1 Samuel 10

Another Heart

Saul stands at the outskirts of the city with Samuel and his servant walks ahead of them so that Samuel may declare the word of God in private. As the servant disappears from their sight, Samuel takes a vial of oil and pours it on Saul's head anointing him as king and kissed him. Samuel's actions show that being the king of Israel is a sacred endeavor. The king is appointed and consecrated by God for God. Samuel asks a rhetorical question followed by a word about Saul's position and his work. Saul would save the people of the Lord from their enemies. To authenticate this word and to assure Saul of divine agency, Samuel gives three signs to confirm its truth. By the grave of Rachel, Saul would meet two men who would inform him that the lost donkeys had been found and that his father is anxious to see him. The second sign would take place by the oak of Tabor where Saul would be greeted by three men headed to Bethel with sacrificial gifts and given two loaves of bread. The final sign would occur close to a Philistine garrison. Saul would encounter a group of prophets descending from the high place in a joyous procession, and the Spirit of the Lord would rush upon him, transforming him into another man. These signs would confirm Saul's calling and assure him that God was with him in a special way. After all these things, Saul was to wait seven days for Samuel at Gilgal. There  Samuel would offer sacrifices and show Saul what he should do. As Saul turned to leave Samuel, “God gave him another heart.” The Spirit's work in Saul was made manifest when he joined the prophets in prophesying at Gibeah. Saul's uncle had many questions when he got home about his long absence. Saul rehearsed the events of the past few days, including consulting Samuel. Saul's uncle was eager to know what Samuel said to him, but Saul did not volunteer any information about the matter of the kingdom and his new office.

A Reluctant King

The time has come for a new era in the story of God's people as the old prophet summons the people to come together at Mizpah. Samuel does not mince words as he begins his address to the people of Israel. He starts with a history lesson reminding them that it was the Lord who rescued them, brought them out of Egypt, and delivered them from all their oppressors. This day is not about progress or success; it is about rejection. Israel has rejected God as their king and savior and asked him to set an earthly king over them. The people show no signs of repentance, so Samuel calls the people to organize themselves by tribe and clans. Anticipations were high as lots were cast. The tribe of Benjamin was taken, followed by the Matrite clan, until Saul the son of Kish was selected. Imagine everyone's surprise when they could not locate Saul. This coronation was experiencing an awkward moment, and when they sought the Lord, it was revealed that Saul was hiding by the baggage. The weight of this moment did not escape Saul. The people quickly retrieved Saul from his hiding place and when he stood among the people he was head and shoulders taller than any of his countrymen. Physically, Saul was qualified to be the kind of king Israel wanted. The people approved the appointment by shouting the traditional “Long live the king.” 

A Record For Posterity

Samuel set forth the constitutional, historical, and spiritual basis for the reigning monarch of Israel. Samuel recorded the details in a book and laid it up before the Lord. The reference may be to the scroll of Scripture that Samuel was expanding. This action acknowledges that the written words of Samuel possessed divine authority like Moses and Joshua before him. When Samuel dismissed the people, Saul returned to Gibeah and God gave Saul favor with some valiant men who went with him. However, not everyone was satisfied as certain worthless men mocked the appointment of the timid farmer from Gibeah. They despised him and brought him no gift in token of submission to his authority. Saul refused to take action against his critics. 

Thing To Consider:

  • How does God set apart leaders today?
  • Does God use signs today? Why or why not?
  • Does the Holy Spirit transform us today? How and in what way?
  • Why do you think Saul was so reluctant?
  • How do we reject God's authority in our lives?
  • How are we guided in making decisions?
  • Why is physical appearance so important in our cultures?
  • Has God given you favor with people? How do you know?
  • How do you deal with your critics?