Rev. Margaret Minnicks is an ordained Bible teacher. She writes many articles that are Bible lessons.
Everybody Is Looking For Something
Have you ever gone into a store and the clerk asked, "May I help you?" and you replied, "Just looking"? Have you ever opened the refrigerator because you knew you wanted something but you just looked? How about looking in your closet trying to find something to wear? All of us have something in common because all of us go looking for something from time to time.
Throughout every book in the Bible, there are examples of people who were looking for something.
The Text (I Samuel 9:1-4)
The text shows that Saul is being obedient to look for his father’s donkeys. However, it is not about the donkeys. This is God’s way to give Saul a greater assignment. It is a SETUP. God wanted to see if Saul was willing to do a smaller job before He elevated him to a much greater one.
Saul could not find the donkeys. It wasn’t God’s plan for him to find them. God had something better in mind. Giving up on finding the donkeys, Saul followed the advice of his servant, and they went looking for Samuel the prophet.
God had already prepared Samuel that Saul would come looking for him. Saul finds Samuel and Samuel anoints him the first king of Israel. Saul went looking for donkeys and he ended up king!
The Pentateuch (Genesis-Deuteronomy)
The first five books of the Bible are known as the Pentateuch. They are Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy.
The story of Joseph in GENESIS 37-50 proves to us that sometimes what we are looking for can cause us trouble. Joseph looked for his brothers who put him in a pit, then he was sold into slavery, and then he was put in prison. Still, it was part of God’s plan because Joseph ended up in the palace.
The books of EXODUS through DEUTERONOMY give us a good example of how long it takes when we look for something in disobedience. The children of Israel were looking for Canaan, the promised land, the land flowing with milk and honey. It took 40 years for them to find what they were looking for.
The Histories (JOSHUA - ESTHER)
JOSHUA looked for the walls of Jericho. Upon finding them and following the instructions of God, the walls came tumbling down.
In the book of JUDGES, all 12 of the major judges looked for something. Gideon looked for a sign. Not only did he receive one, but then he asked for another one. Sometimes getting what we look for is not enough. The more we get, the more we want.
The Book of RUTH lets us know that what we are looking for just might be out of love and respect for someone else. Ruth was picking up leftovers in the barley field to share with her mother-in-law when she found her Boaz. They married and had a son, Obed who had a son named Jesse who had a son named David. Out of that lineage came our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. What we are looking for often brings about more than we expect.
FIRST SAMUEL tells the story of Saul looking for his father’s donkeys. SECOND SAMUEL tells about King David who looked through the window on the rooftop and saw Bathsheba. What we are looking for sometimes causes us to sin.
FIRST and SECOND KINGS let us know that as the judges, the kings were looking for a way to accumulate more wealth, more land, more prosperity, and more power.
FIRST and SECOND CHRONICLES simply restate the chronicles of the kings.
EZRA was looking to rebuild the temple while NEHEMIAH was looking to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem.
ESTHER was looking to save the Jewish people from extinction.
The Wisdom Books (JOB - SONG OF SONGS)
JOB was looking to find answers to his suffering. He discovered that God is sovereign. Sometimes we find what we are looking for through our suffering, hurts, pains, trials, and tribulations.
The numerous psalmists who wrote the 150 PSALMS found what they were looking for through praise and worship.
Even though Solomon, the richest and wisest man who lived during his day, wrote PROVERBS, ECCLESIASTES, and SONG OF SONGS, he didn’t find what he was looking for because he was looking in the wrong place. He didn’t find it in his 700 wives and 300 concubines. At the end of Solomon’s life with all his riches and fame and fortune, he admitted that life for him was "meaningless."
Four Major Prophets (ISAIAH - EZEKIEL)
ISAIAH was looking for the Messiah, the Suffering Servant, but Isaiah knew to wait for he said, “But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary, and they shall walk, and not faint" (Isaiah 40:31).
JEREMIAH was looking for God to stop giving him a word to speak to His people. But God wouldn’t stop and Jeremiah said, “It’s like fire shut up in my bones” (Jeremiah 20:9). In Jeremiah's other book, LAMENTATIONS, the prophet looked for comfort after he saw the destruction of his beloved city, Jerusalem. He laments throughout the entire book.
EZEKIEL was looking to speak to the lifeless people of his day, and God showed him how to do it through the Vision of the Valley of Dry Bones found in Ezekiel 37.
DANIEL was looking to read the handwriting on the wall while in Babylon. It was there that he shut up the jaws of the lion while he was in the lion’s den.
