The Story of Samuel | Saul Selected King | 1 Samuel 10.20-27 |

by | Aug 3, 2020

”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.” 1 Samuel 10.20-27

Although Saul had already been selected as king by the Lord and anointed by Samuel, it needed to be a publicly witnessed event for the people to accept this new king. The process would be completed through the casting of lots. This process (explained very well in is a means by which decisions are determined as the will of God through which sticks or stones with markers are tossed on the ground or a sheet and the results are interpreted. God did not forbid this process but seemed to encourage it (for a list of bible verses dealing with casting lots see previous website.)

The lots were cast like dice being tossed, and Saul was selected as king from all the tribes and clans and families. And it was determined without a doubt that he was God’s chosen king. But when the time came for Saul to receive this honor, he was no where to be found. The first king of Israel was found hiding among the supplies. Quite noble of him! They brought him out and he was a head taller than all the people. Samuel said, “Do you see the man the Lord has chosen? There is no one like him among all the people.” (Whether Samuel believed these words or was mocking the Israelites decision to select a king is uncertain.)

After Saul was chosen, Samuel explained how the king would rule them, writing it down on a scroll and depositing it before the Lord (in the Ark of the Covenant?). Then all the people went home but some were skeptical and said, “‘How can this fellow save us?’ They despised him and brought him no gifts. But Saul kept silent,” v.27.

The selection of the King of Israel was fraught with concerns. Not only was the king to replace the Lord as King, he was just a human with sinful and wicked tendencies. I’m sure Saul had some virtuous and redeeming qualities, but he was a man. And in all honestly, he did not ask for this. He was a pawn chosen for Israel for a lesson — have no other God’s before God!

At times I feel sorry for Saul, a tall, young man who lacked confidence but was thrust into leadership against his desire. I also feel sorry for the nation of Israel who at that time, and with each generation, failed to follow the Lord. Now they must certainly take responsibility for their actions, but their lack of obedience and their weakness to be like other nations blinded them from following the one true God.

Does Israel of old look like the United States of today? It does in my mind. Not every aspect of our country, but much of it. We also place our hope in Presidents, rather than kings. We put too much stake in the political systems and not the Holy Spirit. We rely upon normalcy of society and culture rather than the timeless truths of Scripture and Christ. Even with COVID, we are turning less to church (even online services) and more to our own devices and habits.

We need the Lord! We need Jesus to be king of our lives and we need him to return quickly. Just as Israel turned from the Lord, so our nation has turned from God. Let us repent and remember the love for Christ we had at the beginning. Like Jesus told the church of Ephesus in Revelation 2.4-5, ”Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first. Consider how far you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first.”

Let us remember our first love and make Jesus king of our hearts once again.

“O Lord God, forgive us I pray! Help us remember our first love! and that you carried the weight of the world upon your shoulders for our sins. Why do we take that for granted? How quickly do we forget your sacrifice? Come now, Holy Spirit, fill your church with your love. Help us walk in step with the Spirit and turn from sin and greed. I confess, O Lord, that I do not have compassion as I should. Guide me by the power of your Spirit that I might become the person you have called me to be. For you are good and your love endures forever.” Amen