1 Samuel 9:1-27 (Part 1) – What’s Your Rock Hill Moment?: That Decision That Changes Everything

Posted: December 16, 2017 in 09-1 Samuel
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1 Samuel 9:1-27 (Part 1 of 2)
Saul Meets Samuel

The move to Rock Hill, SC after having lived in Greenville, SC area for 29 years (from age 14 to age 43) was a monumental move for me. Even though it was only an hour and a half away over in the metro Charlotte, NC area, it might as well have been a move to a foreign country for me. From age 0 to 14, as a Methodist preacher’s kid, I moved a lot but after my parents moved from the Greenville area when I was 18, I stayed behind and lived there til I was 43. So, the move was a major one for me. From January 2006 until September 2007, I worked as audit and compliance director for a company called Metromedia, Inc. Little did I know when I took the job the company was on the market to be sold to a foreign investment firm in London. Finally, the sale took place and the investment firm closed our corporate office down and would assume all those corporate functions over in Europe where all our telecommunications holdings were located anyway. With the sale and office shutdown, I was without a job. So, the whole moving the Charlotte seemed kind of senseless at that point from a professional standpoint. Now, here I was living in Charlotte area, alone, without a job, and my entire life history and my kids back in Greenville. This seemed like some tragic cruel Greek theatre of ancient times.

However, the whole point of moving to Rock Hill, SC was not being in the Charlotte area for my professional life. That was not the case, because I ended up only living in the Charlotte area from January 2006 to May 2008. And the irony of it all was that after my job was eliminated at Metromedia in September 2007, I ended up with a consulting firm called Vaco Resources that sent me on a long term assignment, guess where, in the Greenville, SC area (Duncan, SC to be exact). So, I was back in the Greenville area during the week (where I had lived for 29 years) and back to “home” in Rock Hill on the weekends from October 2007 through May 2008. It was so weird that I lived in Rock Hill but was working back in the Greenville area. Weird huh? So, what in the world could have been the purpose of Rock Hill in my life. Seems like a bad decision almost to have moved away from the place that I ended up back at.

But there was so much more to the time in Rock Hill that was necessary in my life. First, it taught me that I live somewhere other than Greenville, SC and that the world would not come crashing down if I did. My kids would adjust. Second, it taught me to embrace something new, a new world to explore. Third, it taught me to be my own man – to break free from the living my life to please a woman lifestyle – and that it is OK for you to be in charge of your own life, not having to get approval from someone else. Although this part of my life was painful – learning to be my own person – and the withdrawal from gaining approval from Trena or Lisa or whomever I was in a relationship with was difficult. It was finally in Rock Hill that I came to the conclusion that my life was not defined by having a woman in my bed and not to quit accepting relationships that we bad for me just so I could have a woman in my life. That was important and that lead to the main reason God had this brief stint in Rock Hill for me.

Without this final point, the whole move to Rock Hill would just seem like a random miscalculation in my professional career and in my personal life. However, the whole point of Rock Hill was to have the things in the previous paragraph happen that would ready me for the real reason that I moved to Rock Hill. It was so that I would meet Elena. That seemingly chance meeting at the laundry center/postal center at our apartment complex in Rock Hill was the reason for the move to Rock Hill. Now, when I look back at all the things that Elena and I have been through in the past decade together and how we have been so good for each other. How we ended up in California where we met Luke and Felisha and Livermore Alive Community Church where Elena accepted Christ as her Savior and Lord and where I finally began to grow up as a Christ follower. How that time there seemed to be so short and then we moved home to South Carolina and for me back to the Greenville, SC area. How Elena helped me to learn to live on less and not blow money foolishly. How we have been able to pay off debts and live more simply (and live more happily and generously as a result). How we found LifeSong Church in Lyman, SC. How we have been developed into leaders in the church there and how we are ready for God’s call to full-time ministry when it does finally come.

None of this, none of it, would have happened without the intersection of our lives, Elena and me, that was brought about when I moved to Rock Hill in January 2006. How much different would my life be right now without the circumstances that brought me to the place where moving to the Charlotte area seemed like a new start, a new beginning, and a risk that I was willing to take. Everything after that has changed everything. Everything after that hinges on that one decision to leave Greenville. It may seem like some random set of circumstances to you but all of it – Greenville to Rock Hill to the San Francisco Bay Area to Lyman-Duncan, SC area – but God was creating intersections that needed to happen in His plan for my life. There’s nothing random about it.

