15 Now the day before Saul came, the Lord had revealed to Samuel: 16 “Tomorrow about this time I will send to you a man from the land of Benjamin, and you shall anoint him to be prince over my people Israel. He shall save my people from the hand of the Philistines. For I have seen my people, because their cry has come to me.” 17 When Samuel saw Saul, the Lord told him, “Here is the man of whom I spoke to you! He it is who shall restrain my people.” 18 Then Saul approached Samuel in the gate and said, “Tell me where is the house of the seer?” 19 Samuel answered Saul, “I am the seer. Go up before me to the high place, for today you shall eat with me, and in the morning I will let you go and will tell you all that is on your mind. 20 As for your donkeys that were lost three days ago, do not set your mind on them, for they have been found. And for whom is all that is desirable in Israel? Is it not for you and for all your father’s house?” 21 Saul answered, “Am I not a Benjaminite, from the least of the tribes of Israel? And is not my clan the humblest of all the clans of the tribe of Benjamin? Why then have you spoken to me in this way?”
(1 Samuel 9:15-21)
Thus far in our story of Saul becoming king over Israel, Saul went looking for his father’s lost donkeys but could not find them. Just as he was about to give up and return home the servant who was with Saul realized that he and Saul were in the vicinity of a city where a man of God lived – a seer – and thought perhaps that man of God could help them find the donkeys. So Saul and his servant go to the city and at this point are looking for the man of God – Samuel – in the city.
At the very same time, Samuel was looking for Saul because the day before the Lord had revealed to Samuel that He (God) would send to him (Samuel) a man from the land of Benjamin who Samuel should anoint to be prince over Israel, God’s people.
Some may call is a coincidence. Others may call it irony. But really it is neither. As we learned yesterday, God is orchestrating the events on earth, using the actions of individual people to bring about His purposes in ways we cannot comprehend.
But the interesting thing about today’s passage is that God told Samuel this was going to happen the day before. This begs the question, Why did God reveal his plans to Samuel and not Saul? Why was Saul kept in the dark about his future, only to find out about it through some lost animals?
The answer is God works differently in the lives of His children than He does in the lives of those who do not know Him.
As we’ve learned, Saul did not have a relationship with God. He had seemingly never heard of Samuel, even though Samuel was God’s appointed spiritual leader over Israel and at this point in time had been so for quite a number of years. In yesterday’s passage, Saul asked some women where the seer was – he didn’t even know Samuel’s name. And as we’ll see in a couple of days, Saul didn’t even know what Samuel looked like as he approaches Samuel himself asking where the seer is [1 Samuel 9:18].
So God could not reveal to Saul His plans because Saul was not listening to God. He was not expecting to hear from Him because he had no relationship with God. He, therefore, would not have recognized God’s voice or maybe not even paid attention to it.
On the other hand, Samuel had been in a relationship with God since he was a young boy and his mother, Hannah, sent him to serve in the tabernacle [1 Samuel 1:24-28]. Samuel had learned to listen to God voice [1 Samuel 3].
What’s very interesting about today’s passage is that in the original Hebrew the word translated “revealed” is אֹזֶן (pronounced: o-zen) which refers to a person’s ear. Literally, in Hebrew, this passage is saying that God uncovered Samuel’s ear similar to how one would push back hair or other covering over the ear to tell a person a secret.
This is indicative of the kind of relationship that God has with His children. He tells us things He does not tell the rest of the world. Sometimes He tells such things to all His children, through the Holy Spirit [1 Corinthians 2:9-12; Colossians 1:25-27]. And sometimes He’ll tell an individual something He specifically wants them to know but no one else, as He does here.
Being able to speak into someone’s ear implies not only an intimate relationship but a close physical presence as well. God was close, very close, to Samuel – both spiritually and physically. As He is with all His children.
But God does not speak directly to the rest of the world. He cannot because they haven’t learned to hear His voice. Instead, He speaks through circumstances or through a friend/coworker/family member who does know God.
As God’s children, we have access to God. And He will share information and wisdom with us that He will not share with the unbelieving world. That is an immense privilege.
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