Today we conclude our message series Prophetic Living. We’ve been following the life of the prophet Samuel to learn how to live in times of crisis. Today our message is entitled “Follow God’s Plan.” God has a plan for your life, a special plan designed just for you. In fact, God created you in such a way that you could fulfill His plan.
Ephesians 2:10 (ESV) For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
God is our creator and He has created each one of us as a human being. If you’re a believer in Jesus Christ, you’ve been made a new creation, you’ve been born again. This verse gives us the reason that God made us, we were created for a purpose. And that purpose is to do good works. Good works don’t save us, we are saved by faith in Jesus. But good works are the result of God working in your life. Those good works are God’s plan for your life.
What are these good works? Good works involve every aspect of your life as you serve the Lord. They include the small everyday things that we are to do for the Lord. As well as the big life-changing decisions that come from time to time. Now let’s look more closely at the last part of this verse. These good works that God has for us to walk in were prepared beforehand. God has made preparation, both in your life and in your circumstances to enable you to carry out His plan of good works. God has given you the strength, the wisdom, the resources, everything you need to carry our His plan. God know the future and nothing takes Him by surprise. He’s got the plan all figured out. You can trust Him and His preparation.
Someone might the question “What if I get off God’s path for my life?” That is basically what sin does, sin gets us off God’s path for our life. So how do you get back on the right path? Simply repent of your sin, ask for forgiveness and make a choice to get back on God’s path. Now, depending on our sin, the path may be different because of sin’s consequences, but God always has a path for you to follow.
Proverbs 3:5-6 (ESV) Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.
Straight paths are those that are God’s plan for your life. When you are follow God’s plan, you will have peace and joy. You don’t need to figure how everything is going to work out. Simply, trust in the Lord, listen to and follow Him and you can’t go wrong.
Today, we are going to learn how to have peace and joy in this current time of turmoil and crisis in our world. We’re going to look at how Samuel followed God’s plan which involved replacing King Saul. King Saul had gotten off God’s plan for his life and unfortunately did not get back on track. So God would use Samuel to anoint a new king who would follow God’s plan and get back on track if he got off. To follow God’s plan, we must first …
Last Sunday in our message Facing Crisis, we saw how God had rejected Saul as King because of his disobedience to God’s instructions. King Saul had gotten off God’s plan for his life.
1 Samuel 15:35 (ESV) And Samuel did not see Saul again until the day of his death, but Samuel grieved over Saul. And the LORD regretted that he had made Saul king over Israel.
Samuel as prophet was to speak God’s Word to the King and so give him God’s direction. However, now that Saul had refused to follow God’s direction, Samuel would no longer speak into his life. Samuel grieved over what could have been in Saul’s life if he would have followed God’s plan. At this point Samuel did not know what God had in mind for him next. He need to …
1 Samuel 16:1a (ESV) The LORD said to Samuel, “How long will you grieve over Saul, since I have rejected him from being king over Israel?
Basically, God told Samuel to get over looking backward to what could have been with Saul. What happened with Saul was not Samuel’s fault, the blame was squarely on Saul’s shoulders. It was not time for Samuel to see what was the next step in God’s plan for himself and for the nation of Israel. Just because Saul had failed did not mean that God’s plan had failed. God always …
1 Samuel 16:1b (ESV) Fill your horn with oil, and go. I will send you to Jesse the Bethlehemite, for I have provided for myself a king among his sons.”
The Lord told Samuel to get some oil to anoint the new king and to travel to visit Jesse in Bethlehem. Samuel did not have to pick the next king, God had already prepared and provided for the next king among Jesse’s sons. In God’s foreknowledge, he had provided for the next king even before Saul had been anointed king and before Saul had disobeyed. God was in control, but Samuel wasn’t so sure.
1 Samuel 16:2-3 (ESV) And Samuel said, “How can I go? If Saul hears it, he will kill me.” And the LORD said, … invite Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will show you what you shall do. And you shall anoint for me him whom I declare to you.”
Samuel thought that God had forgotten the detail that King Saul would not like him anointing a new king. But God had it all under control. He told Samuel exactly how to arrange the meeting and that God will tell him which son of Jesse he was to anoint as king. God had everything planned.
We see some very important principles about God’s plans in this story. No situation, no other person, no crisis can cause God’s plan for your life to fail. The failure of Saul did not cause God’s plan for Samuel’s life or Israel to fail. Saul’s failure and refusal to repent did cause God’s plan for his life to not come to pass. God is always in control, nothing surprises God, nothing messes up His plans.
The current crisis that we’re in is causing profound changes in our lives and in our world. Yet, God is still sovereign, He is still in control and His plan for our lives has not been thrown into disarray. Listen for God’s direction, He wants to speak to you and give your instruction. Be open to change, don’t get stuck in how you’ve always done things. Trust that God has everything planned and you are part of His good plan.
As a church, we are doing ministry different ways than we have done in the past, as we can no longer meet together physically. Take advantage of the new ways that we are meeting together for prayer, worship and fellowship with Zoom video conferencing. If you need help getting going, reach out and we’ll help you. Together we can follow and be blessed in God’s plan for our church in this time.
1 Samuel 16:6-7 (ESV) When they came, he looked on Eliab and thought, “Surely the LORD’s anointed is before him.” But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the LORD sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart.”
