The Path of God’s Promotion
Oftentimes we want to know just exactly where the Lord would have us go, what His plans are for us, where we’re going to end up in life. It can be tempting to look for signs, confirmations, or seek a word. We want to know, “Lord, what are you going to do with me? How are things going to turn out?” I’d like to put forth a premise that ultimately, when God wants to use us, He finds us and often makes His will known while we are exercising our ordinary good judgment and living through normal circumstances. Here’s a story to reflect on:
Saul, before he became king of Israel, was sent out by his father to find lost donkeys. His servant accompanied him and together they set out, traveling to different places, but to no avail. “Saul said to his servant, who was with him, ‘Come, let us go back, lest my father cease to care about the donkeys and become anxious about us.’ But he said to him, ‘Behold, there is a man of God in this city, and he is a man who is held in honor; all that he says comes true. So now let us go there. Perhaps he can tell us the way we should go.” (1 Sam. 9:5b-6, ESV)
Now, the man of God they were seeking was Samuel, the last judge of Israel. Samuel was not only a prophet, but he had been called by God to lead Israel. Saul and the servant sought Samuel out because they had a very specific question regarding a specific need (where are the donkeys?). But as it so happened, the people of Israel had cried out to have a king placed over them, rather than a judge. And the Lord told Samuel to give them what they wanted.
We read in the story, after Saul and the servant make their way toward Samuel, that “the day before Saul came, the Lord had revealed to Samuel: ‘Tomorrow about this time I will send to you a man from the land of Benjamin, and you shall anoint him to be prince over my people Israel.” (v.15-16)
So, we see that while Saul was heading toward Samuel for a completely ordinary purpose (trying to find his father’s livestock), the Lord was actually leading Saul to Samuel so that Saul could be anointed king. Saul hadn’t asked to know what God was going to do with him, he wasn’t seeking anything great. He was just faithfully carrying out his ordinary responsibilities when the Lord chose to take him to a higher level.
And moreover, Saul didn’t assume he was worthy of the honor. When Samuel told him that God had chosen Saul to be king, he replied: “Am I not a Benjaminite, from the least of the tribes of Israel? And is not my clan the humblest of all the clans of the tribe of Benjamin? Why then have you spoken to me in this way?” (1 Sam. 9:21) Not only was Saul not seeking greatness, he was surprised that he would have been chosen at all. If we look at stories of others chosen by God, we often see the same mindset. More on that topic can be found here: Seeking to Be Used by God
The path of God’s promotion is faithfulness to what is before you today. It is obedience and diligence in your everyday tasks. It is simple faith in God’s word and in His sovereignty over all. When (and if!) He sees fit to give you greater responsibility, a wider reach, or a more prominent position, He is able to make His choice abundantly clear of His own initiative…and it might just be a surprise.