Hearing God’s Voice #5
Don’t Speak Presumptuously
Last week we looked at Deuteronomy 18:20-22, where a false prophet has a few definitions, including someone who “speaks presumptuously in His Name.” A while back, I discovered this fantastic passage in 1 Samuel. God told Samuel to go and anoint the new king who would replace Saul. Samuel wasn’t sure who he was looking for, as God had chosen to withhold that information and only tell him which family to visit.
As we have discussed before, knowing God’s voice involves knowing Him. Samuel was the prophet of the day, and he knew how to hear God’s voice since he was a young boy (see 1 Samuel chapter 3 for his details!) In this passage we find that even God’s prophet has the temptation to look at the flesh instead of listening to God’s voice! These verses explain Samuel’s first reaction upon meeting the family.
“When they entered, he looked at Eliab and thought, ‘Surely, the LORD’s anointed is before Him‘” (1 Samuel 16:6).
What was Samuel using here? Was he practicing his senses, like Hebrews 5:14 says? No, he was using his eyes and his reason, his mind. Luke 5:22 says, “But Jesus, aware of their reasonings, answered and said to them, ‘Why are you reasoning in your hearts?’” We must look past our own reasoning and logic skills to hear His voice more clearly. This is why we must flee from fleshly lusts. Let us listen past our own minds to hear Him!
Right after Samuel looked with his eyes and used his reason to believe that Eliab was God’s choice for king, God interrupted his thoughts! (How blessed Samuel must have been…the rest of us might have to listen a lot harder before we hear His interruption!) Here’s 1 Samuel 16:7:
“But the LORD said to Samuel, ‘Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”
This is such a great passage. First, Samuel looked on his own to determine who the king would be. His first reaction was that it must be Eliab! Why not? He was the oldest, he was apparently good-looking. What more could you want in a king? It’s a good thing that Samuel did not choose to speak presumptuously at this point! I think we all have assumed things to be from the Lord when in fact they are actually from ourselves and our own reasoning. But we must wait until we hear God’s voice instead of our own.
Just think of what might have happened if Samuel spoke and anointed Eliab instead of his brother David! First of all, it would have been a disobedient move that would have separated him from the voice of God. Secondly, just imagine the family strife that would occur when David appeared and God said, “Uh…Samuel, this was the right one, not him!” Lastly, because the Lord specifically said, “I have rejected him,” (1 Samuel 16:7) of Eliab, if Samuel had anointed him, Israel would have another terrible king! Yikes!
After God interrupted Samuel’s thoughts, he proceeded to look upon the rest of Jesse’s sons.
“Then Jesse called Abinadab and made him pass before Samuel. And he said, ‘The LORD has not chosen this one either.’ Next Jesse made Shammah pass by. And he said, ‘The LORD has not chosen this one either.’ Thus Jesse made seven of his sons pass before Samuel. But Samuel said to Jesse, ‘The LORD has not chosen these’” (1 Samuel 16:8-10).
It must have been difficult for Samuel to keep saying no to Jesse concerning each of his sons. But instead of considering them, he waited upon the Lord. When all the sons had passed by, it appears that Samuel was confused. “And Samuel said to Jesse, ‘Are these all the children?’ And he said, ‘There remains yet the youngest, and behold, he is tending the sheep’” (1 Samuel 16:11).
So today’s lesson summed up: When you simply look with the eyes and reason with your mind, you may not be hearing God accurately. Wait for Him to speak and then speak the same.