"As they went up the hill to the city, they met young maidens going out to draw water, and said to them, ‘Is the seer here?' They answered, ‘He is: behold, he is just beyond you. Hurry, for he came today to the city because the people have a sacrifice today.'"
I Samuel 9: 11, 12, Amplified Bible
"(Beforetime in Israel, when a man went to enquire of God, thus he spake, ‘Come, and let us go to the Seer, for he that is now called a prophet was beforetime called a seer.)
I Samuel 9: 9, K.J.V.
What do I think it means to have ‘discernment'?
"The discerning heart seeks knowledge."
Proverbs 15: 14, N.I.V.
Discernment - To detect something hidden or obscure. To comprehend.
"God is endlessly imaginative, and the function of discernment is to enter creatively into God's vision for the world and to collaborate with the Spirit in making that vision a reality."
"Discerning signs has to do with comprehending the remarkable in common happenings…discerning signs does not seek spectacular proofs or await the miraculous, but, rather, it means sensitivity to the Word of God indwelling in all creation and transfiguring common history."
When I was about eight-years-old, our family spent two weeks camping in the White Mountains of Arizona in a remote area called Greer. At the time, there was only a small store, a corral where you could rent horses, and a camp ground that had a creek running through it. While there were a few rustic cabins scattered among the trees, the campground was located in a quiet and out-of-the way place. With no shower facilities and a few "out-houses," only the brave-hearted, like my parents, ever considered bringing children to a place where we had to "rough-it!" Every afternoon, big fluffy thunder clouds rolled overhead and we were treated to a refreshing shower which gave us the opportunity to lie on top of our sleeping bags in our tent while my mother read books with some of the most earth-shaking mission stories I'd ever heard. Talk about the miraculous - the authors of these children's books made every word and every experience come alive. And the way my mother read these stories, with so much expression, was even more effective.
It was during these reading sessions that I first became aware that in God's beautiful universe, amazing events happen. Even as a child, I was able to discern that God was at work. But for me - it seemed to be the spectacular and the grand that got my attention first. As I grew up and began studying the Bible, again I found myself moved by the experiences in Scripture when the out of the ordinary happened - Daniel in the lion's den; the three Hebrew young men in the fiery furnace; and who could forget Elijah on Mount Carmel. In all these stories, God's power was easily discerned and clearly demonstrated. I like that for I can understand a visible presence that shouts out, "God is here!" I would have done great with the children of Israel when God sent thunder and lightning from heaven and Mount Sinai rattled and shook. Who could have missed God's existence that day?
But let me ask you something. After a long day at work, when you've been in an annoying traffic jam to get home and you know you still have supper to cook, the dishes to clean, the laundry to do, or maybe, like so many women today, you even have another job to go to, at these times, are you able to discern the power of the Almighty? In my life, this is the time when the pedal hits the metal. It's the time when my spirituality is tested to the absolute limit and I cry out with every fiber of my being, "Where is God now?" It's hard to discern God's presence in the hum-drum of daily life.
This fact brings us to I Samuel 9: 11, 12, two texts I've overlooked all my life. They are about the maidens (God's daughters) in the land of Zuph. At eventide, these women were doing hard labor - drawing water for their families and flocks. It was common every day work - regular duties. Nothing special at all. But as they did their duty, they were approached by a man named Saul and his servant. These two men were looking for God's prophet, Samuel. And these women became the connection that proved to be a linkage between Saul and Samuel. They discerned the importance of this mission for they told Saul to hurry up and get to Samuel before he left town.
At first I thought of these girls as "water drawers" at the city well. That's what the Bible calls them. But what they proved to be were heavenly catalysts whose vision discerned more than someone hunting for their dad's donkeys, which was the reason Saul began his trip in the first place.
The point of this story is that so often in my own life I want the Mt. Carmel, fire from the sky, explosion of God's presence. And yet, while I'm living my daily life, in the most common occurrences, if I ask for my Father's discerning eyes and heart, there will be so much more I can do for Him on earth when He removes the scales from my eyes that blind me to His presence in the ordinary.
Whether you and I are blessed with the spectacular and special or if we find God at work in those regular moments of each day, may we never limit our Father to a perception colored by anything less that our heart's desire to always be open to our Father's presence anywhere, and everywhere we find it.
"I believe that God is real,
Even though I cannot realize Him;
That what I commit to Him, He will glorify,
And use for his eternal purpose.
I believe that his will is love to all of us.
His ways are not our ways,
But we may come to Him
Through his Spirit,
Through all beauty, love and truth."
"One goodness ruleth by its single will
All things that are, and have been, and shall be,
Itself abiding, knowing naught of change.
This is true health, this is the blessed life.
Here, O ye prisoners of empty hope,
Minds kept in bonds by pleasure, haste ye to return.
Here, here your rest, sure rest for all your hurt,
Eternal harbor for your quiet anchorage,
Shelter and refuge for unhappy men
That's always open.
This is the Father, and the Son, and the kind Holy Ghost,
One King omnipotent, one called the Trinity.
One love, O thou that readest, that shall be
Thine to eternity,
That sent this mighty gift of books
That reading, thou mightst recognize thy Maker,
King, Maker of all things, Father, Redeemer,
The Saviour Christ, to whom be glory."
Alcuin of York
Dorothy Valcàrcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
P.S. My book, When A Woman Meets Jesus, is now available wherever books are sold and on the internet at www.amazon.com, Christianbook.com, or by calling toll-free, 1-800-Christian. You can also go to www.whenawomanmeetsjesus.com and purchase the book through Paypal for $10.00.
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For more from Dorothy, please visit transformationgarden.com.