Trajectory: Finding God's Direction for Life - Trusting God's Aim

Sermon Summary

This message is the first in a series that will examine how we can discover God's direction for life. King David's life will serve as the backdrop and will give us our examples of learning to trust God's trajectory for our lives. This first message looks at the events surrounding David being chosen to follow Saul as King. Samuel, a prophet of God, heard God's voice concerning who would be the chosen king of Israel. The new king was to be David and the way in which God led Samuel to discover this help us to discover how God wants to lead us in the trajectory of our lives. God has good aim when it comes to His plan for us and we need to learn to trust His aim by listening to His voice, following His plan, seeing through His eyes, and waiting on His timing.

Community Group Discussion Guide

1. Two questions in one: Do you take the time to search for God's direction for your life and when you do, is it sometimes a struggle trusting His plan?

2. While not typically an audible sound, what are some ways you've learned to hear God speaking to you? There are several things listed in the following passage that could help us hear God.

Psa 37:3  Trust in the LORD and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.
Psa 37:4  Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart.
Psa 37:5  Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him and he will do this:
Psa 37:6  He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun.
Psa 37:7  Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him; do not fret when men succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes.
Psa 37:8  Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret--it leads only to evil.

3. We need God's perspective on our circumstances. How would things be different if we saw things through His eyes? 

Prov 3:5  Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;
Prov 3:6  in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.
Prov 3:7  Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD and shun evil.

4. Sometimes we get weary waiting on the Lord, but He will give us the strength we need to endure unto victory. Why is it so important to trust God's timing? 

Isa 40:26  Lift your eyes and look to the heavens: Who created all these? He who brings out the starry host one by one, and calls them each by name. Because of his great power and mighty strength, not one of them is missing.
Isa 40:27  Why do you say, O Jacob, and complain, O Israel, "My way is hidden from the LORD; my cause is disregarded by my God"?
Isa 40:28  Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom.
Isa 40:29  He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.
Isa 40:30  Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall;
Isa 40:31  but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

Full Sermon Notes
Trajectory: Finding Direction for Your Life - Trusting God's Aim

"From life's first cry to final breath, Jesus commands my destiny, no power of hell no scheme of man can ever pluck me from His hand, till He returns or calls me home. Here in the power of Christ I'll stand!" (Keith Getty and Stuart Townend)
When we think about the trajectory of our lives, it's good to know that we can trust God's aim. It's so good to trust that He knows what He's doing! He's got a plan! Let's pray!

tra·jec·to·ry
trəˈjekt(ə)rē/noun
the path followed by a projectile flying or an object moving under the action of given forces.

Your life is moving down a path. Something or someone is the force behind your movement. And when I think of a projectile flying, I think of how fast life flies by! In other words, you're headed somewhere fast. The question is whether or not that somewhere is a good place or not? Today we begin a series called "Trajectory: Finding Direction for your Life." I hope to convince you in the coming weeks to let God be the force and the motivation that moves your life in a good and Godly direction!And here's a fact: if we're going to let God be the force in our lives who sends our lives in an amazing and meaningful direction, then we have to...

Trust God's Aim

In the coming weeks we're going to look at God's direction in the life of King David in the Old Testament. Today we begin by looking at the events surrounding David being chosen as King when he was probably only a teenager.  1 Samuel 16:1-13 is a passage which teaches us that God knows what He's doing and we should trust His aim when it comes to our lives. Even though this series is based on David's life and God's work through him, today we will  also focus on the prophet who was given the responsibility of anointing David as the new king of Israel. Let's begin the story and see what we can learn about trajectory, finding direction for your life, and learning to trust God's aim.

1 Samuel 16:1The LORD said to Samuel, “How long will you mourn for Saul, since I have rejected him as king over Israel? Fill your horn with oil and be on your way; I am sending you to Jesse of Bethlehem. I have chosen one of his sons to be king.”

