Read 1Samuel 10:11-27
Saul has recently undergone a tremendous transformation. He was first anointed and then after a series of miraculous events he joined in with a group of prophets who were worshipping the Lord. When Saul joined the prophets he allowed his heart to be fully committed to the Lord, he began worshiping, he even spoke the word of God which is a way of prophesying. This transformation took place in Saul’s hometown and it did not go unnoticed. People will notice a difference in you when you allow yourself to freely serve the Lord. Saul wasn’t the most religious man so when the other citizens witnessed Saul worshiping with the prophets it got their attention. Saul became the talk of the town and it was clear he was not acting like his old self.
The dialogue between the two citizens in vs. 11-12 is interesting because they are attempting to figure this out. They have a hard time believing that Saul the son of Kish would ever be found in a group of prophets. “How can someone so undistinguished as Kish raise a son to be a prophet?” “How can Kish’s son be selected to receive this divine gift?” The second man has an answer. He answers with another question, pointing to the group of prophets he asks, “Who is their father?” Those men weren’t born with those gifts any more than Saul was. They were given their gift of prophecy from the Eternal. Saul’s change of heart came from the Lord, not his earthly father. Parents don’t always raise their children in the Lord, which seems to be the case with Saul.
Once Saul came down from his spiritual high he went to the high place. Saul was anointed with oil, he was anointed with the spirit of the Lord. The only thing left for him was to go and sit in the presence of God of heaven. I like vs. 13. “After Saul stopped prophesying, he went to the high place.” Do you remember what it was like with your first encounter with the presence of the Lord? How you just wanted to more and more of Him, it was easy to go to church because you were hungry for the Lord. I think that is where Saul is in this scene.
Eventually, Saul does come down from the High place and meets up with his uncle Abner who is his father’s brother. It appears that Kish (Saul’s dad) was content with the return of his donkeys and his son’s eventual return, but that wasn’t the case with uncle Abner. Abner seems to be a bit restless, a bit sketchy which makes me wonder if he hadn’t already heard the details about the honor Samuel had given to Saul? He begins to put the pieces together, the honor, the noticeable change in Saul’s behavior, and something that just does not add up.
Abner confronts Saul and his servant, he asks them where they went. Saul doesn’t lie, but he is smart enough to not give out all the details which is a huge lesson we can learn from. God doesn’t always want you blabbing about His plans for you. Sometimes he wants you to keep your mouth shut until the appropriate time.
Verse 17 takes us back to Samuel and we learn what needed to take place before Saul officially takes his position. Back in vs. 8 Samuel told Saul in seven days he would come to meet him in Gilgal, they would do their offerings and sacrifices and then he would tell him what to do next. During those seven days, Samuel called a national assembly in Mizpah. This national press release was not called so the citizens could vote on a leader. This assembly was called so that Samuel could declare the man God chose to be king.
The announcement begins with a reminder of all God of Heaven has done to protect his people. How God alone set them free from the oppression of a human king. Yet, here they are rejecting the Eternal as their King, demanding a man to take his place. Never mind the fact that God saved them from their calamities and disasters, They think they know best and because of their insistence, God will give them what they ask for.
The Lord called forward a representative of each tribe and clan to come forward. Once brought forward they began to cast lots. Now my understanding of casting lots wasn’t a form of gambling but rather in the Old Testament, it was a way of God’s plan being made known. What was drawn out of the bucket is what God established for that clan, their fate so to speak. The more modern form of this would be to draw “straws” or “sticks”, the shortest one wins or loses depending on how you’re looking at it.
Samuel called each tribe forward one at a time to pull their “lot” from the bowl. One after another each tribe and clan went through the system. I suppose they were each eager to pull their name out in hopes that they would be the first king of Israel. No tribe was chosen except for the tribe of Benjamin. After being narrowed down this tribe, the next step was to determine which family the king will come from. This was determined the same way and finally, it came down to the family members and of course, the “lot” fell on Saul. “Saul the son of Kish was taken.” Saul’s name was pulled out with the winning ticket. He was called forward but the man was nowhere to be found. This is a monumental moment in history and the chosen one wasn’t there to accept his fate.
People set out immediately to find Saul with no luck. They began to wonder if he was even at the meeting in the first place, so they (very smartly) ask the Lord if he was even there. The Lord answers, “yes and he is hiding between the stuff”. I love that KJV uses the word “stuff”, don’t we just love to surround ourselves with “stuff” instead of stepping into what the Lord has called us to do. We use our “stuff” as some great excuses. We use our “stuff” as a scapegoat. It won’t work, if you haven’t figured this out yet take it from me, it will not work.
Saul had seven long days to think about what God was asking him to do and he felt unworthy of it. He lacked confidence. He didn’t have time to train for this position, he wasn’t sure he could figure this out. He didn’t have a plan to move forward, he didn’t even know how to plan for what lies ahead. The problem with confidence is it can be self-serving, meaning our lack of confidence is us focusing on ourselves when we should have full confidence in God. We should be focusing on God, not ourselves.
The other problem Saul faced is he was changing his family tree, changing history. I heard an interesting phrase this week, “The first one through the window gets bloody.” Sounds morbid I know, but think about it. The Lord is calling you to something that has never been done before or at least has never been done in your family and your thoughts of incompetence and doubt work against you, keeping you bound tight too afraid to step out. When you are trying to change your family tree you face new territory and you’re going to have some battle wounds to show for it, but once you’ve plowed the way through it will be so much easier for your children and grandchildren to follow along. You just have to want the dream the Lord has placed inside you more than the familiar life the world binds you in.
Saul was found among the stuff and was brought forward to stand before his nation as the first-ever King of Israel. He stood taller than any other citizen, his heart was turned to the Lord and the Lord’s favor was on him. The people shouted, “Long live the king!” Samuel read to the people the role of the king what was to be expected, then he dismissed everyone to return home. Saul returned home with a group of valiant men. These men were God-fearing men and they are stationed to assist the new king.
Unfortunately, not everyone is eager to submit to the men or women who are placed into a leadership position by God. Saul is no exception, there was a group of scoundrels who despised him. A group of good-for-nothing men refuses to submit to his authority.