing insights scattered throughout the scriptures. One of these is found in I Samuel 10:6-7 and I would like to direct your thoughts to it.
As you know, Samuel was an amazing prophet who literally began to hear the voice of God when he was still a small boy. He grew to be the most powerful man in Israel. Everyone knew of Samuel. Everyone knew that God spoke to him and through him. Everyone feared and respected him.
Perhaps Tolkien created the character of Gandalf while thinking about Samuel, because this powerful and mysterious man strode throughout the land of Israel on missions from God, and wherever he went, the people trembled.
The day came when the people of Israel began to grumble and complain that they wanted a king like the other nations had. God was their king but humans, naturally speaking, walk by sight and not by faith. So because they couldn’t see God, they wanted a king that they could see. This troubled Samuel, but God said, “It isn’t you that they are rejecting, Samuel; it’s me. Give them what they want.”
God picked out a young farmer’s son named Saul. Everyone could see that Saul physically was very handsome and stood head and shoulders over everyone else in Israel. He certainly looked kingly externally, but God knew that Saul lacked internally what he needed to lead the people.
At just the right moment Samuel showed up in Saul’s path and announced to him the shocking news that God had a message to deliver to young Saul.
This brings us to the mysterious passage of Scripture in I Samuel 10. After sending everyone else away, Samuel took out a flask of oil and poured it on Saul’s head. (Did he have Saul kneel, or did he stand on a chair to reach the top of the head of this young giant of a man? We aren’t told.)
From our perspective in the 21st century, we don’t notice what a stunning thing that simple act was: before this time, only two things had ever been anointed in Israel: God’s priests and God’s tabernacle. For the first time ever, an ordinary man—the son of a farmer—had been anointed with oil to signify that he was set aside for God’s service, like the priests and tabernacle had been.
Before Samuel leaves, he tells Saul everything that is going to happen to him next, as a confirmation that this action of anointing was genuinely from God. Those things come true, and the third one is this:
As you approach the town, you will meet a procession of prophets coming down from the high place with lyres, timbrels, pipes, and harps being played before them, and they will be prophesying. The Spirit of the Lord will come powerfully upon you, and you will prophesy with them; and you will be changed into a different person. (I Samuel 10:5-6)
Since God is the same yesterday, today, and forever, we can confidently draw some conclusions from this historical account about the first king of Israel.
- God calls people who do not have what it takes internally to accomplish God’s call on their life. In other words, God most often equips the called after calling them, rather than just calling those who believe that they are pre-equipped. If you have been given a calling by God to some work, don’t listen to the voice that questions whether you have what it takes. He will equip you after the fact to insure your success.
- That work of equipping you is done by the Holy Spirit, not by your own efforts “so that no one can boast.”
- That work of the Holy Spirit is powerful in its effect on you. The Hebrew word which we translate “will come powerfully” upon you has a meaning like “a forceful sweeping over you” or a “rushing upon you” or a “seizing you.” Again, it is not something that you figure out how to work up: it is something that happens TO you!
- Something happens to you that never happened before. In Saul’s case, he prophesied (heard from God and spoke what he heard). For you it may not be the same, but something different than your experience up to that point begins to manifest itself in your life. The Apostle Paul told Timothy to fan into flame the gift that Timothy had received when Paul laid hands on him. The calling on Timothy began to produce new things in Timothy’s life and Paul said, in effect, “Notice that and cooperate with it! Fan it into flame!”
- Saul was changed into another person. Don’t underestimate the power of the change that God will make in your life as you pursue HIS calling and cooperate with HIS manifesting new things in your life! When this verse says that Saul was changed into a different person, it doesn’t mean that his mother wouldn’t recognize his face. This isn’t plastic surgery. It is an inner transformation and an enablement.
- The scene concludes with Samuel saying in verse 7, “Once these signs are fulfilled, do whatever your hand finds to do, for God is with you.” This is an amazing statement! Once God has begun this inner transformation of you, and you are cooperating with Him in that, you are going to literally find yourself becoming someone new, and this last verse says, in effect, “When that begins to happen, lean into it and then get to work at whatever presents itself, because God is with you!”
Brothers and sisters, God is obviously not calling you to become the first king of Israel, but this passage gives us a beautiful view into how God works. Those whom God calls, He also equips by His Holy Spirit in a powerful, permanent way! (“God’s gifts and God’s call are irrevocable!” –Romans 11:29). Things start changing in your life and that process continues! You are being changed by God into a different person. The calling is changing you! Submit to that process in your life, and get to work for God, because you know for a fact that He is with you.
It is the work of God to erase the incapacities and the inabilities in you and anything that disqualifies you from obeying His call upon your life, and it is your privilege to step out as a changed and qualified person to fulfill the role for which God made you!