What a weird title for today’s content. But I promise – it’s straight out of Scripture! But what does “looking for donkeys” have to do with God’s timing? Sometimes “looking for donkeys” oddly describes life. But that’s not reason enough to designate a full article to it. So, what is reason enough? I’ll give you a clue. It has a lot to do with God’s timing.
The Back Story
To begin, let’s dive into 1 Sam. 9:1-27. You can read this chapter on your own, but let’s briefly explore its content points:
- Saul was the son of Kish, a Benjaminite.
- He was young, handsome, taller than most others, and he stood out in a crowd.
- This chapter reveals Saul still had a humble, pure heart at this earlier stage of his life.
- God put Saul and his servant on “Donkey Hunt” . . . for three days! Saul’s dad’s donkeys somehow wandered off, not to be found.
- Saul’s servant was wise and had integrity – a good thinker who focused on his master’s success rather than is own. He even offered his own money to accomplish their task of finding and giving a gift to the “man of God.” (who might help them find their donkeys!)
- This hunt for donkeys was ordained by God, perfectly timed to cross these two men’s paths with Samuel, the “man of God.”
- While these guys were running all over the place, chasing donkeys, God was speaking to Samuel with instructions of what to do when Saul and his servant showed up.
- Samuel knew he was to anoint Saul as king over God’s people.
- This is what Samuel said when they finally met up together in God’s timing. “Go up ahead of me to the high place, for today you are to eat with me, and in the morning I will send you on your way and will tell you all that is in your heart. As for the donkeys you lost three days ago, do not worry about them; they have been found.” (v. 19-20)
That gets us started.
God worked out His intricate plan down to the minutes where these three men would meet. Interestingly, God used lost donkeys to connect them. Even though the donkeys had already been found and were safely kept to return to Kish, God was busy doing something else here. “Donkey Hunt” was for His own incredible purposes.
The day before, God had told Samuel about His timing. Here’s how He said it, “About this time tomorrow I will send you a man from the land of Benjamin. Anoint him ruler over My people Israel; he will deliver them from the hand of the Philistines. I have looked on My people, for their cry has reached Me.” (v. 16) And He used donkeys to get this done. Notice God’s people had been crying out to God – also waiting for His timing.
When Saul and his servant asked where Samuel could be found, the townspeople told them Samuel was headed to a special celebration. So Saul and his servant headed that direction. “When Samuel caught sight of Saul, the Lord said to him, “This is the man I spoke to you about; he will govern My people.” (v. 17)
So, Samuel was relying on God to show him in the appointed moment who Saul is. He didn’t know before hand. Once they were identified, Samuel invited the two men to the celebration and told them the donkeys were fine.
At The Celebration Feast
By faith, a special portion of meat had been set aside – ahead of time. Samuel had asked the cook to set it aside until he requested it. At the appointed moment, Samuel asked the cook to bring that special portion to the table. This meat was set aside for the future king – for Saul. Verse 24c says, “. . .it has been kept for you until the appointed time.” (AMP)
God is so invested in human history – and in your life – He keeps certain things until the appointed time. God’s commitment is very assuring, especially in difficult times. Though you do not know the details – trust Him. He’ll come through!
Ever Feel You Are Chasing After Donkeys?
Maybe you feel you aren’t making a difference or having meaningful impact. Just doing things as weird or meaningless as chasing after donkeys. I want to encourage you. If you are doing what God has put before you, remember that God’s timing puts everything strange, odd, senseless, or boring into context.
Since God knows everything before it happens, He threads creative intervention into circumstances. Nothing happens in your life God is not aware of before it comes to you. Some things cause His heart to ache for you because the world is broken from His original design. However, as you trust Him, He’ll always step in to help, guide, protect, and comfort you.
God creatively accomplishes His purposes despite our broken world. Because His plans are creative and surprising, they keep you wondering what He will do next. Nothing can blindside His plans. He says this, “I know the plans I have for you: plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jer. 29:11)
When you realize God has purpose and intimate interest in your life, a level of assurance springs up inside you. Someone really cares about everything that happens to you.
God’s Timing And Your Life
I want to share an idea as well as challenge you with a “self-eval exercise.”
God has impeccable timing. There’s no limit to His knowledge or power, and He loves you. Because He wants you to spend eternity with Him, He did something unthinkable. He commissioned His own Son to change His “personhood.” All that Jesus was/is –
- Almighty God
- Great Creator
- The Word
- Son of the Father
– would remain BUT He would also become a human person like you and me! So, The Word changed His very personhood to become Jesus. That, in itself, is mind-boggling. He truly is incredible!
So, the idea summarized is simply this: since there’s nothing God can’t do, and since He loves you deeply, He has a wealth of protective and tender timing woven into your life – because of what He did through Jesus.
Do you believe God has a wealth of protective and tender timing woven into your life? Do you believe He loves you deeply?
I challenge you to engage in this “self-eval exercise.” In all your daily duties and donkey chasing, live each moment by faith in the awareness that God holds all things together for you, even when you feel you are chasing donkeys. That’s straight out of Col. 1:17 – “He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.” Even for your life.
Now the points of your “self-eval exercise.” Think through what you’ve done so far today – or this week.
- First, what’s going on inside you?
- Next, how often have you turned to God for wisdom and guidance in your scenarios?
- Has your heart claimed and enjoyed the “peace that passes understanding” Jesus promised? (Phil. 4:7)
- Where has worry or anxiety affected your heart as you solve problems?
- Is your approach to your life one of serving and worshipping God who became human in the person of Christ?
- Do you trust God’s timing?
- Do you trust His love?
I encourage you to jot thoughts in a journal or in your device as you ponder those questions. Your “self-eval exercise” requires being pro-actively involved and honest. Otherwise, you can’t call it “self-eval.”
We can evaluate our own lives. But Scripture makes it clear God evaluates us, as well. Not only is there a “final eval” for every person when Jesus returns and sets up His Kingdom. There are daily evals along the way. Those evals, implementing principles of God’s Word, are helpful in growing to be more like Christ.
God doesn’t intend evals to be nerve-wracking final exam experiences. He simply wants you to –
- Call on Him,
- Seek Him with all your heart,
- Walk with Him,
- Ask for His wisdom and discernment,
- Trust Him,
- Obey Him,
- Love Him back, and
- Rest in His abiding love for you.
That’s how God evaluates you. Not your performance so much, but rather your heart toward Him. God’s timing is wrapped around adopting God’s principles in daily living.
Since He has kept certain things until the appointed time – you can live in peace. It’s all about God and you doing life together.
Scriptures say God accomplishes His purposes with His zeal. Is. 9:7 is an example. “The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this.” You can know God will accomplish whatever concerns you today.
Application Questions And Thoughts
- Have you been chasing donkeys, wondering what meaningful purpose your life has?
- Do you believe God holds all things together for you?
- Do you believe He has perfect, impeccable timing?
- How long has it been since you’ve done a “self-eval exercise?”
- Have you accepted God’s timing in your life?
- Will you welcome the zeal of the Lord into your heart, and let Him accomplish His good purposes?
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