In 2010, a “highly reliable survey” revealed that men drive an additional 276 miles per year by refusing to ask for directions. The aimless meandering costs him an extra $800! Just think how many purses his wife could purchase if he’d only stop and ask for directions!
Typically, men refrain from asking for directions, but Saul was not wired that way. Saul is often portrayed as a bumbling fool. He is always looking for something, yet, while everyone else intuitively knows where it is, Saul never finds it on his own.
Remember how long he was looking for his father’s donkeys? Then he was looking for the seer, Samuel? A maiden, a young girl, gives Saul directions to Samuel (1 Samuel 9:10-12)! Saul is looking for David to kill him. All three groups of messengers Saul sends find David hiding with Samuel, yet when Saul heads out to find David, what do you find him doing? Asking for directions…again (1 Samuel 12:22)! For the remainder of the book, Saul searches for David. He has spies. He has an army, but he can’t nab that “wascally” David. One such instance, Saul searches for David and has spies skulking about. Jonathan goes to the woods and directly finds David and “strengthens his hand” (1 Samuel 23:15). However, Saul, lost in his spiritual fog, never locates David.
In contrast, David’s navigation system seems fixed on his destination. From the moment God had Samuel anoint David, he finds himself in the king’s house, bearing the king’s armor, fighting the king’s battles, and marrying the king’s daughter. Everything falls into place for David. David sees life clearly. Was Saul “behind the eight ball” and David extremely fortunate?
It comes down to dependence. David does not get it right all the time, but when you see David asking for directions, you usually find him talking to God. Prayer is not a discipline; it is an indication of our dependence. Saul only thinks of seeking God as an afterthought. After searching for the donkeys for three days, it was Saul’s servant who suggested asking the man of God for help. Saul is typically practical. You usually read he is numbering the people or positioning himself strategically by a tree, a wall, or behind other people. Saul’s navigational system was conventional wisdom.
Read the book of Proverbs and James, and you will find divine wisdom is the invisible thread God used to knit the components of life and order in all of creation. Conventional wisdom chooses to see things from ground-level, based on our short-sighted perception. Prayer taps into the wisdom which comes from God “liberally” (James 1:5). If your life is not characterized by prayer, then you may have Saul’s navigational system. Just think of all the wasted years aimlessly wandering. No dollar figure can compensate for such a waste.