Continuing to talk while someone else is speaking is generally considered bad manners—unless you are in a position of authority. God certainly qualifies. He cut off Samuel, ignored his question, and proceeded to lay out His instructions. God talks over us sometimes.
Now the Lord said to Samuel, “How long will you grieve over Saul, since I have rejected him from being king over Israel? Fill your horn with oil and go; I will send you to Jesse the Bethlehemite, for I have selected a king for Myself among his sons.” But Samuel said, “How can I go? When Saul hears of it, he will kill me.” And the Lord said, “Take a heifer with you and say, ‘I have come to sacrifice to the Lord.’ You shall invite Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will show you what you shall do; and you shall anoint for Me the one whom I designate to you.” (1 Sam. 16:1-3)
Samuel knew King Saul well. Long before Saul’s insecurity manifested in spear throwing temper tantrums, Samuel had detected a jealousy of rivals. When God told Samuel that Saul was on the out and a replacement needed anointing, Samuel objected.
When God instructs us, our brains begin to process His words. Our minds, so attuned to self-preservation, convenience, and easy results, don’t take long to flag every danger and difficulty.
“If I share the gospel with so-and-so, that person might be angry and avoid me in future.”
“If I pray for X and God does not heal, I will look foolish and God will be dishonored.”
Samuel could not see beyond Saul’s authority; in Samuel’s mind, Saul’s attitude toward rivals was an insurmountable problem. “How can I go?”
It is not that God couldn’t care less about our concerns; He understood Samuel’s position. There are times when God chooses to comfort us or to explain what He is up to—but not always. In this incident, what mattered was that Saul was not in charge of history, God was. Although Samuel was unable to see past Saul, God knew that Saul was irrelevant. So He proceeded with His directions. “Take a heifer, organize a sacrifice, and invite Jesse. And don’t forget the anointing oil.” Samuel knew God so well that he was able to gulp back his fear. “Oh well, if God says do it, then it will turn out OK.” He had learned to recognize God’s voice while still a child.
It would be nice if God only called us to do what is easy and comfortable. “Nothing too stretching now, God; You know how easily I become stressed.” But the process of maturing spiritually will always involve new challenges. If we are to continue growing, we must learn to allow God to do the talking. Often we have to swallow our objections and focus on obeying the details of God’s directions.1
Are you able to recognize when God is talking over the top of you?
Do you know anyone who would benefit from pieces like this? Please share Bible Maturity with them.
- God rejected Saul from being king because Saul did not obey God in the details (1 Sam. 15:17-28). [↩]