“And Samuel said, ‘How can I go? If Saul hears it, he will kill me.’ And the Lord said, ‘Take a heifer with you and say, ‘I have come to sacrifice to the Lord.'” (ESV – Read the chapter)
Following Jesus can be an adventurous affair. Things had disintegrated under Saul to the extent that he was actively eliminating potential threats to his rule. This is a mark of a truly insecure ruler. Samuel wasn’t someone who could travel freely in Israel. His profile was high enough that when he went somewhere, everyone—including Saul—figured it meant something. If he did anything significant—like, say, anointing someone else to be king—word was likely to get back to Saul who would likely deal with both the threat and its source with ruthless efficiency.
Thus, when God told Samuel to go and anoint a son of Jesse, the Bethlehemite, as king to replace Saul, he was not afraid to remind God that this wasn’t exactly something he could do openly. This would be putting his life on the line. He was perhaps willing to do it, but he just wanted to remind Him of the stakes of obedience (as if He didn’t already know!).
I love God’s response. He basically sends Samuel on a secret agent-type mission. He creates an elaborate alibi for Samuel to go to Bethlehem and visit with Jesse and his family. All the official stuff would happen in secret. And Samuel isn’t technically lying either, because he really is going to offer this sacrifice. He just doesn’t announce the whole reason for his mission.
Following God can take us into some wild territory. It takes courage. If you think it is something tame or boring, you’re not doing it right. This doesn’t mean it will always entail Indiana Jones-style antics, but it will always take courage to follow Him where He is going. If you’re ready for some adventure, sign up. If not, count the cost.