In that day they will say, “Surely this is our God; we trusted in him, and he saved us. This is the LORD, we trusted in him; let us rejoice and be glad in his salvation.” Isaiah 25:9
The signs they have in Alaska are unusual ones that you don’t see in other areas. They’re signs that people who actually drive along the roads have to watch out for. When it’s warmer in Alaska and you’re driving down the wet dirt roads, the wheels make ruts. Then, it gets colder. There are signs along the highway that say: “Choose Your Rut Very Carefully Because You’ll Be In It For The Next 50 Miles”. So, today let’s talk about – how we choose our rut, and how we decide to be in that rut and stay there.
There are so many people you know who get one particular idea in their minds, and they buy that idea. Even if something better comes along somewhere, sometime, they can’t make a change because they’ve already bought that idea and they have to work toward it. Change is unwelcomed and sometimes scary.
There are so many side trips that have and that will come to us on our road that actually creates our life because we become what our experiences teach us. The greatest things that ever happened to us, (if not all the great things that have ever happened to us), have been side trips or things we didn’t expect.
For example, let’s say you were on your way somewhere, something happened, and it was a shock to you because you had a certain place you wanted to go. Someone came up to you and gave you an idea, and you found a whole new path. You found out that it wasn’t the original trip you were on that was important, but something else became the main focus. You found serendipity (finding valuable or pleasant things that are not expected) in your life.
Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD. Psalm 27:14
Let’s look at the story of Saul (from I Samuel, chapters 9 and 10). Read through this scripture and keep one thing in mind as you do – that every character in the Bible, every one of them, is really a similar type nature that you have within you. As you read the italicized below, try to think of yourself and your own situation, and how you dealt with it, and perhaps how you’ll deal with it in the future.
There was a man of Benjamin whose name was Kish son of Abiel . . . a Benjaminite, a man of wealth. He had a son whose name was Saul, a handsome young man. There was not a man among the people of Israel more handsome than he; he stood head and shoulders above everyone else.
Now the donkeys of Kish, Saul’s father, had strayed. So Kish said to his son Saul, “Take one of the boys with you; go and look for the donkeys.”
You’ve been asked to do things like that before, and so have I. Here is a mundane task. “What an exciting day this is. I have been asked to go and look for donkeys . . .” Think about yourself and all those ordinary monotonous things of life. You have one particular journey and how boring that journey is.
He passed through the hill country of Ephraim . . . [and he passed through many other lands, including the land of Benjamin; that was a long way] but they did not find them [the donkeys]. When they came to the land of Zuph, Saul said to the boy who was with him, “Let us turn back, or my father will stop worrying about the donkeys and worry about us.”
This is an interesting point. In our journey, (and we’re all on a journey), we all have the option to turn back, to give up, to decide we really don’t like the trip and not go this particular direction.
Listen to what the boy said:
But he said to him, “There is a man of God in this town; he is a man held in honor. Whatever he says always comes true. Let us go there now; perhaps he will tell us about the journey on which we have set out.”
Then Saul replied to the boy, “But if we go, what can we bring the man? For the bread in our sacks is gone, and there is no present to bring to the man of God. What have we?” The boy answered Saul again, “Here, I have with me a quarter of shekel of silver; I will give it to the man of God, to tell us our way.” . . . Saul said to the boy, “Good; come, let us go.”
So they went to the town where the man of God was.
They were willing to pay the price. There is always a price to life on our journey, and it’s not really monetary. Are we willing to pay the price in consciousness? Are we willing, if we want our life to be better, to pay the price to do whatever needs to be done? If we are, we’ll have a wonderful, wonderful life.
As they went up the hill to the town, they met some girls coming out to draw water, and said to them, “Is the seer here?” They answered, “Yes, there he is just ahead of you. Hurry; he has come just now to the town, because the people have a sacrifice today at the shrine. As soon as you enter the town, you will find him, before he goes up to the shrine to eat. For the people will not eat until he comes, since he must bless the sacrifice; afterward those eat who are invited. Now go up, for you will meet him immediately.” So they went up to the town. As they were entering the town, they saw Samuel coming out toward them on his way to the shrine.
Now the day before Saul came, the Lord had revealed to Samuel: “Tomorrow about this time I will send you a man from the land of Benjamin, and you shall anoint him to be ruler over my people Israel. He shall save my people from the hand of the Philistines; for I have seen the suffering of my people, because their outcry has come to me.”
When Samuel saw Saul, the Lord told him, “Here is the man of whom I spoke to you. He it is who shall rule over my people.” Then Saul approached Samuel inside the gate, and said, “Tell me, please, where is the house of the seer?” Samuel answered Saul, “I am the seer; go up before me to the shrine . . .”
There are many places in the Bible about “going up.” This generally means rising up to a higher or more profound way of thinking or higher place in our consciousness.
“…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. As for your donkeys that were lost three days ago, give no further thought to them, for they have been found. And on whom is all Israel’s desire fixed, if not on you and on all your ancestral house?”
Let’s say right there that Saul said, (as we have said many times in our lives), “Oh, I can’t go to the temple and eat with you. See, I’m looking for donkeys. I have my mind fixed on that. I must go get my donkeys. Even though you appear to have good intentions for me now, I just can’t accept it because I have my original plans, and I cannot accept this good coming to me.
“I’m like a horse with blinders on, and I can’t look to the side even though I might see good or might see God’s will for me. I have my own human will, and I’m going to continue on because I have picked my rut. I’m going to walk in it even though it is muddy, boring, and mundane, and I don’t like it. What you’re offering me seems exciting, but after all, it is change. I’d better not do this right now. I’d better stick to my agenda.”
“Saul answered, “I am only a Benjaminite, from the least of the tribes of Israel, and my family is the humblest of all the families of the tribe of Benjamin. Why then have you spoken to me in this way?”
