(1 Samuel 8)
Israel asked for a king. Samuel was disappointed but the people were not pleased with his sons. As he prayed the Lord told him that it was Him, God Himself they had not wanted. “Give them what they want.”
People often ask but they frequently do not know what they are asking. More often they are asking for something more comfortable, less intense and not as dangerous.
I have more and more dreams as well as frequent visions of change in our region. I am sure others have their dreams of their regions as well. (Recently I saw New England changing dramatically. I saw pagans and witches being converted to the One.)
I have had lots of dreams about transformation, communities changed and lives touched. As I sat thinking this morning I thought, who will have eyes to see? Will we get past “us” to see Him.
I truly believe we are being asked “can these bones live?” The answer is less about what we believe (The prophet handed it off with “hmmmm…only you know.”) and more about what we hear, see and say. Too many are waiting for the move of God when He has placed the next great move in people.
Rest is not laziness. Seatedness is not inattention. Revelation is a fruit of understanding.
Will our eyes be open to His way of thinking?
What are we asking?
I wrote this earlier today.
Rabbit trails…lead to rabbits…but actually they lead to where the rabbit lives. A burrow. Burrows are a place of refuge. Sometimes our best rabbit trails are the ones that lead to refuge. In Him we find refuge.
God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. (Psalm 46:1)
Sometimes we just need to follow the rabbit. Not the urgent rabbit of Alice In Wonderland or the fearful rabbits of reality, but the rabbit that leads us to Him.
No beautiful tree ever grew up without doing a little weather. If you think you can grow up without a little heat, a little rain, a little rough weather, you might be mistaken.
Growing up takes courage sometimes.
What were they really asking of Samuel? Were they asking Him for safety? For comfort? For protection?
I read with interest a story of a car starting “by itself” in a garage. Only last week someone reminded me of the crazy keyboards I had that would start playing at unusual times during service. One time a friend borrowed it while he was traveling New England and when he got back, he looked at me and said “that, my friend is on crazy keyboard. In the middle of my teaching it ‘took over.'”
And so it is.
Is God always convenient? What do we do when He “really” shows up?
Years ago there was revival in a fishing community. Overtaken by His power. (Friends were personally involved.)
I simply think we are about to see the revealing of His goodness in ways we could not imagine.
Too often we are asking for the provision and protection He has already put about us and in us. We may want it a little less spooky, or a little quieter or to “look like Mama’s church.”
Years ago I was headed to a revival meeting in a foreign city. My life was upside down. My wife and I were having hard times. In the previous month I had been hit by a taxi, put in a body brace, put out of work, accused of wrongful things and had lost my thought process that God really loved me. I was angry, hurt, disappointed and frustrated. All the things I “thought” I was to be doing were put on hold. It seemed like there was not just a stop sign but I had been dropped in a cave somewhere.
Good friends thought getting us out of us and into God would be a good thing. The trip was horrendous, cold and quiet. I seethed with pain and anger. As I got closer to the end of the trip, to the city and to the meeting, my #1 concern was “what if God shows up?” I was scared. My theology was based on fear.
I had been through healing meetings where eyes, ears, bones and organs were healed. I saw the power of God pick people up off the floors and people’s lives changed. (But my life had been pretty tumultuous. People loved the things that happened but most had come to the conclusion that regular conversations and friendships with me were too intense.) And now I was nervous. My life was not in a good place. I believed I might be the next Ananias. (Bad teaching, I know.)
My first night in the meetings made me angrier than I was already. I spent the first night in front of a hotel room getting upset with God, laughter, “drunkenness” and grace.
Night two was not much better. I went and the power of God began to move on me. I could not move. I was getting frightened. We left for a meal and I began to come completely unglued in a Burger King. Laughter took over, I could not place an order and people were watching. Leaving the building restored my solemnity and I chalked it up to a bad atmosphere.
But then came the third day. My mind was on fire. I was seeing angels all over the place. “Tackled” by a man from England and a pastor from Norway, the power of God rained down in my life. I could not move. I could not “breathe.” I thought I might die as I lay on the floor for hours.
(So terrifying was my encounter that I told my wife if I start acting like this back at home, please put me away. I was not home 3 days when God showed up in a home group and the power of God relegated 28 people to “rest in Him.” The youth group I headed came under the power of God in a way that was unimaginable. I did not even pray. It forced me to examine just what I believed and how I believed.)
Who is this God? Just how powerful is He? I learned when people asked me if God is safe, my answer soon became “until He shows up.” There is an intensity of God that is uncomfortable, sometimes striking fear into people’s hearts. Little wonder they would prefer a king of flesh and bone.
When I say I want “all of God” what am I really asking? I know I am not asking for a baby in a manger nor do I believe that only part of Him dwells within me. At the time of my salvation I got Him…lock, stock and barrel.
I think I am looking for Him in whatever manner He shows up in. I do not carry my theology of fear, fearing that I am good enough or do enough. I believe He loves me and He is good. That alone makes a huge difference in what you want from God.
Israel had developed a “rules relationship” with a God they could not serve, rules they could not keep and a nature that could not trust.
In our born again lives we can have a relationship without rules, co-laboring with the King and a nature that is pure.
And when we see that who would not choose God as King?