Trusting God's Aim by Listening to His Voice

When the Scripture says The LORD said to Samuel, it implies that Samuel was listening! Samuel knew how to listen to God from an early age. He had been dedicated by his mom and dad to the Lord and he was raised in the temple. Listen to what happened...

1 Samuel 3:1-10 The boy Samuel ministered before the LORD under Eli. In those days the word of the LORD was rare; there were not many visions. One night Eli, whose eyes were becoming so weak that he could barely see, was lying down in his usual place. The lamp of God had not yet gone out, and Samuel was lying down in the temple of the LORD, where the ark of God was. Then the LORD called Samuel. Samuel answered, “Here I am. ” And he ran to Eli and said, “Here I am; you called me.” But Eli said, “I did not call; go back and lie down.” So he went and lay down. Again the LORD called, “Samuel!” And Samuel got up and went to Eli and said, “Here I am; you called me.”  “My son,” Eli said, “I did not call; go back and lie down.” Now Samuel did not yet know the LORD: The word of the LORD had not yet been revealed to him. The LORD called Samuel a third time, and Samuel got up and went to Eli and said, “Here I am; you called me.” Then Eli realized that the LORD was calling the boy. So Eli told Samuel, “Go and lie down, and if he calls you, say, ‘Speak, LORD, for your servant is listening.’ ”  So Samuel went and lay down in his place. The LORD came and stood there, calling as at the other times, “Samuel! Samuel! ”  Then Samuel said, “Speak, for your servant is listening.”

If we want to discover God's direction for our lives, we must become like Samuel when he was a young boy. Our heart cry needs to be...

...“Speak, for your servant is listening.”

Sometimes we say we want to live for God, but if we are not listening to His voice then we aren't really sincere about wanting to live for Him. We've got to be willing to learn to listen. When it comes to trusting God's aim by listening to His voice we have to answer several questions. They are tough questions.
Here's one...

Do I really want to hear His voice?

In other words, have you decided you want to know the direction and the path God has for you. If the answer to this is no, then your trajectory in life will be decided by other things rather than God! If you do want God to be the force and motivation behind your direction in life, then you must also ask the following questions...

Am I putting myself in a place to hear God?

Am I the only one in this room that struggles with distractions? I want to be able to hear God through the noise and the busyness of life 24/7, but I also know there are times when I need to get alone with God and escape the confusion, commotion, and interference, of the world. This begs the next question...

Am I taking the time to hear God?

Where does God place on your list of priorities, your daily schedule, and your to do list? Do we give Him at least five minutes a day of our prime time? He deserves it and we need it! Especially if we're going to find divine direction for our lives. And closely related is this question...

Am I paying attention to God's Word?

Don't just read God's Word, but truly listen to what it says. Ask questions like…
How does this relate to me?
What would happen if I started obeying His Word?
What steps should I take to begin implementing this particular truth in my life today?

Samuel was in a tough situation. Saul was still King and Samuel was being told that God had rejected Saul as King. If Samuel got this wrong, it could be really bad for him. In fact, let's read further in our story...

1 Samuel 16:2-5 But Samuel said, “How can I go? Saul will hear about it and kill me.” The LORD said, “Take a heifer with you and say, ‘I have come to sacrifice to the LORD.’ Invite Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will show you what to do. You are to anoint for me the one I indicate.” Samuel did what the LORD said. When he arrived at Bethlehem, the elders of the town trembled when they met him. They asked, “Do you come in peace? ”Samuel replied, “Yes, in peace; I have come to sacrifice to the LORD. Consecrate yourselves and come to the sacrifice with me.” Then he consecrated Jesse and his sons and invited them to the sacrifice.

Trusting God's Aim by Following His Plan

Samuel was obedient and followed God's plan and God worked everything out perfectly. It was a big step for Samuel to trust God in this, and I might add, a little bit scary, but God was faithful! Because Samuel had learned to listen to the voice of God and recognized when it was really God speaking he could act with boldness and certainty! As we grow in our walk with God we will begin to better recognize God's voice and His plan for our lives. Instead of being led by feelings or circumstances we will be directed by the truth of God's principles and promises. And there is a passage that pertains to this topic and is both a principle and a promise. Listen...

