How Do I Know "The One"?
Aug 24, 2019
A Cautionary Tale
When Saul was installed as the first king of Israel, the people thought they had a winner. He was described as handsome. In fact, there “was not a man among the people of Israel more handsome than he. From his shoulders upward he was taller than any of the people” (1 Samuel 9:2b ESV).
He was generally acclaimed when the prophet Samuel anointed him as king. “Generally” because there was a handful of worthless fellows who mocked his competence. When Saul led Israel to a military victory, his supporters wanted to lynch those naysayers, but he spared them.
This seemed like a promising start. Saul was charismatic, triumphant, and magnanimous. If this were a marriage, it seemed like a match made in heaven.
But cracks in Saul’s character began to show. Sometime later, their Philistine enemy mustered 30,000 chariots and 6,000 horsemen and troops, and prepared to attackIsrael. When Saul’s people saw that huge army, they lost their courage and scurried into caves, holes, tombs, and cisterns.
To solicit God’s favor, Saul waited for Samuel to meet him at a place where the latter was to offer a burnt sacrifice. But Samuel was running late and Saul was feeling the pressure. His own men were trembling and abandoning him, so he decided to make that sacrifice himself.
When Samuel finally arrived, he rebuked Saul for his lack of faith and gave this chilling indictment:
“You have done a foolish thing. You have not kept the command the Lord your God gave you; if you had, he would have established your kingdom over Israel for all time. But now your kingdom will not endure; the Lord has sought out a man after his own heart and appointed him ruler of his people, because you have not kept the Lord’s command” (1 Samuel 13:13-14).
That man after God’s own heart, of course, was David. Saul deteriorated into paranoia and jealousy. In the end, Saul faced certain defeat in battle and took his own life rather than be captured by his foes.
The lesson? Don’t be swayed by The One’s externals: looks, skills, or even apparent virtue. His true nature is revealed when he stands to lose something big. Fear unleashes the monster within him and when pressed far enough, that monster will consume him. The question is: will it also consume you?
A farmer was proud of a beautiful oak tree standing on his land. One morning, he found out that his prized tree had collapsed to the ground. A closer examination revealed that termites had been eating the tree’s insides for several years until it was so hollow and brittle that it cracked under its own weight.
A person with unstable character is like that tree. He may look good outwardly but his life will collapse in due time. Put positively, one who lives by high moral standards is like a flourishing tree that can withstand any storm.
Therefore, we should prize character. The key to telling that is to observe him under pressure.