The Bleating of Sheep
II Samuel 15:22-23; Isaiah 57:15
Saul was the most envied among the young men of Israel. Taller, stronger, and more handsome than any of the other young men. He was the MVP, Most Likely to Succeed, and voted “best smile” by his peers. Young men were green with envy and young women swooned as he walked by ( II Samuel 9:2). Saul was destined to be the first king of Israel at the rebellious request of the people.
Still, God chose Saul and intended to bless him. And he obeyed God, just not all the way. For instance, he had a better idea than God for the allocation of the sheep and oxen. So God commanded Samuel to speak this word to Saul; “Because you rejected the word of the Lord, the Lord has rejected you from being king over Israel.” (I Samuel 15:26) This is the tragic result of half-hearted “followship.”
I want to entrust to you the core-lesson of almost 40 years of following Jesus: only those with a heart willing to obey will hear the voice of God. He does not speak so that we can consider His will as one of many “viable” options. We can make our lists and create our decision making grids, but He commands from heaven with perfect authority. God only “lives” in two places; the high and holy place, inhabiting eternity, and with he who is “of a contrite and lowly spirit.” (Isaiah 57:15)
The contrite and lowly of heart are fully submissive to the God whose name is “Holy.” He delights in making Himself known to the humble, and through the humble. And His promise is to “revive” the hearts of the contrite. They are the one’s who hear the invitation of Jesus and gladly leave everything to be with Him. They are the ones who hear His voice and follow without question. The ones with humble and obedient hearts receive this great reward: they hear His voice.
Most churches have a patriarch. Ours was Harry White. He was the de-facto mentor and pace-setter for many of the young men who’ve grown up under Centerpoint’s ministry (including me). Harry described the follower of Christ as one who signs the bottom of an unbreakable blank contract and then hands it back to God with the promise to do whatever He asks. To go where He sends. To say what He wants said. To cooperate with Him in becoming a man or woman conformed to the image of Christ, living and loving like Jesus. Our part? Sign the contract and pay attention to His lead.
The prophet Samuel’s words to Saul remain true; “Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to listen than the fat of rams” (I Samuel 15:22). Only the contrite and lowly hear His voice. Only those who humbly come to Him with a desire to fully follow Him will experience His lead. Only those who follow with their whole hearts will know His deep peace and lasting joy.
The promise of God to those who humbly follow is “to revive!” The Hebrew word Chayah is to restore life, to really live! “A thief comes only to steal and to kill and to destroy. I have come so that they may have life and have it in abundance.” John 10:10
Seeking to follow more closely every day,