Twelve Minor Prophets (AMOS - MALACHI)
Each of the twelve minor prophets looked for something different. HOSEA was commanded by God to go looking for his prostitute wife. JOEL looked forward to the Day of Pentecost. AMOS looked for justice to roll down like a river.
OBADIAH looked as God destroyed the Edomites. JONAH looked for a ship to go in the opposite direction to Tarshish instead of one going to Nineveh. MICAH looked for the birthplace of Jesus. NAHUM looked to destroy the people of Nineveh.
HABAKKUK looked to God to answer his questions. However, God did not answer them the way Habakkuk expected. ZEPHANIAH looked for messages from God regarding His judgment upon the people. HAGGAI looked to rebuild the temple.
ZECHARIAH looked for ways to relay God’s messages to His people. He found a way by having night visions. If you are looking for information about tithing, MALACHI tells us to bring all the tithes into the storehouse.
The Gospels (MATTHEW - JOHN)
MATTHEW gives us the record of the three wise men looking for the Baby Jesus. MARK gives us the account of Jesus telling the man to go into the city to find a donkey for him to ride into Jerusalem on. (That was not the same donkey Saul was looking for in the Old Testament).
LUKE 15 is the Lost and Found Chapter about the lost sheep, the lost coin, and the prodigal son. In JOHN we find Jesus telling different people how to find what they are looking for: Nicodemus was told how to be born again and the woman at the well was told how to receive living water.
Mary Magdalene went to the garden looking for Jesus. Instead of finding a dead Jesus, she found one who called her by her name (John 20:11-18).
History of the Church (The ACTS of the Apostles)
Early in the Book of ACTS, a beggar sat at the gate Beautiful looking for a handout. Peter and John said, “Silver and gold have I none, but such as I have I give you.”
Also, in the book of ACTS, Saul (different from the one in the Old Testament) was on his way to Damascus to look for Christians to kill. There he had his conversion experience. Sometimes when we are headed toward a sinful situation, God will throw us off our beast and we end up serving him.
Books Written By Paul (ROMANS - PHILEMON)
In the Book of ROMANS, Paul gives us the Roman Road Plan of Salvation (Romans 3:23, 6:23, 10:9-10). If we are looking for peace in the church, Paul tells us in FIRST and SECOND CORINTHIANS not to have factions and arguments. If you are looking for confirmation not to give up in well-doing, look in GALATIANS 6:9 where Paul tells us “Be not weary in well doing: for in due season you shall reap if you faint not."
If you are looking to find out how to do spiritual warfare, look no further than EPHESIANS 6 where you are told to put on the whole armor of God. Paul tells you how to find joy in PHILIPPIANS, the joy book.
COLOSSIANS warns us to look out for false teachers. FIRST and SECOND THESSALONIANS tell us to look forward to the rapture if we are still alive when Jesus comes.
If you are looking for instructions on how to run a church, look no further than FIRST and SECOND TIMOTHY and TITUS. Paul gives these three young pastors good advice that all pastors should follow.
In the one chapter book of PHILEMON, Paul leads a runaway slave to Christ and tells him to return to his master. Sometimes when we find what we are looking for, we need to go back and get some things straight.
The General Epistles (HEBREWS - JUDE)
If you are looking for the definition of “faith” you will find in HEBREWS that faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1).
If you are looking for instructions to live the Christian life, look in the Book of JAMES.
FIRST and SECOND PETER tell us to look out for false teachers because they are in the church as well as out of the church.
We all sin and fall short of the glory of God, and FIRST JOHN 1:9 tells us to confess our sins and look forward to God forgiving us. To keep us from looking for love in all the wrong places, FIRST, SECOND, and THIRD JOHN tell us that God is love.
JUDE, like James, was a brother of Jesus. Jude tells us to look for those who have been faithful and have stood the test of time because of their faith.
Last Book in the Bible (REVELATION)
As we come to the very last book of the Bible, we see in REVELATION that John had been banished to the Isle of Patmos. He was there all by himself. Sometimes God has to get us alone so He can show us what we are looking for.
Everyone is looking for something. Maybe today you are looking for love, joy, peace, friendship, a better relationship, finances, or a closer walk with God.
It might not be donkeys like Saul that you are looking for, but you are looking for something. You will not find inner peace until you find what you are looking for. There will always be a hole in your soul until you find it.
All people can find what they are looking for in the same place...in Jesus Christ who loved us so much that He died on Calvary’s cross. Look no further than Jesus Christ. Glory be to God. Amen!