Jesse had 8 sons, the eldest was Eliab, whom Jesse brought before Samuel first. Samuel thought he was a fine-looking young man, tall of stature, fit for a king. But just as Samuel had the thought that Eliab was to be the Lord’s anointed, the Lord spoke to Samuel. The Lord told him that God was going to choose the next King, not Samuel. God is able to see what man can’t see, what is in a person’s heart. Samuel was learning to follow God’s plan, not his. He was learning to …
1 Samuel 16:10-11a (ESV) And Jesse made seven of his sons pass before Samuel. And Samuel said to Jesse, “The LORD has not chosen these.” Then Samuel said to Jesse, “Are all your sons here?” And he said, “There remains yet the youngest, but behold, he is keeping the sheep.” And Samuel said to Jesse, “Send and get him …”
Samuel goes through all seven of Jesse’s sons, but none of these was chosen by God. So Samuel inquires if there are any more. Jesse replies that there is the youngest or smallest son, but he is away shepherding sheep. Apparently, David’s father did not think that David even qualified to meet the prophet. But Samuel, following God’s instruction, asked for him to get David. Samuel was learning to …
1 Samuel 16:12-13 (ESV) And he sent and brought him in. Now he was ruddy and had beautiful eyes and was handsome. And the LORD said, “Arise, anoint him, for this is he.” Then Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the midst of his brothers. And the Spirit of the LORD rushed upon David from that day forward. And Samuel rose up and went to Ramah.
The Lord instructed Samuel to anoint David as King. When he did so, it says that the Spirit of the Lord came upon David and remained on him. As Samuel had followed God’s plan and God’s voice, the King for God’s plan had been chosen.
Oftentimes, God’s direction for our lives is different than what we want to do or even what we think is best to do. Why is that often the case? The reason why God’s plan is often different from our plan is that our understanding is limited. We look at outward appearances and try to project into the future from the past. God, on the other hand, sees into the hearts of men and knows what is going to happen in the future. In fact, He is actively engaged in arranged His plans for the future in the lives of people and through the circumstances of all aspects of life on this planet. Acknowledging the sovereignty of God should give us great hope in following His plans. You cannot go wrong in following God’s direction. And the Bible makes clear in many passages, that if you desire to follow God’s plan, He will reveal it to you, just as He did with Samuel.
1 Samuel 16:14-16 (ESV) Now the Spirit of the LORD departed from Saul, and a harmful spirit from the LORD tormented him. And Saul’s servants said to him, … Let our lord now command your servants who are before you to seek out a man who is skillful in playing the lyre, and when the harmful spirit from God is upon you, he will play it, and you will be well.”
In this last point, we are switching from focusing on Samuel to God’s plan unfolding for David’s life. Remember that at this point, Saul was still King. David had been anointed by Samuel, but Saul did not know this. God was directing events to prepare David to ultimately be king. Let’s see what God did. First of all, God removed His Spirit from Saul and allowed an evil Spirit to fill the vacuum and begin to torment Saul. Saul’s servants suggested seeking out someone who was skilled at playing worship music, that would repel the evil spirit. So the stage was set for …
1 Samuel 16:17-18 (ESV) So Saul said to his servants, “Provide for me a man who can play well and bring him to me.” One of the young men answered, “Behold, I have seen a son of Jesse the Bethlehemite, who is skillful in playing, a man of valor, a man of war, prudent in speech, and a man of good presence, and the LORD is with him.”
Saul gave his Ok to the plan for finding someone to help him with being tormented by this evil spirit. One of his servants suggested that David, son of Jesse would be a good fit. We see that even in this early stage of David’s life, he had a very good reputation. Not only could he play music, he was skilled in many ways and most importantly, the Lord was with him. So, God had opened the door for David to rise in power and understanding of ruling as a king in Saul’s court. But how would Saul get along with David?
1 Samuel 16:21-22 (ESV) And David came to Saul and entered his service. And Saul loved him greatly, and he became his armor-bearer. And Saul sent to Jesse, saying, “Let David remain in my service, for he has found favor in my sight.”
Here we see that Saul got along well with David. He loved him and thought so highly of him that Saul made David his armor-bearer, a important position, right next to the king. King Saul then sent word to Jesse to request that David leave his home with Jesse and remain with him in full-time service. God had granted David favor with Saul as part of his plan. Now, if you know the whole story, which we won’t go into this morning, you know that this favor would not last. However, this favor was an important part of God’s plan for David at this point in his life and development. God truly does direct all in His plan for our lives.
So how does knowing that God directs all help us face tomorrow. As we watch the news, every day seems to bring forth an even more dire prediction about the future course of the crisis. What can we do? First of all, we can take time every day to thank God that He is in control and is directing everything for His plan and purpose. We can praise God that He knows the future and nothing surprises Him. We should pray that God will give wisdom to our leaders at the city, state and national levels. We should ask God for wisdom in our individual lives, families and church. Believe that God will give wisdom and instruction in His time. And then simply follow His instructions, trusting Him to provide and protect us as we follow His plan.
God wants each of us to have peace and joy in our lives, even in the midst of crisis. That peace and joy comes as we listen for God’s direction, being open to changing ways of doing things in our lives. Follow God’s plan, not trying to walk in your own understanding. Put your trust in God, who directs all and opens and shuts doors in our lives as He sees fit for His plan. Thank God for His good plan for your life, that no one or situation can stop. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make straight your paths.