The day before, the Lord had told Samuel, “At this time tomorrow I will send a man to you. He will be from the tribe of Benjamin. You must anoint him and make him the new leader over my people Israel. This man will save my people from the Philistines. I have seen my people suffering, and I have heard their cries for help.” 1 Samuel 9:15-16
The circumstances sending Saul to Samuel for the first time are rather funny. The donkeys of Kish, Saul’s father, went missing, and so Saul went off with a servant to search for these lost donkeys. They went throughout the land, which was roughly 25 miles in length and twelve in width, and of which forced Saul to walk through Ephraim’s hilly terrain (1 Sam. 9:4) and the Western mountains.  In fact, the Bible describes their search with these words: “Then Saul traveled through the land of Benjamin, but he and the servant still could not find the donkeys.”
Imagine looking for every possible place for lost donkeys! And yet this seemingly exasperating family chore of donkey-searching (remember: there were no trains or buses or cars available yet!) was the very thing that God used to get the first king of Israel in front of the Prophet Samuel.
It’s nice to know that even before Saul came before Samuel, God already told Samuel to expect the arrival of this future king. “At this time tomorrow…” said the Lord.
Nothing really surprises the Lord. He can cause circumstances to bend toward His plans, especially if these plans involve a nation’s future.
Many times, we don’t understand the circumstances in our lives. They may not seem important at all in the big scheme of things; they can tire us; and yet they can be used by God to pivot our lives.
This little account of Saul ought to show us how God is in the details of setting us up so we can move forward in the destiny He wants us to have. God knows what He is doing. He is our Great Shepherd who guides His sheep. If we only see the end of our little (or sharp!) noses, God can see beyond the streets and into time, and into the big picture of history. Can we trust God even if our lives don’t make so much sense? Can we believe that our lives are significant in His sight and in the big scheme of things? Even when life throws us chore after chore after chore— can we trust God’s heart for us?
Samuel anoints Saul in the next chapter, which is chapter 10 of 1 Samuel. He narrates to Saul a specific set of occurrences that would happen to him when he leaves the prophet; part of which would be a powerful encounter with God when he meets a company of other prophets. Samuel says this: “Then the Lord’s Spirit will come on you with great power. You will be changed. You will be like a different man. You will begin to prophesy with these prophets” (1 Sam. 10:6).
Who can change a man effectively? Who can turn a nobody into a somebody? Only God can.
At this point, take a moment to reflect on the circumstances of your life. Do you see how God may be shaping your destiny through your circumstances? If they are too difficult to make sense of, it would be a good time to pray and simply trust Him. Remember: God can use circumstances as mundane as finding lost donkeys (or lost earrings or lost handkerchiefs) to propel you forward to the next step of your future. Ask the Good Shepherd to lead you where He wants you to go. As you walk in His paths, believe that every encounter you have with the Lord will also change you for the better.
Janina Marie Rivera is the Editor-in-Chief of One Voice Magazine, a teacher of world literature, and a student of the Bible. She enjoys reflecting on life’s curve balls and plateaus. She resides in the Philippines, the country known for people who smile a lot.
why did the Saul’s donkey get lost? why Saul did not give them carrots to stay at home?