Revelation by Elimination
Would it not be great if God spoke to us as He did to Saul/Paul, Moses and the other Bible greats? Would it not be great if when He spoke to us, He told us directly what He wanted us to do or who to speak to? Personally, I’ve prayed many times for God to show me who to speak to, waiting patiently for an answer, and all I got was an increasing awareness of the silence.
But I was reminded this morning that sometimes God speaks to us through a process of elimination. Consider Samuel anointing King David (see 1 Samuel 16:1-13). When he went to the house of Jesse, God only told him to go there and that once there, He would show him who He was to anoint as king over Israel. When he got there, Jesse’s sons were presented to him one by one, and as Samuel went through each son asking/stating surely this is the one, each time God said no. Would it not have been easier for God to just have told Samuel “Go to the house of Jesse and anoint his son David to be the next king of Israel?” Surely this would have been a more productive use of Samuel’s time! Yet God chose NOT to operate like that.
Now it may be argued that in today’s times, we have the Holy Spirit and as a result, God speaks differently – more directly – to us through His Spirit. And yes there are those times when God chooses to speak directly and you just know, because you know, because you know, because you know, because you know, that that is what God is saying to you. But I want to contend that Samuel was one of God’s greatest prophets and probably full of the Spirit from a young age (see 1 Samuel 2:26, 3:7 & 19). I want to contend too, that God is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow (see Hebrews 13:8) and that the manner in which God spoke to His people in the past, is by no means set aside for how He may choose to speak to us today. It is our responsibility however, to be aware of how He does speak and to “co-labor” with Him in the process.
Consider also the criteria Paul lays down for the appointment of elders (see Titus 1:5-9). Note that he did not instruct them to pray for guidance (although I am sure that they would have) and he did not say that the Holy Spirit would tell exactly who to appoint. More specifically, note that there was a list of criteria that needed to be met (eliminated from the list as having been met), before someone could be appointed as an elder.
I cannot answer why it is that God chooses to speak to us in this way. I can simply highlight to you what Scripture says and point us all in the right direction. What I do know, is that God still does speak to us today; we just need to be “tuned” in and to recognise His methods of communicating with us.
As a personal testimony of this in practice, I was praying for a couple of people and really just asking God to bless each of them. But instead of “blanketing” the group of men with a general prayer, I named each person, saying something like “Lord, please bless so and so today….” As I named one of the men, God gave me a prophetic vision for him which I shared with him. Yet if I had not named him by name, working through my list and eliminating each name off my list, God would never have given me what He did for him. And through this experience, both he and I were blessed.
I don’t know how God wants to speak to you. I don’t know what God wants to say to you. I can only give you guidelines. It’s up to you to run with it. Make a list of the names of the people and the circumstances you are praying for, and simply name them by name in your prayer time. There will probably be many, MANY times when God does not speak to you specifically for anyone or about anything. But it’s good none the less to pray a blessing over people’s lives and to pray all the time and for all things (see 1 Thessalonians 5:17, 1 Timothy 5:5, Ephesians 6:18). And it doesn’t have to be the same list daily. But HAVE a list. And work through it. Who knows!! Maybe God tells you to go tell someone on your list that they are to be the next king (president).
my name is darryl
and this is what I have to say
Scripture verses (NIV)
1 Samuel 16:1-13
The LORD said to Samuel, “How long will you mourn for Saul, since I have rejected him as king over Israel? Fill your horn with oil and be on your way; I am sending you to Jesse of Bethlehem. I have chosen one of his sons to be king.” … Invite Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will show you what to do. You are to anoint for me the one I indicate.” Samuel did what the LORD said. … When they arrived, Samuel saw Eliab and thought, “Surely the LORD’s anointed stands here before the LORD.” But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” Then Jesse called Abinadab and had him pass in front of Samuel. But Samuel said, “The LORD has not chosen this one either.” Jesse then had Shammah pass by, but Samuel said, “Nor has the LORD chosen this one.” Jesse had seven of his sons pass before Samuel, but Samuel said to him, “The LORD has not chosen these.” So he asked Jesse, “Are these all the sons you have?” “There is still the youngest,” Jesse answered, “but he is tending the sheep.” Samuel said, “Send for him; we will not sit down until he arrives. So he sent and had him brought in. He was ruddy, with a fine appearance and handsome features. Then the LORD said, “Rise and anoint him; he is the one.” So Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the presence of his brothers, and from that day on the Spirit of the LORD came upon David in power. Samuel then went to Ramah.
1Sa 2:26, 3:7 & 19
And the boy Samuel continued to grow in stature and in favor with the LORD and with men. … Now Samuel did not yet know the LORD: The word of the LORD had not yet been revealed to him. … The LORD was with Samuel as he grew up, and he let none of his [Samuel’s] words fall to the ground.
The reason I left you in Crete was that you might straighten out what was left unfinished and appoint elders in every town, as I directed you. An elder must be blameless, the husband of but one wife, a man whose children believe and are not open to the charge of being wild and disobedient. Since an overseer is entrusted with God’s work, he must be blameless—not overbearing, not quick-tempered, not given to drunkenness, not violent, not pursuing dishonest gain. Rather he must be hospitable, one who loves what is good, who is self-controlled, upright, holy and disciplined. He must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it.
Then they prayed, “Lord, you know everyone’s heart. Show us which of these two you have chosen to take over this apostolic ministry, which Judas left to go where he belongs.” Then they cast lots, and the lot fell to Matthias; so he was added to the eleven apostles.
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.
1 Thessalonians 5:17
1 Timothy 5:5
The widow who is really in need and left all alone puts her hope in God and continues night and day to pray and to ask God for help.
And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.