Then Samuel took Saul and his servant boy and brought them into the hall, and gave them a place at the head of those who had been invited, of whom there were about thirty. And Samuel said to the cook, “Bring the portion I gave you, the one I asked you to put aside.” The cook took up the thigh and what went with it and set them before Saul. Samuel said, “See, what was kept is set before you. Eat; for it is set before you at the appointed time, so that you might eat with the guests.”
So Saul ate with Samuel that day. When they came down from the shrine into the town, a bed was spread for Saul on the roof, and he lay down to sleep. Then at the break of dawn Samuel called to Saul upon the roof, “Get up, so that I may send you on your way.” Saul got up, and both he and Samuel went out into the street.”
Remember, Saul became the first king of Israel. Samuel was the last prophet and judge before Israel had a king. Samuel represents a constant contact with God.
So, how does this impact us? It indicates we are taking an action step. True action for a divine life is not necessarily empowering us to get the donkeys (although, as most of you know, I love my donkeys). So often we think we’re alone, and we have to do everything; we have the weight of the world on our backs, and we trudge along even though life is hellish. We feel we have to think only about getting the donkeys back.
If I will listen to my guidance from God, if I will be open, I might have a wonderful message come to me that says, “Hey, Pastor Peggy, get off of it. Don’t worry about the donkeys. There is something else here that is much higher than just your lower human nature. There is a mission; it’s been around you all along. If you will only open your eyes to the beauty of it, you will find it and it will be a joy for you. But you have to be open to the side trips that will come as part of your journey.”
As they were going down to the outskirts of the town, Samuel said to Saul, “Tell the boy to go on before us, and when he has passed on, stop here yourself for a while, that I may make known to you the word of God.” Samuel took a vial of oil and poured it on his head, and kissed him; he said, “The Lord has anointed you ruler over his people Israel. You shall reign over the people of the Lord and you will save them from the hand of their enemies all around.”
Then he told him of the wonderful things that would occur on their way during their journey home. Remember, when we’re going with God, not only is the journey there fun, but the journey home is fun also. There are always new experiences for us.
Samuel told Saul that two men would be by Rachel’s tomb in the territory of Benjamin and will tell him that the donkeys are okay and not to worry about them. Now, we still have that human mind, and we still cannot have a totally good time because we are consumed with worry about our donkeys. Don’t worry about it; God will provided.
Samuel continued: then, by the oak of Tabor, you will see three men carrying three loaves of bread. They are going to give you two loaves of bread. Remember, they were out of bread before. Now they have bread that will sustain them much longer than they need for the short journey they have to travel.
Samuel also told him: you will also meet a band of prophets coming down from the shrine with a harp, a tambourine, a flute, and a lyre playing in front of them. They will be in a prophetic frenzy. Then the spirit of the Lord will possess you, and you will be in a prophetic frenzy along with them, and you will be turned into a different person.
We’re all on a journey, a journey within the journey. If we’re really listening to God, if we’re really believing that God can appear in the moment, we’re going to have a prophetic excitement come into our lives.
It’s joy and euphoria. We’re going to give our life the light touch, God’s touch. We’re going to know that we can hop out of the rut we have been in for so long, and we’re going to feel good. In that moment, we will be turned into a different person. – when we accept God’s light burdens instead of our human heavy ones.
We rarely experience life if we are in bed with the covers pulled up over us or if we’re sitting around watching television. We have to take action. We have to move, not just in a straight line, but from side-to-side, and sometimes backward, and sometimes we have to look up and down to see all the wonders God has for us.
Instead of buying into the ideas that are all-consuming in our lives (like the donkeys), let’s see what else is on the journey, and see what good God has. Whenever we have our decisions made, our minds made up, our direction plotted, let us also keep our eyes OPEN to something else, something Divine..
Many of the finer things in life, like happiness and tranquility, peace and fame, are the gains that are most precious and the ones that come from the search for something else.
Going to look for donkeys may be mundane, but it’s not necessarily bad. Let’s say that something bad happens to you, and you have to face that unwanted journey.
We think that the things that come to us aren’t related at all. When something happens to us that is change, we think it interrupts us in our life journey. But perhaps there is God’s special help bringing us the highest message for our life that we could possibly have, if we will listen.
I’ve looked back on my life. Many of the things that have happened to me that I considered disastrous in the moment turned out to the be greatest blessings that have ever happened in my life – amazing! Thank God that it did take place. I would have stayed in my rut and would have never turned in a different direction had it not happened.
Only the good from God comes to our lives, when we’re fully aware of His ever-abiding help. After today, let’s each try to see beyond the immediate experience and know that every event is connected with and to something higher. I pray we will view events in a way that will create a personal destiny for us that is as wonderful as anything we have ever read about.
Does life have any tricks up its sleeve? Yes it does – in our favor. There are wonderful things that will happen, if we are willing to see and catch God’s blessing in it. If we are willing to extract these secrets from our lives, our lives will become higher and better than anything we have ever experienced.
So, instead of becoming the king of Israel, Saul could have said, “No, I don’t have time right now, but thanks anyway. I don’t have time to go to your feast. I don’t have time to be anointed. I don’t have time because I am on a journey for my father, and I love my father. I’m going to find his donkeys.
When you’re looking for your “donkeys” and someone offers you something really fantastic, step back for a minute and say to yourself, “Wait a minute, is something wonderful about to happen in my life? Maybe I want to think about this. Maybe I want to choose to go this way.” When you do, life becomes incredible.
Remember, we tend to resist learning about what we don’t already know. We need to expect the unexpected, hop out of our rut, and become an explorer in our own lives.
If you do, (and you will), life will be great.
May God bless you!