The book of 1 Samuel records the time when the people of Israel decided they wanted to be like all the other nations (1 Samuel 8:20). They demanded a king and the Lord gave them what they wanted. A tall, handsome young man by the name of Saul was chosen (1 Samuel 9:2). When it was time for him to be presented to his kingdom, the people of Israel were called together. They stood before the Lord by tribes, and by thousands waiting to meet their new ruler. However, their king was nowhere to be found. When they inquired of the Lord as to his whereabouts (1 Samuel 10:22), God told them, “Behold, he hath hidden himself among the stuff.”

It seems a little strange that the new leader of Israel was in hiding from his own people. The Bible doesn’t really tell us why he hid himself. It could have been because he was anxious or fearful of the huge responsibility ahead of him, but it is interesting that of all the places in Israel to hide, he was found among some “stuff”. That word can also be translated as baggage. It was probably a collection of household items the people had hastily packed when they were called to come together. Saul found out that there is not enough “stuff” in this world to hide behind when God calls you into action. The people ran and fetched him and he was quickly put into office as the king of Israel.

We all have a tendency to hide among the stuff of this world. We think about it, talk about it, and worry over it. We want to improve the stuff we already have and we are constantly looking for new stuff. Then we have the problem of finding storage for all the stuff we have acquired. If we are not careful, we can be so distracted by the stuff in our life, that it takes our focus off of the Lord.

Being obsessed with material things is actually a form of idol worship. Most Bible commentaries describe idolatry as putting anything before God or in the place of God. His Word is very clear on this subject. It says that covetousness is idolatry and a covetous man is an idolater (Col. 3:5; Eph. 5:5).

Modern day idolatry can take several forms. It can be the worship of creation such as the sun, moon, and stars, or even the obsession with saving our environment. We also see it in the worship of humanity. Our society seems to be fascinated with the personal triumphs and tragedies of professional athletes, musicians, and actors. However, the biggest problem with idolatry we seem to have is the worship of self. We are by nature selfish creatures. We want what we want and we want it now! We are born that way and so much of our culture is designed to play upon that weakness. Advertisers let us know that we can have everything we want without having to wait for it. Our entire economy is driven by people buying things on credit.

The history of Israel shows us that idolatry always led to moral degradation. It corrupted their leaders, broke up families, led to prostitution, perversions, and even child sacrifices. Ultimately it led to death and destruction. Psalm 115:4-8 says, “Their idols are silver and gold, the work of men’s hands. They have mouths, but they speak not; eyes have they, but they see not. They have ears, but they hear not; noses have they, but they smell not. They have hands, but they handle not, feet have they, but they walk not; neither speak they through their throat.” Why would Israel give their heart, time, and attention to something that could not give anything back? Isaiah 45:20 talks about praying to a god that cannot save. What is the point?

Our material possessions cannot see, touch, or hear us, either. The “stuff” of this world cannot give any kind of lasting comfort. It cannot satisfy us for long and it certainly cannot save us. Ecclesiastes 5:10 says, “He that loveth silver shall not be satisfied with silver, nor he that loveth abundance, with increase; this is also vanity.”

The gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke tell us of a rich, young ruler that had from his youth kept the commandments of God. In spite of all he had and all he had done, he was still not satisfied (Matthew 19:20). He knew that he needed something more in his life. He asked Jesus, “What shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?” The Lord answered him, “… go and sell what thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven; and come and follow me.” The young man simply could not give up the things that meant so much to him and went away sorrowful (Matthew 19:22). This example does not mean that believers are to give up all their possessions in order to have salvation or to be considered right with God. However, it is a good example of where our hearts and minds should be. All of the man’s money and possessions could not give him the eternal life he was seeking.

In 1 Timothy 6:6-19, the Apostle Paul tells believers that the love of money is the root of all evil. It is a temptation and a snare that can pierce us through with many sorrows. We are not to trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God which gives us richly all things to enjoy. Two separate times in this passage it says that we should “lay hold on eternal life.” That means we are to sincerely, earnestly strive to lay hold on that which is truly life. 1 John 5:12, “He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son hath not life.”

When there is work of the Lord to be done, are we ready and willing to do it? Or does He find us hiding among our stuff?