Faithful Lord, may your holy Word today free my praise, inspire my prayer, and shape my life.
Read 1 Samuel 10:9–27
Saul Made King
9 As Saul turned to leave Samuel, God changed Saul’s heart, and all these signs were fulfilled that day. 10 When he and his servant arrived at Gibeah, a procession of prophets met him; the Spirit of God came powerfully upon him, and he joined in their prophesying. 11 When all those who had formerly known him saw him prophesying with the prophets, they asked each other, “What is this that has happened to the son of Kish? Is Saul also among the prophets?”
12 A man who lived there answered, “And who is their father?” So it became a saying: “Is Saul also among the prophets?” 13 After Saul stopped prophesying, he went to the high place.
14 Now Saul’s uncle asked him and his servant, “Where have you been?”
“Looking for the donkeys,” he said. “But when we saw they were not to be found, we went to Samuel.”
15 Saul’s uncle said, “Tell me what Samuel said to you.”
16 Saul replied, “He assured us that the donkeys had been found.” But he did not tell his uncle what Samuel had said about the kingship.
17 Samuel summoned the people of Israel to the Lord at Mizpah 18 and said to them, “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘I brought Israel up out of Egypt, and I delivered you from the power of Egypt and all the kingdoms that oppressed you.’ 19 But you have now rejected your God, who saves you out of all your disasters and calamities. And you have said, ‘No, appoint a king over us.’ So now present yourselves before the Lord by your tribes and clans.”
20 When Samuel had all Israel come forward by tribes, the tribe of Benjamin was taken by lot. 21 Then he brought forward the tribe of Benjamin, clan by clan, and Matri’s clan was taken. Finally Saul son of Kish was taken. But when they looked for him, he was not to be found. 22 So they inquired further of the Lord, “Has the man come here yet?”
And the Lord said, “Yes, he has hidden himself among the supplies.”
23 They ran and brought him out, and as he stood among the people he was a head taller than any of the others. 24 Samuel said to all the people, “Do you see the man the Lord has chosen? There is no one like him among all the people.”
Then the people shouted, “Long live the king!”
25 Samuel explained to the people the rights and duties of kingship. He wrote them down on a scroll and deposited it before the Lord. Then Samuel dismissed the people to go to their own homes.
26 Saul also went to his home in Gibeah, accompanied by valiant men whose hearts God had touched. 27 But some scoundrels said, “How can this fellow save us?” They despised him and brought him no gifts. But Saul kept silent.
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
‘… we are … created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance,’1 Seek his will for yourself.
What makes a leader of God’s people? Self-confidence? Commissioning accompanied by pomp and circumstance? Popularity shown by the masses? None of these were operational in Saul’s case. Rather, God had his hand on Saul – and Saul hadn’t yet taken it in! As he left Samuel, ‘God changed Saul’s heart’ (v 9). It wasn’t the private anointing. It wasn’t Samuel’s conviction that Saul was God’s choice. It wasn’t that everything turned out as Samuel had said it would, not even the experience of ecstatic prophesying. Underneath all that, God himself was forging Saul to serve him as the people’s new leader. At this stage in the story, Saul is still rather diffident; I love the way he hides himself among the baggage when he realizes the whole thing is going to become public. Perhaps he hoped that the lots would let him off the hook!
Being chosen for public ministry can be uncomfortable at times. Those who knew Saul well were openly dismissive (vs 11,12). Some despised him (v 27). When I was ordained I was ‘locally deployed’, meaning that I’d be serving in the church where I’d been a member for nearly thirty years. People knew me well! I couldn’t pretend to be holier than anyone else! Saul was wise enough not to react at that stage. We’re told he simply went home after the prophetic frenzy had ended and that he held his peace when despised and criticized. That’s something all leaders can learn from: to walk away and hold our peace, rather than react inappropriately.
Saul knew he had supporters, too, ‘valiant men whose hearts God had touched’ (v 26). These would provide him with crack troops for military conflict later. Notice again, however, that it is God who touches their hearts. God has it all organized. We don’t need to engineer things.
Are you trusting God to do his work in the hearts of those in your church?
Mighty God, I want to live a life that is pleasing to you. May I be willing to cooperate with your will and become the person you want me to be.
1 Eph 2:10
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