We begin this section with Saul finally returning home from his journey to find the donkeys. He tells his uncle he went to see Samuel. When his father asks what Samuel told him Saul only tells him about the donkeys instead of sharing the whole truth that he will be the first king of Israel. Saul, having not killed the Philistine garrison, continues to decline the instructions given to him from Samuel by not meeting Samuel. Samuel calls the Israelites to meet and they cast lots for king of Israel. Of course, Saul is chosen, but he is hiding. When he finally is found through God’s directions he is taller than anyone. Samuel writes out the rights and duties for kings before sending everyone away. Men went with Saul to his home, but others complained that Saul would not be able to save them.
Saul, Saul’s uncle, Saul’s servant, Samuel, the people, the Lord, the Egyptians, all the kingdoms that previously were oppressing the Israelites, men of valor, and worthless fellows.
Verse 19 “But today you have rejected your God, who saves you from all your calamities and your distresses, and you have said to him, ‘Set a king over us.’ Now therefore present yourselves before the Lord by your tribes and by your thousands.””
1 Samuel 8:7, 19 “And the Lord said to Samuel, “Obey the voice of the people in all that they say to you, for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected me from being king over them…But the people refused to obey the voice of Samuel. And they said, “No! But there shall be a king over us,”
1 Samuel 12:12 “And when you saw that Nahash the king of the Ammonites came against you, you said to me, ‘No, but a king shall reign over us,’ when the Lord your God was your king.”
Joshua 24:1 “Joshua gathered all the tribes of Israel to Shechem and summoned the elders, the heads, the judges, and the officers of Israel. And they presented themselves before God.”
Joshua 7:14, 16, 17 “In the morning therefore you shall be brought near by your tribes. And the tribe that the Lord takes by lot shall come near by clans. And the clan the Lord takes shall come near by households. And the household that the Lord takes shall come near man by man…So Joshua rose early in the morning and brought Israel near tribe by tribe, and the tribe of Judah was taken. And he brought near the clans of Judah, and the clan of the Zerahites was taken. And he brought near the clan of the Zerahites man by man, and Zabdi was taken.”
Sometimes we get what we ask God for even if it is not best or even good for us. He allows us to make poor decisions, and hopefully we always seek God’s will for our lives because he truly knows best. Saul hid from his responsibilities, didn’t follow the instructions given, and God still made him king. God wasn’t looking for someone perfect. Since God was supposed to be their king there was no one else truly fit for the job, no one who could truly do the best by the people.
Louis and I being missionaries sparks great excitement in people, whether excitement to tell us how foolish we are to take our family into the Middle East, or to find out how we have the courage to do this. But for us it is what God told us to do, so we are doing it. There is excitement for the adventure of following God, but for the most part it is simple direction following. We are not omniscient enough to be able to look at all the people headed for Hell in this world and to know where we can be most effective, so we trust God for that. And we trust that others around us are also going to follow God’s plan for their lives.
There are plenty of people who CAN go to Lebanon, Haiti, Zambia, etc. but so many people think they can’t. I don’t go for this can or can’t attitude because it never has been based on whether we can or not. It has always been based on what God told us to do. If God has told you to do something, don’t hide in the baggage like Saul, just start doing it. You are not alone.
Up to this point the application has been to find idols and barriers keeping you from God. If you have been discovering those, pursuing God to remove them, and continuing to seek God’s will, then now is the time to ask God what it is He is asking you to do that you might be hiding from, not understanding, or ignoring.
Jesus in the Old Testament
“Both Saul’s conversation with his uncle (vv. 14-16) and Samuel’s public lot-casting (vv. 17-27) demonstrate Saul’s unwillingness to get on with the task the Lord has given him. The lot-casting was made necessary when Saul’s failure to carry out the first part of his charge (see preceding note) meant that he remained unknown to the people. What accounts for Saul’s failure to obey? The short answer is his failure to trust. The deficiency of Saul’s faith in God will become ever more apparent as the narrative continues. The story of Saul illustrates a fundamental gospel truth, namely, that “without faith [trust] it is impossible to please [God], for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him” (Heb. 11:6). How often is our unwillingness to obey rooted in our lack of trust in God, his Word, and his provision? On the tight link between believing/trusting and obeying, see Deuteronomy 9:23; John 3:36; Romans 10:16.”*
Deuteronomy 9:23-24 “And when the Lord sent you from Kadesh-barnea, saying, ‘Go up and take possession of the land that I have given you,’ then you rebelled against the commandment of the Lord your God and did not believe him or obey his voice. You have been rebellious against the Lord from the day that I knew you.”
John 3:36 “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.”
Romans 10:13-16 “For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!” But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed what he has heard from us?”
Dear Jesus, help me to hear Your voice clearly. Help me to have no more excuses to hide among the baggage. I want to follow you with abandon, knowing that You have the plan fully in mind and I only know a piece of it. If You send me to defeat a garrison, or to prophesy, or to my next door neighbor I want to go. I want to go wherever You want to send me, Lord. Heal me from the callouses that keep me from feeling the extreme burden and pain of all the people suffering, dying, and ultimately damned around me. Give me a new heart that suffers for them and seeks to share with them the Good News of your forgiveness and a Heaven I want to share with them.
*Note: I am using the ESV Gospel Transformation Bible for the Jesus in the Old Testament section, so these are paraphrases and quotes from the commentary with my own ideas sprinkled in.
Thank you for reading. I am excited to hear your key verses, observations, and thoughts! Please take a moment to leave a comment to share them with us.
Next Week: 1 Samuel 11:1-11
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