1 There was a Benjamite, a man of standing, whose name was Kish son of Abiel, the son of Zeror, the son of Becorath, the son of Aphiah of Benjamin. 2 He had a son named Saul, an impressive young man without equal among the Israelites - a head taller than any of the others.
3 Now the donkeys belonging to Saul's father Kish were lost, and Kish said to his son Saul, "Take one of the boys with you and go and look for the donkeys." 4 So he passed through the hill country of Ephraim and through the area around Shalisha, but they did not find them. They went on into the district of Shaalim, but the donkeys were not there. Then he passed through the territory of Benjamin, but they did not find them.
5 When they reached the district of Zuph, Saul said to the boy who was with him, "Come, let's go back, or my father will stop thinking about the donkeys and start worrying about us."
6 But the boy replied, "Look, in this town there is a man of God; he is highly respected, and everything he says comes true. Let's go there now. Perhaps he will tell us what way to take." 1 Samuel 9
2He called a little child and had him stand among them. 3And he said: "I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. 4Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Mt 18
On the whole in the culture in which the bible is written, children are not rated very highly: the promise in Isaiah: 'And I will make mere lads their princes, And capricious children will rule over them' (Is 3 v 4) is a warning, not something to look forward to, and even Jesus warns that 'children will rise up against parents and cause them to be put to death.' (Mt 10:21). But on the other hand Jesus offers us the model of the faith of a child as how it should be, and this story from I Samuel is perhaps a worked example; Saul and his servant boy are out looking for some donkeys and having come to the end of their natural ability to resolve the problem, the boy suggests they ask God about it. Now it's unlikely that the boy knew about Samuel and Saul didn't - Samuel was a major character at the time - Saul just wasn't thinking like that; his habit of mind was to work things out for himself without putting God into the picture. Indeed one might argue that this is a pointer to his subsequent failure to respect God's perogatives which is the cause of his later downfall. But the unnamed boy is more willing to apply his faith to the situation and comes up with the suggestion of asking for the help of God.
And so it should be for us; how often do we persist in looking at a situation merely from a human perspective and not look for God to get involved. Why? Because it's our habit to try and sort things out ourselves, rather than 'bringing everything to God in prayer'. When challenged about it we sometimes come up with excuses 'Oh, I didn't think it was worth bothering God about'. But the truth is that God does share our whole life - comes of being all knowing(!); we need to work at bringing a God consciousness into all that we do, so that as we see God at work in the small things, we can start to see Him at work in larger issues.
Prayer: Thank you Lord Jesus for the way that children can break through our habits of thought and show us your way to live. May we learn to hear your voice speaking through those who we would naturally disdain as your hearers when you walked this earth would have disdained the comments of children. May we bring you into all of our life, not just the bits that are fit to be shown, that our whole lives may be the offering you desire. Amen.
[If any of you will go back to your bible, you may find that the I Samuel passage refers to 'servant' rather than 'boy'; relatively few versions translate the word 'nor' as boy, preferring servant. However it seems to be justified, and of course it appeals to us...]