With that in mind, let us read this passage and see how something seemingly random is part of God’s plan. Let’s read 1 Samuel 9:1-27 together right now:

Chapter 9

1There was a wealthy, influential man named Kish from the tribe of Benjamin. He was the son of Abiel, son of Zeror, son of Becorath, son of Aphiah, of the tribe of Benjamin. 2 His son Saul was the most handsome man in Israel—head and shoulders taller than anyone else in the land.

3 One day Kish’s donkeys strayed away, and he told Saul, “Take a servant with you, and go look for the donkeys.” 4 So Saul took one of the servants and traveled through the hill country of Ephraim, the land of Shalishah, the Shaalim area, and the entire land of Benjamin, but they couldn’t find the donkeys anywhere.

5 Finally, they entered the region of Zuph, and Saul said to his servant, “Let’s go home. By now my father will be more worried about us than about the donkeys!”

6 But the servant said, “I’ve just thought of something! There is a man of God who lives here in this town. He is held in high honor by all the people because everything he says comes true. Let’s go find him. Perhaps he can tell us which way to go.”

7 “But we don’t have anything to offer him,” Saul replied. “Even our food is gone, and we don’t have a thing to give him.”

8 “Well,” the servant said, “I have one small silver piece.[a] We can at least offer it to the man of God and see what happens!” 9 (In those days if people wanted a message from God, they would say, “Let’s go and ask the seer,” for prophets used to be called seers.)

10 “All right,” Saul agreed, “let’s try it!” So they started into the town where the man of God lived.

11 As they were climbing the hill to the town, they met some young women coming out to draw water. So Saul and his servant asked, “Is the seer here today?”

12 “Yes,” they replied. “Stay right on this road. He is at the town gates. He has just arrived to take part in a public sacrifice up at the place of worship. 13 Hurry and catch him before he goes up there to eat. The guests won’t begin eating until he arrives to bless the food.”

14 So they entered the town, and as they passed through the gates, Samuel was coming out toward them to go up to the place of worship.

15 Now the Lord had told Samuel the previous day, 16 “About this time tomorrow I will send you a man from the land of Benjamin. Anoint him to be the leader of my people, Israel. He will rescue them from the Philistines, for I have looked down on my people in mercy and have heard their cry.”

17 When Samuel saw Saul, the Lord said, “That’s the man I told you about! He will rule my people.”

18 Just then Saul approached Samuel at the gateway and asked, “Can you please tell me where the seer’s house is?”

19 “I am the seer!” Samuel replied. “Go up to the place of worship ahead of me. We will eat there together, and in the morning I’ll tell you what you want to know and send you on your way. 20 And don’t worry about those donkeys that were lost three days ago, for they have been found. And I am here to tell you that you and your family are the focus of all Israel’s hopes.”

21 Saul replied, “But I’m only from the tribe of Benjamin, the smallest tribe in Israel, and my family is the least important of all the families of that tribe! Why are you talking like this to me?”

22 Then Samuel brought Saul and his servant into the hall and placed them at the head of the table, honoring them above the thirty special guests. 23 Samuel then instructed the cook to bring Saul the finest cut of meat, the piece that had been set aside for the guest of honor. 24 So the cook brought in the meat and placed it before Saul. “Go ahead and eat it,” Samuel said. “I was saving it for you even before I invited these others!” So Saul ate with Samuel that day.

25 When they came down from the place of worship and returned to town, Samuel took Saul up to the roof of the house and prepared a bed for him there.[b] 26 At daybreak the next morning, Samuel called to Saul, “Get up! It’s time you were on your way.” So Saul got ready, and he and Samuel left the house together. 27 When they reached the edge of town, Samuel told Saul to send his servant on ahead. After the servant was gone, Samuel said, “Stay here, for I have received a special message for you from God.”

In this passage, we remind ourselves that we often think that events just happen to us, but as we learn from this story about Saul, God may use common everyday events to lead us to where He wants us to be. It is important to evaluate all situations as potential divine appointments designed to shape our lives. Think of all the good and bad circumstances that have shaped your life. Can you see God’s purpose in the process? Perhaps we should learn to bathe our life decisions in prayer such that we can discern that life’s next step is the right one. Perhaps we should learn to trust the Lord that even a monumental change that seems oh so frightening and oh so scary and oh so different from our current, safe life is where He wants us to go. How much do you trust the Lord? Maybe in the random, scary, different, unknown things that God has laid in front of your there will be an intersection with people, events, and changes to your soul that God has intended for you. Trust the Lord! Take that first step into what God is calling you forward to do.

Maybe you will find your Rock Hill. Maybe you will find that defining moment that changes everything. Maybe….just maybe.

Amen and Amen.


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