We Want a King! – 6

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Scripture Text – 1 Samuel 7-11

For centuries, the people of Israel had looked to Jehovah as their King, but then they came to a point where they asked the Lord to give them a king just like the other nations. It was a critical time in the history of Israel, and it took the prayers and guidance of Samuel to bring them safely through this dangerous time of transition.

Obeying The Lord – Continued

Please read 1 Samuel 9:1-10:27 to get the background for this section.

Samuel presents Saul to the people (1 Samuel 10:17-27). Samuel called another convocation at Mizpah for the purpose of presenting Saul as the newly chosen king of God to the people. True to his prophetic calling, he first preached a sermon and reminded the people of their redemption from Egypt by God’s grace and power as well as their obligation under the covenant to obey the Lord. But he made sure they understood that they had disobeyed the Lord in asking for a king in the natural rather than relying upon Him in the spiritual! They had sinned, but the Lord would answer their request. This is a prime example between the difference of God’s permissive will and that of His perfect will.

Remember, only the Lord and Samuel knew that the king had already been selected and anointed, but Samuel wanted the tribes to realize that Jehovah was still in charge of the selection process, God despite giving in to them, remained sovereign. He had the tribes present themselves, probably represented by their elders, and the tribe of Benjamin was selected. This may have been selection by lot (see 1 Samuel 14:40–42 for an example), or one of the priests may have used the Urim and Thummim to determine the Lord’s will (Exodus 28:30). As a side note, I find it amazing in our modern day and age that they had faith in sacred lots and the Urim and Thummim, and yet not so much in the word of God coming from His anointed and proven prophets. None-the-less, the clan of Matri was selected next, and from that clan, the family of Kish and finally, the young man Saul.

But Saul couldn’t be found! And Samuel had to inquire further of the Lord to discover that the king was hiding among the wagons and baggage, certainly not an auspicious way to begin his kingly reign! Was he hiding out of modesty or out of fear? Because of his past actions and his lack of spiritual lifestyle I would think most probably the latter, out of fear, because true humility accepts God’s will while at the same time depending on God’s strength and wisdom. As Andrew Murray once stated:

“True humility isn’t thinking meanly of one’s self; it’s simply not thinking of one’s self at all.”

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True humility is not the belittling of oneself, for that shows the mind and heart is still concerned with self. In my ministry I have seen that kind of false humility abound! So, if Saul had been focusing on the glory of God, he would have at the very least been present in the assembly and humbly accepting God’s call. Then he would have urged the people to pray for him and to follow him as he sought to do the Lord’s will.

This first official act on the part of Saul suggests that there was trouble ahead. Saul was a reluctant ruler who followed his emotions instead of working on building his faith. He would serve as a sacrificing courageous soldier one day and become a self-centered autocrat the next day. Shunning national popularity is one thing, but shunning God-given responsibility is quite another entirely. “If God called a man to kingship,” G. Campbell Morgan once said, “he has no right to hide away.” Samuel did what he could to make the best and salvage an embarrassing situation. He presented Saul as God’s chosen king, so the nation had to accept him, and so he accented Saul’s admirable physical characteristics. The people were impressed, but Samuel certainly knew that God didn’t need tall, muscular men in order to get His work done. In a few years, He would use a young teenage David to kill a menacing and arrogant giant! (See Psalm 147:10–11).

The wisest thing that Samuel did on that particular day was to link the kingship with the divine covenant. His first speech about the king had been negative and full of details that went with most kingships, but this address and the document he put forth were positive and pointed out the duties of both the king and the people. Samuel no doubt elaborated on Moses’ words from Deuteronomy 17:14–20 and reminded the people that even the king had to submit to the Lord and His Word. There was one God, one nation, and one covenant, and the Lord was still sovereign and in charge.

When the assembly was ended, everybody went back home, including the king, and there accompanied him a group of valiant men who became his officers and inner circle. They followed Saul because the Lord moved upon them to do so. People gave Saul gifts as tokens of their homage to the king, but one group of men despised and ridiculed him. As king, Saul could have dealt severely with them, but he held his peace. And yet later, he was willing to kill Jonathan, his son, just because the boy had eaten some honey! Saul’s emotional instability had him weeping over David one day and then trying to kill him the next.

Saul is the perfect example of believing and trusting God’s Word and being obedient to it, feelings and motions aside, and walking forward in complete faith. It truly is the one way we can all please God.

To Be Continued

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Adaptation of excerpts from Warren W. Wiersbe, Be Successful, “Be” Commentary Series.
Unless otherwise noted, Scripture taken from the New King James Version®, NKJV © 1982 by Thomas Nelson.
Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Scripture links provided by Biblia.com

About Roland Ledoux

Pastor of Oasis Bible Ministry, an outreach ministry of teaching, encouragement and intercessory prayer from the Holy Bible, the written Word of God and author of the ministry website, For The Love of God. He lives in Delta, Colorado with his beautiful wife of 50+ years and a beautiful yellow lab whom they affectionately call Bella.
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