Luke 11:9-13 “So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened. “Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”

And what does The Holy Spirit have to do with finding God's direction and plan for our lives? So glad you asked…Jesus gave us the answer in John 14:26.

John 14:26 But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.

Has God ever led you in a direction that didn't fully make since to you in a human way? Now, let me make something very clear: The Holy Spirit will never lead you to go against the principles of God's Word! I've had people in the past tell me The Spirit had led them to do things that were clearly in violation of God's written principles in the Bible. I told them straight up, "God didn't lead you to do that!" But I have personally experienced times when God led me in a direction that didn't make rational since from a human standpoint, but made spiritual since from God's standpoint. If you don't mind, I will use a personal example that might help you see what I'm talking about.

When I was approached with the idea of coming to Slidell to start a church from scratch, I was at a 3,300 member church as an associate pastor of pastoral care and counseling. They took good care of my family. The senior pastor was going to leave to come New Orleans Seminary to be a professor. He told me about the need in Slidell. At the same time, some of the leaders of the church talked to me and asked me if I would consider becoming the Senior Pastor. It wasn't official, but they wanted to know if I would pray about it. Okay, from a worldly standpoint let me just say it…the Senior Pastor position would have been a huge raise from what was already a very good salary. Starting a church from scratch, well I don't think I have to tell you the direction my salary would go. My wife, Debbie and I talked to our children and asked them to begin praying, and then we began seeking God's direction for our lives. The Spirit of God began to lead our hearts to come to Slidell and to trust Him to take care of us financially and He did!

And by the way, I couldn't do this alone, so I called Jay Victory, who was a senior pastor of a church outside McComb, MS and asked him if he would like to leave a very stable and comfortable position and help me start a church from the ground up. About four build outs later, here we are! Enough about us, back to our Old Testament story. Samuel had invited Jesse and his sons to the sacrifice. Let's pick it up there...

1 Samuel 16:6-7 When they arrived, Samuel saw Eliab and thought, “Surely the LORD’S anointed stands here before the LORD.” But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”

Trust God's Aim by Seeing With His Eyes

This point is closely related to the last one. We are to trust God's aim by following His plan, and this is made much easier when we look at things through God's eyes! Samuel was obedient to God's plan, but as the plan unfolded, Samuel started to rely on his own wisdom and human rationale! Boy does this get us into trouble at times? Samuel had probably read the latest New York Times best seller book on best leadership traits for fortune 500 CEO's lol. The first son interviewed was Eliab, and he fit the bill. He fought in Saul's army and had leadership experience. We know from other things written about him that he was outspoken and was bit of a fireball. But he was not the one! God knew his heart. Even though Samuel would have picked Eliab, because Samuel had the ability to hear God's voice, he was given discernment to reject Eliab. If you don't take anything else home from the message today, please take this: If you want to see with God's eyes, you must listen to His voice! God's wisdom has many times shown me the error of my ways, and helped me discern God's direction for my life. Someone pointed out to me yesterday that there are always forks in the road. Yes, there are, but God sees what's around the bend, and at the end off each fork in the road. His eyesight is always 20/20 and when I can't see clearly I seek His voice to show me the way. Listen...

Isaiah 55:6-9 Seek the LORD while he may be found; call on him while he is near. Let the wicked forsake his way and the evil man his thoughts. Let him turn to the LORD, and he will have mercy on him, and to our God, for he will freely pardon. “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.

Would you allow me to reference my personal experience one more time? God know us better than we know ourselves! He created us and knows how we work best and what we are most gifted to do. One of the messages in this series will talk about this in detail. The church outside of Birmingham had written in their policy for a senior pastor that he had to also be the administrative pastor. We're talking budgets, buildings, bills, insurance, committees, and the list goes on and on. It's okay to admit when you're not good at something, and I'm just gonna say, numbers and excel spreadsheets are scary monsters to me! God knew what He was doing when He called me to work in my area of giftedness and He knew what He was doing when he led me to call Jay Victory, who has the gift of administration. He's an organized list guy that understands that world. You see, God sees and knows things we don't know and if we will trust Him to show us the right fork in the road to take, we'll end up at the right destination! Ok, back to our story of Samuel and David…by the way, those were planned rabbit trails with a purpose!

