Fire in my Bones Youth for Jesus

We cannot surprise Him | By: J.O. Lawal | Date: March 27, 2024 | Series: Youth for Jesus | Number: Vol. 6, No. 46

“When you enter the land the LORD your God is giving you and have taken possession of it and settled in it, and you say, “Let us set a king over us like all the nations around us,” be sure to appoint over you the king the LORD your God chooses. He must be from among your own brothers. Do not place a foreigner over you, one who is not a brother Israelite.” (Deut 17:14-15NIV)

When the elders of Israel came to Samuel, who had been their judge for years, and requested that he give them a king, was he surprised? No, he was not surprised at all. Of course, he was not happy about it. Why was he not happy about it? First, it was because it showed that his sons, whom he had appointed as judges over the people, had terribly failed and disappointed them. (Cf. 1Sam 8:1-6)

Second, Samuel was not happy about their request because it showed that they were not after learning the will of God about the matter but had already come up with their own will. So, what they wanted was not for God to tell them anything about who would be their next judge but for Him to permit them to become like the nations around them and have their own king. That means they did not think that God’s philosophy of giving them judges was the best. They saw it as inferior to the philosophy of having kings, which the nations around them held.

But is man’s philosophy of having kings actually superior to God’s philosophy of giving him judges? No! As God told Samuel to tell the people, a king is not among his people as their equal; rather, he is among them as their ruler. So, he is going to exercise dominion over them, using whatever means he considers necessary. And they will just have to be subject to him, regardless of what they think about him and his ability to lead them. Otherwise, he will make sure their lives are utterly miserable. (Cf. 1Sam 8:6-18)

A judge, God’s chosen judge, however, is different from a king. He does not see himself as a ruler of his people but as their equal. So, he knows that for them to accept his leadership, he will have to earn it. And that was the case with all the judges that God had given the nation of Israel before they started having kings. All of them earned their right to lead the people and to be respected by them.

That, of course, also is how it ought to be in every place where democracy is practised today. Those who lead should be men and women who have earned their right to lead and to be respected through their persistence in doing good works and through their consistent display of wisdom and diligence in managing their own affairs. And is this the case where you are?

In any case, as I already pointed out, even though Samuel was not happy that the people were rejecting God’s plan and going for man’s plan, he was not surprised at all. Why? It was because, years before that happened, God had already said that a time would come when the people would do that. When did He say that? It was when the people were still with Moses in the wilderness and had not yet come into the Promised Land.

Now we see that in our opening bible verses. We see God announcing years ahead that the Israelites would one day demand to have a king over them, just like the nations around them. So, in addition to the points I already shared on Samuel’s unhappiness about their request for a king, another reason he was unhappy was that the word of God was eventually coming to pass in his own time. It was in his time that the people rejected God’s leadership plan for them and chose to adopt the plan of men.

In any event, since God had always known that the Israelites would someday ask for a king instead of a judge, their request for a king in Samuel’s time did not surprise Him. On the contrary, He was already prepared for them. In other words, before they made that request, He had been nurturing the man who would be their first king. So, when they made the request, He simply told Samuel to listen to them and give them what they wanted. And to make the job easy for the prophet, He lost no time at all in sending him Saul, the man who later became their first king. (Cf. 1Sam 9-10)

In like manner, when Saul began to misbehave, Samuel became unhappy again, not understanding why God’s choice would turn bad almost overnight. But again, as we see in the bible, Saul’s misbehaviour was not a surprise to God at all. Yes, He was very unhappy about it. But He was not surprised. Otherwise, He would not have prepared young David to replace him. (Cf. 1Sam 3-16)

What is the point of all this? It is that we cannot surprise God. Otherwise, He would not be God. But He is God. And as God, He knows everything, the end from the beginning. So, He is able to fix any situation for us, as long as we allow Him to fix it. Yes, we may have surprised ourselves and perhaps others around us with the mess we have made of our lives, homes or affairs. But God is not surprised at all. He has always known how things will turn out. He has always known where we will listen to Him and not fall and where we will not listen and fall. Also, He has always known where others will unduly interfere with our lives and mess things up for us.

So, He probably has a million and one solutions standing by for us for every problem. All He needs us to do is to just allow Him to fix things for us. And they will be fixed, however messed up they may seem. But as long as we keep thinking that He is always as surprised about the happenings of our lives as we are, we will continue to think of Him as a clueless God, as a God who has to settle down first to think of how to deal with our problems. And where that is the case, unless we are shown mercy by Him, we may never escape from the ruins of our lives.

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3 replies on “We cannot surprise Him | By: J.O. Lawal | Date: March 27, 2024 | Series: Youth for Jesus | Number: Vol. 6, No. 46”

This is really loaded, we can not surprise God with out behavior because He already know what we are up to even before we act.

God bless you sir.

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We cannot surprise God, we can only surprise ourselves because even before we throw a surprise, God himself knows..

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