In 1 Samuel 28, King Saul’s fear and insecurity are exposed as he faces the Philistine army. He had already lost the assurance of God’s protection, and he was scared of everything – the future, going bankrupt, losing his status, what others thought of him. But what he didn’t know was that these feelings of fear and jealousy were indicators that he was out of fellowship with God.
In his lack of communion with God, Saul was met with silence. Time and time again, he tried to hear from the Lord, but time and time again, the Lord didn’t answer him. God had shut out Saul from His direction. That’s a terrifying place to be.
In his attempts to save himself, Saul visits a medium fortune teller) and has an encounter with the deceased Samuel (supposedly). Samuel asks why Saul has disturbed him, to which Saul replies:
1 Samuel 28:15 “I am in great distress, for the Philistines are warring against me, and God has turned away from me and answers me no more, either by prophets or by dreams. Therefore, I have summoned you to tell me what I shall do.”
The reply Saul got was true, but it wasn’t what he wanted. Nor did it fill him with courage.
1 Samuel 28:19 “Tomorrow you and your sons will be joining me here in the land of the dead.”
Saul was so desperate to know what God wanted him to do that he missed God Himself completely.
He wasn’t interested in knowing God. He only wanted God’s protection from the Philistines to preserve his own life. So, he resorted to tactics he knew to be sinful, because ‘God’s will’ had replaced God Himself.
The truth is that God never promises that following Him will keep us from failing. Rather, He tells us that in all things – success or failure – He will sustain and be enough for us, and He will use our lives to bring glory to him.
Like Saul, a lot of Christians today make finding God’s will an idol. They may not actively visit fortune tellers or pray to demons to do it – though New Age spiritual practices like this are on the rise, even in Churches – more likely, they put all of their energy into knowing God’s will instead of knowing God Himself.
They’ll use Scripture verses for encouragement and peace of mind, but they’ll never read the Bible to know for themselves what God truly wants for their lives.
These people are religious, but like Saul, they’re only using God for what they think they can get from Him – some kind of guarantee against failure in the future.
But the truth is that God never promises that following Him will keep us from failing. Rather, He tells us that in all things – success or failure – He will sustain and be enough for us, and He will use our lives to bring glory to Him.
Should we seek God’s will? Absolutely! We should even be active in it, praying for guidance and provision wherever God sends us. However, the Christian faith is all about relationship, so seeking God Himself must always take priority over seeking God’s will. In reality, the more we seek God Himself, the more we will discern His will in the context of an intimate, loving relationship.
This is true in all relationships – the closer we come to another person – the more we will know their heart, their priorities, their desires and their ‘will.’ The same is true with God.
Knowing God’s will is the natural outcome of knowing God.