HISTORICAL. We found in Chapter 8 of 1 Samuel that the elders of Israel came to the Prophet Samuel and wanted a king to rule over them. The Lord told Samuel that the people had rejected Him as their ruler, and to give them what they want (1 Samuel, chapter 8). Samuel explained to the people what the king would demand of them of labor and a 10% tax of everything.
The prophet Samuel, who was called a Seer (1 Samuel 9:9) anointed Saul, who was head and shoulders above every one else, to be the first king. This tall, humble young man (1 Samuel 9:2) was given a new heart and was changed into another man!! (1 Samuel 10:6,7,9) Samuel again warned the people of their wickedness for wanting a king, and also promised the people the Lord’s protection if they would serve Him in truth and obey the commandments. (1 Samuel 12:20-25)
Saul, however, did not perfectly follow the Lord’s instructions, and spared the Amalekites King, and the best of the sheep and livestock (1 Samuel 15:7-8), which displeased the Lord (v.15). Saul tried to justify his actions, and Samuel responds with remarkable words which culminates with “Hath the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams.” Saul is then stripped of his kingship, and told it would be given to a neighbor of his. (1 Samuel 15:28) And Samuel would never again see Saul until the day of his death. (v.35)
EXPERIENCES. It never ceases to amaze me of the power of children’s prayers. Back in 1972 I had been accepted to enter the Doctoral Program at the University of Oregon. I had given notice of leaving my position of Community School Director at Edmore, Michigan, and advertised the sale of our farm.
I continued to go to my office and take care of correspondence, and to take care of any transition of the Directorship to whoever might take over the position. The Superintendent, Morley Webb, told me he wouldn’t even look for another person “until I see the moving truck leave your place because I don’t even want to hire anyone else!”
Several weeks went by and we had no prospects of selling the farm, which meant we would not have the funds to either move or even sustain our five kids (we had just completed the process of adopting our two girls) and two black Labrador dogs), and the two of us. We had completely run out of money, and could not even advertise the farm or buy food or other essentials.
The kids were all primed to move to Oregon, where they could see the mountains and the Pacific Ocean, and go rock collecting. Barbara and I made it a matter of prayer. We were desperate, and needed Divine Intervention. There were those times when we hugged each other and wondered if God was really with us in this move. I remember one time that I tried to console my Sweetheart and said, “Don’t worry, Honey, God knows how it’s going to turn out.” She looked up at me, with tears in her eyes, and said, “I know he knows how it’s going to turn out, I just wish he’d let me in on it!”
We finally decided it was time to call the family together, and tell them we couldn’t go to Oregon. We called a family meeting up in the 3 boys’ bedroom. It was bedtime and the five kids, ages 5 to 14, sat around in their pajamas, and I broke the news.
“Kids: we haven’t been able to sell the farm, so we are now unable to go to Oregon.” It was a big shock! One of them said, “We thought that you said that God was leading you go to Oregon.” I said, “Well, I thought He was, but for some reason it hasn’t worked out. I’ll have to go down to the school tomorrow morning and sign my contract for another year so we’ll have money to live on.”
The oldest son, J, said, “Can you wait until noon?” I replied, “Yes, but why wait until noon?” He responded, “Because we will pray that God will send someone tomorrow morning to buy the farm!” Immediately, all five of them said, “Yes!”, and dropped to their knees, and one at a time poured out their hearts in prayer.
Barbara and I stood there, and held each other close. I wondered, “God, we’ve taught these kids to have faith, and now look at them, why they believe that it’s going to happen, and it looks like the time is past. How can you do this to them? This will destroy their faith.”
The next morning we were all just finishing breakfast when a car drove in the driveway. I told Barbara that it was probably someone needing direction, and I’d go see what they wanted. I went outside, and someone rolled down their car window and said, “Is this place for sale?” I said it was, and turned to Barbara and said, “I’ll show them the property.” I only got about 50 feet and another car drove in. “Is this place for sale?” Barbara just got started with them, and another car drove in. “Is this place for sale?” Before they could get out, the second people said, “We want it and we just sold our place, and we’ve got the cash, and how soon can you leave?”
We met at the local bank two days later and finalized the transaction, and five days later we were loaded in a large moving truck and our station wagon, and we left the farm. We will never forget the power of our kids’ prayers.
SURVIVAL AND TIPS FOR LIVING. I find that several things are important for survival and enjoyment for my side trips. I melt paraffin and dip matches in it to keep rain and dampness away so the matches will light, and the paraffin makes the matches burn longer, anyway. I can store them in a waterproof pill bottle. A salt shaker really comes in handy many times. I remember different times that I would be way in the backwoods fishing, and could catch a fish, gut it, impale it on a stick, and cook it over a small fire (that I started with my paraffin matches), and season it with my salt shaker!
It is really satisfying to have that fresh, delicious food right out there in God’s Nature!
A couple of good-sized trash bags are very useful, too. You can use one a rain coat by cutting a hole in the middle of the closed end for your neck, and the corner opened up for arm holes. You can also open up one bag and use it for a covering when sleeping outside.
A good folding jack-knife, a small pair of pliers, and a small spool of wire for making snares, and a small spool of braided fishing line, will help round out your necessities.
Until next time, GREENSTONE.