I’ve been reading through the Old Testament, and completely enthralled with portions of the Bible that previously seemed null and void, but mostly boring. However, that knee jerk reaction that “the Old Testament is boring”, I couldn’t find further from the truth.Captivated, the story of Israel’s cry for a king unfolds dramatically as Saul takes the first throne of Israel in 1 Samuel, or shall I say attempts to assume the throne. Saul goes looking for a couple of lost donkeys as any good young son would do, and comes back with a changed heart and anointed as Israel’s king! Could you imagine?!How often do we go out looking for one thing, only to come in with something completely unexpected? I can think of more than one occasion. Saul had a different response than most typically have. Rather than busting through the back door with a, “You would never guess what happened to me today.” Saul took the safe route in response to his uncle’s questioning as to his whereabouts, telling about the donkeys being found and omitting his anointing to kingship!I’ve spoken to several people over the course of the past few weeks in regards to God’s calling on their life, all of which came unexpectedly and seemingly out of left field. Personally, as a young person I never aspired to be a writer or teacher of God’s word. I was focused on growing flowers and my family. The calling to teach and write came very unexpectedly. And for a while, I sat on it. All of the hesitations and their explanations could fill a novel, but when all was said and done - they were excuses. Rather than stepping up and out, I hid and waited. Now, I’m grateful for the learning process God has so faithfully and gently had me on.I can’t imagine the experience Saul had, meeting the prophet Samuel and being anointed only to begin prophesying, and then being called before all of Israel. But as Samuel summoned the people of Israel and had each tribe come forward, Saul was nowhere to be found among the tribe of Benjamin. The people searched and inquired as to Saul’s whereabouts. Some verses are just better in the King James Version, take a look at God’s response.“And the LORD answered, Behold, he hath hid himself among the stuff.” 1 Samuel 10:22 (KJV)Saul went and him himself in the supply closet – among all the stuff. Sounds like my daughter playing hide-and-go-seek.Saul seems less than enthused about assuming the throne of Israel. And I can’t say I blame him! He went out looking for donkeys only to return with an unexpected crown. God’s favor rested on him for a period of time. Saul was an answer to prayer, though something tells me he didn’t see it that way. And as he is brought before the people, Samuel announces, “Do you see the one the LORD has chosen?” (CSB)“Do you see the one the LORD has chosen?”Saul was chosen. Just as you are chosen. It can be easy to hid and ignore our callings. But what would shift if we stepped back and allowed our self to “see the one the LORD has chosen” and act on it? Would you do anything different?We are all chosen by the Creator of the universe. God cares deeply about his children, his chosen children. What might you be hiding from? What excuses might you be living with? Personally, I can think of a few for myself. Let’s offer it to God with a heart of repentance and accept his grace in return, turning in our “donkeys” (excuses and hiding) to fully wear the “crown” (God’s calling on our life). No matter how unexpected that calling may be.God doesn’t make mistakes. We all need each other’s unique gift and calling, presented in the only combination possible – wrapped up inside you and partnered with God.With gratitude,Amy
God is constantly teaching us, if we allow. This is what God has been teaching me, and I’d love to hear what he’s been teaching you. Leave a comment or send a message. I’d love to hear your thoughts!
As believers in Jesus and filled with the Holy Spirit, we are instructed to take up the full armor of God in Ephesians 6. We are to take a stand with the belt of truth around our waist and feet sandaled ready with the gospel of peace. We’re instructed to pick up the sword of the Spirit, which is God’s Word. A fruitful walk with the Lord requires us to do this, it is obedience sourced in Love.Some believe the Old Testament is just full of irrelevant stories, but those bits of history are packed with lessons which can be applied to our life today. While reading 1 Samuel 13 I learned that at that time in Israel’s history they would have to take their swords, spears, axes, sickles, and other agricultural implements to the Philistines to be sharpened. This meant Israel would have to take their weapons to their opponent in order to have sharp weapons for battle. How would you like to venture in to enemy territory in order to have your sword sharpened? Or what about your pitchfork for the coming harvest season?This dynamic is interesting and we learn a lot from what takes place. Despite a probable lack in sharp weaponry, the Israelites prevail over the Philistines because God fights for them. That being said, it got me thinking about today and our culture. I wonder how often we walk through the doors of our church or into a Bible study and asking someone else to sharpen the spiritual sword we carry. It’s tempting to allow others to do the work, but it’s not sustainable. While fellowship is necessary in the sharpening process, everyone’s spiritual sword is unique. God does fight for us, but we are called to join him.Sharpening our spiritual swords takes time, skill, and commitment. Stepping into the blacksmith shop of God’s Word is intimidating when we don’t know where to start. It’s easy to go to church, Bible study, or a small group to be spoon fed God’s Word. Please don’t misunderstand me, these things are vital to our walk with the Lord! Proverbs is a good reminder, “Iron sharpens iron, and one person sharpens another.” Proverbs 27:17 As iron sharpens iron. That means I need to have others around me who are sharp iron tools, willing to step into the blacksmith shop and do some work both on their own and together.My family enjoyed watching the first season of Forged in Fire via Netflix this winter. The show covers different types of weaponry and the processes of how each are made. My favorite part was the final round where contestants were sent home to their own forge. It was interesting to see each man’s tools, unique shop, and approach in working the metal. After a period of time, both contestants brought their forged weapon for testing before the judges.In this particular show the process of fire, pressure, and other factors were the same but forging was unique. Each bladesmith faced unique challenges, just as each person does. We are all tested and face trials, we each carry a spiritual sword for a unique purpose. My question is this – Are you willing to step into the blacksmith shop of God’s Word to allow transformation and sharpening to occur? How can you become that sharp iron who helps to sharpen another brother or sister in Christ?If you’re new to the Bible it’s easy to be intimidated by God’s Word, not knowing where to start. We’ve all been there at some point, so no judgement. But can I recommend starting somewhere in the New Testament gospels like the book of Luke?If you are a little more seasoned in God’s Word – where would you start? And, how are you being sharpened right now?God is so faithful to those who pursue him. Let's be brave together as we step in. We will not be forsaken stepping into the blacksmith shop of God’s Word. We need the specialized gifts God has equipped you with for battle, and we need you sharp in order to help sharpen others.Further study: 1 Samuel 13:16 – 14:23