3 Now the donkeys belonging to Saul’s father Kish were lost, and Kish said to his son Saul, “Take one of the servants with you and go and look for the donkeys.” 4 So he passed through the hill country of Ephraim and through the area around Shalisha, but they did not find them. They went on into the district of Shaalim, but the donkeys were not there. Then he passed through the territory of Benjamin, but they did not find them. 5 When they reached the district of Zuph, Saul said to the servant who was with him, “Come, let’s go back, or my father will stop thinking about the donkeys and start worrying about us.” 6 But 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.” 7 Saul 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?” 8 The 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. 11 As they went up the hill to the city, they met young women coming out to draw water and said to them, “Is the seer here?” 12 They answered, “He is; behold, he is just ahead of you. Hurry. He has come just now to the city, because the people have a sacrifice today on the high place. 13 As soon as you enter the city you will find him, before he goes up to the high place to eat. For the people will not eat till he comes, since he must bless the sacrifice; afterward those who are invited will eat. Now go up, for you will meet him immediately.” 14 So they went up to the city. As they were entering the city, they saw Samuel coming out toward them on his way up to the high place.
(1 Samuel 9:3-14)
Yesterday we saw Saul and a servant go looking for missing donkey’s that belonged to Saul’s father, Kish. They searched through a wide area but were unsuccessful. When they reached the district of Zuph, Saul suggested that they go back because his father will stop thinking about the donkey’s and start worrying about them.
Zuph was a district within the land allotted to the tribe of Ephraim and was the area in which Samuel’s family lived [1 Samuel 1:1]. Although as Israel’s leader Samuel regularly traveled a circuit through various cities, his permanent residence was always in this area [1 Samuel 7:15-17]. Saul was not far from the man he needed to see, but he didn’t even know it.
I think our spiritual life can be similar. The answers to our problems and questions can only be found in God who is always close by and is willing to grant us wisdom if we ask for it [James 1:5]. But people – both believers and non-believers – sometimes don’t realize how close God is.
Non-believers, of course, don’t even consider approaching God. They don’t realize that God is right in their midst as their creator, guide, and savior. They’re so close and yet so far from the truth.
But even believers can sometimes neglect to realize that God is close to them at every moment. Sometimes we get so caught up in our lives and our problems that we go ahead and find solutions on our own without consulting God. We actually see quite a bit of this in the Bible. Abraham, David, Solomon, Ezra and others who are strong men and women of God make decisions using solely their own human thinking. Sometimes they didn’t consult God because they failed to stop and remind themselves of how close He was to them. And in almost every case the consequences were disastrous.
God is never far from anyone. No matter how lost a person is or how much trouble one has in one’s life, God is near. And He desires to help us through this world; this world we’ve made a mess of. We have so many problems and so many hurting people on this planet all because all throughout history the inhabitants of Earth have decided that their own wisdom is sufficient, or even better, than God’s.
Yet God is calling – He is constantly calling to us, everywhere we are [Proverbs 8]. He never stops. He wants us to know how close He is. He wants us to escape from the pain of this life and to know that He is willing to hear us and heal us if we just have the wisdom to call upon Him and not rely on our own intellect.
As we’ll see as we continue our study, Saul was not a spiritual man. We’ll see him make his own decisions without consulting God, which will lead to disastrous results for both him and Israel.
God was not far from Saul. And He’s not far from anyone of us today.
Comments? Questions? I’d love to hear from you. Please feel free to contact me about this post.