And the watchmen of Saul in Gibeah of Benjamin looked, and behold, the multitude was dispersing here and there. Then Saul said to the people who were with him, “Count and see who has gone from us.” And when they had counted, behold, Jonathan and his armor-bearer were not there. So, Saul said to Ahijah, “Bring the ark of God here.” For the ark of God went at that time with the people of Israel. Now while Saul was talking to the priest, the tumult in the camp of the Philistines increased more and more. So, Saul said to the priest, “Withdraw your hand.” – Samuel 14:16-19
How many people would you influence if you turned AWAY from God? We regretfully don’t realize the extent of our influencing until it is too late. Every response and reaction has profound effects on others – both for good and for bad. But, the Lord never wastes our faithful following in obedience. In fact, it’s critical for our role in the church (1 Corinthians 12:12-17) and in the world (1 Peter 2:9-12).
In Deuteronomy 29:18, God gives a charge to Israel to be faithful to His covenant “so that there may not be man or woman or family or tribe, whose heart turns away from the Lord our God.” Israel’s first king, Saul, disregarded faithfulness to God’s commands, walked more in his own selfish way, and promoted his prideful heart. Saul kept slipping further and further away from the Lord. Then, in the heat of this moment, as Israel’s “leader,” he took matters into his own hands to ruthlessly keep control of everything. But, God’s plan prevailed regardless of what Saul did and in spite of Saul’s striving. Saul lost influence and instead got swept up into God’s movement that not he but Jonathan instigated.
Now think how many people you could influence by turning TO God. Being a whole-hearted follower of God and his commandments can speak louder than any words you speak. Your uncompromising and immediate obedience when God shows you the way, can influence more people than you could ever imagine. Consider what fears might become a barrier to walking in faithfulness. Confess any fear you have in getting up and following God. Then, proactively look for God’s movement instead of being reactive like Saul.
By Donna Burns