The Story of Samuel | Saul is Anointed King | 1 Samuel 10.1-8 |

by | Jul 30, 2020

“Then Samuel took a flask of olive oil and poured it on Saul’s head and kissed him, saying, “Has not the Lord anointed you ruler over his inheritance?[a] When you leave me today, you will meet two men near Rachel’s tomb, at Zelzah on the border of Benjamin. They will say to you, ‘The donkeys you set out to look for have been found. And now your father has stopped thinking about them and is worried about you. He is asking, “What shall I do about my son?”’ “Then you will go on from there until you reach the great tree of Tabor. Three men going up to worship God at Bethel will meet you there. One will be carrying three young goats, another three loaves of bread, and another a skin of wine. They will greet you and offer you two loaves of bread, which you will accept from them. “After that you will go to Gibeah of God, where there is a Philistine outpost. As you approach the town, you will meet a procession of prophets coming down from the high place with lyres, timbrels, pipes and harps being played before them, and they will be prophesying. The Spirit of the Lord will come powerfully upon you, and you will prophesy with them; and you will be changed into a different person. Once these signs are fulfilled, do whatever your hand finds to do, for God is with you. “Go down ahead of me to Gilgal. I will surely come down to you to sacrifice burnt offerings and fellowship offerings, but you must wait seven days until I come to you and tell you what you are to do.” 1 Samuel 10.1-8

Samuel had a lot of authority in Israel. So much so that he was able to anoint a king to rule over the people. Now, mind you, the people asked him to give them a king and God showed Samuel who he was going to select. But still, Samuel selected Saul without a committee. There was no multi-level interviews, no team to research his capabilities for the position, only God saying “Saul will be the king,” and Samuel anointing him with oil and pouring it upon his head. Instant king!

Yet a king was not what Israel needed. They needed to love and obey God. They needed to be righteous and faithful in their calling and in their purpose. They needed Saul about as much as God needs us to rule the world! But nonetheless, he was chosen with very specific instructions from Samuel on what to do next. Saul’s obedience mattered. He was to follow Samuel’s guidelines until he met a “procession of prophets coming down from the high place” singing and with instruments. At that point the “Spirit of the Lord will come” upon Saul.

God did not freely give his Spirit to everyone in the Old Testament. It was, as I’ve mentioned before, “specific filling.” Saul was the recipient of this gift from God. He was to have the Spirit come powerfully upon him, he would prophesy and then he would be “changed into a different person.” Then he would be free and ready to become king.

Saul is anointed king by the hand of Samuel because the people demanded a king and God is giving them up to their own devices. God doesn’t leave them hopeless, he offers his Holy Spirit to their next leader. This seems like good news until Saul disobeys Samuel in the next chapter.

So many lessons can be learned from this passage but obedience remains at the top of the list. The contrast between he who obeyed God (Samuel) verses the one did not obey (Saul) is clear. Let us learn from this story, be filled with God’s Holy Spirit and then respond with obedience in word, deed and action.

“O Lord God, you are good. Even though I feel the desire to go my own way, you always pull be back to loving you. You give me a sense of meaning and purpose that this fleeting world can not contain. Come now, fill me with your power and love. Help me be the person you have called me to be. Lead me toward obedience. Fill me with compassion and love for your laws. For you are good and your love endures forever.” Amen