1 Samuel 16:8 Then Jesse called Abinadab and had him pass in front of Samuel. But Samuel said, “The LORD has not chosen this one either.” Jesse then had Shammah pass by, but Samuel said, “Nor has the LORD chosen this one.” Jesse had seven of his sons pass before Samuel, but Samuel said to him, “The LORD has not chosen these.” So he asked Jesse, “Are these all the sons you have?” “There is still the youngest,” Jesse answered, “but he is tending the sheep.” Samuel said, “Send for him; we will not sit down until he arrives.” So he sent and had him brought in. He was ruddy, with a fine appearance and handsome features. Then the LORD said, “Rise and anoint him; he is the one.” So Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the presence of his brothers, and from that day on the Spirit of the LORD came upon David in power. Samuel then went to Ramah.

Trust God's Aim by Waiting on His Timing

Don't you know Samuel was getting pretty frustrated after interviewing seven sons, and none of them were the right fit for the job. Samuel was probably tired and wanted to get the job done and go home. But he knew in his heart that he needed to do the right thing. He was a bit confused that God had not spoken to his heart about any of the sons. He probably couldn't imagine that Jesse wouldn't have brought all of his sons to the sacrifice. But he asked "are these all the sons you have?" And when he discovered there was one more, he knew in his heart this must be the one. He told them none of them could sit down until David got there! Jesse probably said something like this…"Ok, boys go get your younger brother and make it quick!" I don't know exactly why God had Samuel meet every other son first and why Jesse didn't think David was important enough to bring to the sacrifice. Maybe, it was because he was just young and inexperienced. But thankfully Samuel was willing to wait for them to go get David. There's a lesson in this for you and me.

Have you ever gotten impatient waiting on the Lord and took matters in your own hands? How did that work out for you? I'm not judging, because I've done this a time or two. Well, maybe three or four times! Sometimes trust takes time! What do you mean by that? Well, having trust in God's trajectory for our lives and having faith He will direct our path means we are willing to wait for His perfect timing! Sometimes we may feel like God has abandoned us when the truth is He is busy working all things together for our good! But when you are in the midst of a difficult time in your life and your patience is running thin, let me remind you to trust God's Aim. If God is the motivation and the power behind your life, and if He is your reason and purpose in life, then trust the trajectory He has you on. Trust His aim and that He will hit His target, bulls eye! Sometimes the children of Israel got tired and weary waiting on God's timing and His trajectory for their lives. Isaiah reminded them of something very powerful, but before I read his words let me say this...Isaiah didn't have the benefit of modern day science and space exploration. But the night skies amazed him. And when we think of the concept of trajectory, many times we think of planets and asteroids and space ships. With that in mind, listen to how Isaiah used the night sky to remind the people to trust God's aim in the trajectory of their lives!

Isaiah 40:26-31 Lift your eyes and look to the heavens: Who created all these? He who brings out the starry host one by one, and calls them each by name. Because of his great power and mighty strength, not one of them is missing. Why do you say, O Jacob, and complain, O Israel, “My way is hidden from the LORD; my cause is disregarded by my God”? Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or
weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

Trust God's aim by Listening to His voice, following His plan, seeing with His eyes, and waiting on His timing!
Let's pray!!

Sermon Prep work
ETS: God speaks to Samuel's heart and gives him direction for the nation of Israel.
ESS: God desires to speak to our hearts and give us direction for our lives.
OSS: I want my hearers to trust God's aim when He gives them direction for their lives.
Probing Question: What process led Samuel to trust God's aim?
Unifying Word: Process