1 Samuel 10 is all about the choosing of Saul as the first king of Israel. Saul is out looking for his father’s missing donkeys, not realising that God is behind this. God had told Samuel the day before that he would meet a man and anoint him to be the next king.
When Samuel meets Saul, God tells him this is the man and he proceeds to anoint Saul with oil and prophesy in some details about who Saul will meet, where, when and what they will say.
Later there is a powerful spiritual anointing of God on Saul’s life and he is aware that God has chosen him as king. But then there comes a public selection of Saul from all the tribes of Israel, by means of drawing lots, so that the people will have no doubt that he is God’s man and not simply Samuel’s choice.
When it is finally made clear that the new king is to be Saul, he can’t be found anywhere, and the people have to ask God to show them where he is. God’s response is, “He has hidden himself among the baggage.” The word ‘baggage’ here could mean weapons, food, clothing, or furniture. He is so well hidden that only God could find him! Why? Probably to avoid the task God had given him.
I believe there are many Christians a bit like Saul. They are not serving God as they know they should be, and they are hiding from the task ahead that won’t go away. We have been anointed with the gifts of Holy Spirit, called to witness for Him, chosen, empowered and equipped. But some of us find it all too much and hide among the baggage.
That baggage can be physical stuff to hide among, but also baggage that we carry with us. It could be the fear of failure, or the negative views we have about ourselves that were placed there by the unkind words and actions of those who should have loved and nurtured us. It could be the inner vows we have made about ourselves, and the deep-down contradiction of our belief about God that we have in our heads and not in our hearts.
Hebrews 3:12 mentions this ‘unbelieving heart’. This is where our head knowledge of God, which is correct, is at odds with our negative experiences. It is our ‘baggage’, if you will. We can state with conviction what the Bible says about God, but our heart can disagree, and we tend to listen to our heart when it comes to the crunch. We find it easier to hide in this baggage than step out and trust God.
The core of baggage like this is our reluctance to trust God fully. We look at what we have to offer, judge it as inadequate and take a step back. When God calls us to be His witness in our home, street, workplace and church, we forget the fact that whomever God calls He also equips. It could also be God’s call to write a book, go out on mission, or take on a ministry we have been interested in for years. You probably know what it is right at this moment.
If, today, you feel you have hidden yourself in the baggage like Saul and you are afraid to step out into the unknown, remember that God knows exactly where you are and the unknown to you is well known to God. He has already given you everything you need to do what He has called you to do. And He will never leave you on your own to do it. It’s time to step out and step up. You might like to say the following prayer.
Prayer: Dear Lord, please forgive me for hiding myself among the baggage of my life, physical, emotional and spiritual baggage. Please forgive me for the excuses I have told myself many times to try and protect myself from Your call on my life. Today I choose to take the first steps to come out from among the baggage and trust You. I choose to focus my eyes on You and nothing else and to say to You, “Here I am Lord, ready to do Your will. No more excuses!”. Amen.
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