Tuesday, July 9, 2013

More Donkeys...and Saul

Since I wrote about the last two donkey miracles, it reminded me of another yet another donkey miracle that I discovered in scripture a couple years ago.  It thrills me that I can see something in scripture that pops out at me as if it's totally new -- yet, it may be something I've read many times before.  It's such a God-thing - to bring out new information when His children are ready to receive it - I love it!

This photo shows a herd of wild donkeys roaming free in Custer State Park in South Dakota.  As you look at the picture, imagine this is a herd of donkeys belonging to Kish, the father of Saul in the Old Testament.  Also, imagine the setting as being in Israel which I think probably looks very much like what you're looking at in the picture above.  The story I'm going to relate appears in I Samuel 9-10.

The story involves the man who would become the first anointed king of Israel, Saul, but the truth I want to emphasize is not specifically about Saul, rather it is about the original king of Israel – God himself.  God was the director and producer of this story – Saul was merely an actor who played his part without even realizing he was doing so.
Before we look at the story, I want us to look at a section of verses in Isaiah 46 that relate to the amazing power of the sovereignty of God:  For I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like Me; Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times things that are not yet done, Saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all My pleasure, Calling a bird of prey from the east, The man who executes My counsel, from a far country.  Indeed I have spoken it; I will also bring it to pass.  I have purposed it; I will also do it.”  (9-11)
These verses describe God in total control of the future as well as the present.  Notice the phrase:  Calling…the man who executes my counsel from a far country.”  That’s basically what this story of Saul is about -- and it's the part of the story that I find so fascinating – the part that gives us a perfect illustration of the sovereignty of God.  God is in control of all things and moves people and animals and nature at His will.  We’ll be able to look over God’s shoulder, so to speak, and see how he orchestrated this whole event with Saul to turn out just as He wished it to – down to the minute.
We begin our story in I Samuel 9:3 with a herd of missing donkeys:  "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.'" 
At this point, Saul traveled through the hill country of Ephraim, then through the area around Shalisha, then into the district of Shaalim, and then the territory of Benjamin.  These men were covering a lot of territory in search of these donkeys.  By the time they reached the district of Zuph, three days had passed and Saul was ready to turn back.  His servant, however, said there was a man of God in that town who might tell them where the donkeys were -- that man was the prophet Samuel who, strangely enough, was waiting for young Saul that very moment.

Here's the amazing thing:  God scattered those donkeys at just the right time to cause Saul to frantically search for three days so that he would arrive at this particular town on this afternoon to meet Samuel who had been instructed by God to wait here for Saul.  On top of that, the people in the town were seated and waiting for the guest of honor to arrive at the feast -- that guest was Saul -- who, by the way, would also be anointed as the first king of Israel!  And all this happened without Saul having the least knowledge that all these events were being orchestrated that would totally change his life.

And what about the herd of donkeys?  Samuel told Saul, "As for the donkeys you lost three days ago do not worry about them; they have been found."  The missing donkeys had done their job and they were back at the ranch chowing down on hay.

I am thankful for this story where we can so clearly watch the hand of God in action.  The reminder that God is in control of every breath we take is loud and clear.  He who keeps the planets spinning and the sun shining at just the right distance, also watches over every step we take and gently nudges circumstances to create His plan for our lives. What a blessing to rest in His almighty, loving plan.

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