Israel Got A King

1 Then Samuel took a flask of olive oil and poured it over Saul’s head. He kissed Saul and said, “I am doing this because the Lord has appointed you to be the ruler over Israel, his special possession.
1 Samuel 10:1 (NLT)

In the previous article, we stopped at Israel’s insistence on having a king. Their decision had saddened God but that did not cause God to stop respecting their rights. God is an honorable person. Just because he did not like the Israelites’ decision for wanting a king, it did not mean that he would intentionally select an idiot to be their king to teach them a lesson. He gave them the best based on their needs.

Why did they want a king in the first place? First they wanted to look good to their neighbors and they wanted someone capable of leading them to war. God selected the best for them.

1There was a wealthy, influential man named Kish from the tribe of Benjamin. He was the son of Abiel, son of Zeror, son of Becorath, son of Aphiah, of the tribe of Benjamin.
2 His son Saul was the most handsome man in Israel—head and shoulders taller than anyone else in the land.
1 Samuel 9:1-2 (NLT)

So, God selected the best looking guy for them. He was also the tallest guy around. He would definitely looked good among all the kings in that region. In the subsequent verses, we can see that Saul was indeed capable of being the king of Israel. Right now, let us go through the story on how Saul became king.

It started when Saul’s father, Kish lost a few donkeys. He asked Saul to go to find them. So Saul took a servant and they went to find the donkeys. Together, they covered a huge distance but they were still unable to find their donkeys. Soon, it got dark. Saul was considering going back before his father got worried. However, the servant suggested that they paid a visit to Prophet Samuel who happened to be at that area. He was hoping that the prophet might have some powers to help them to find their donkeys. Saul agreed. After all, it was better than going back empty handed.

They went to the place that the prophet was supposed to stay. At the same time, Prophet Samuel was on his way to go out to meet them. The Lord had told Samuel the day before that the future king would meet his at that time. This is what I call a divine appointment. Saul was only doing his own business in finding his father’s donkeys. He worked very hard but failed. Finally he happened to be in the place where the prophet lived and this prophet was about to make him the king of Israel. Don’t you think this is a good surprise?

You may be facing some problems right now just like what happened to Saul. His daddy lost some donkeys and he couldn’t find it. That sounded like he failed in his task. However, what he did not realize was, God had been working behind the scenes to give him something far greater than finding a few donkeys. God was about to give him the entire nation. If that could happen for Saul then, it can surely happen for us today.

So, don’t ever give up on God. You may be facing some troubles, which could cost you a few million dollars but God could be working behind the scenes right now to give you billions of dollars. It is his nature to give us exceedingly and abundantly above all we can ask or dream of. The question here is how big do we dare to ask or dream of? Our God is a big thinker and so should we. You may have lost some donkeys right now but you must realize that God might surprise you with a kingdom instead.

Let us get back to the story. When Saul met Samuel, he asked for directions. Samuel identified himself as the person Saul was looking for and invited Saul for a meal. He also told Saul of his future.

19 “I am the seer!” Samuel replied. “Go up to the place of worship ahead of me. We will eat there together, and in the morning I’ll tell you what you want to know and send you on your way.
20 And don’t worry about those donkeys that were lost three days ago, for they have been found. And I am here to tell you that you and your family are the focus of all Israel’s hopes.”
1 Samuel 9:19-20 (NLT)

Saul received 2 good news here. First, he would be told where to find his donkeys. Next, Saul and his family were the focus of all Israel’s hopes. Saul was shocked.

21 Saul replied, “But I’m only from the tribe of Benjamin, the smallest tribe in Israel, and my family is the least important of all the families of that tribe! Why are you talking like this to me?”
1 Samuel 9:21 (NLT)

Saul’s inferiority complex kicked in. Saul was doubtful that God could use him in a big way because he came from the smallest tribe and the least important family in that tribe. Does that sound familiar to you? You may have heard of it or you could be the one uttering those words. Most of us do not achieve our dreams because we focus too much on our limitations.

You may be a Christian living in a poor country and your family may be among the poorest in the country. Theologians will use that to show that God wants you to be poor but God has other opinion. He wants you rich. God can make you rich even if you are living in a poor country right now. All you need to do is to believe that God can do what he promised to do. Saul could not believe God wanted him to be a king because he came from the least family in the least tribe. His eyes were on the physical limitations around him. He could never imagine God to be greater than those limitations.

Do you find yourself to be in the same situation yourself? Deep in your heart you know that God has destined you for greatness but you find that difficult to believe each time you look at the situation around you. You may be living in a poor country. Your family may be poor. You may not have the right education. You may be born in the wrong skin color. Everything around you seems to have convinced you that you will never achieve your dreams. If you happen to be in the above scenario, the only question you have to ask is, “Who am I going to trust, the situation or God?”

Samuel knew he had a problem. Saul was not ready to be a king. After all, who was? At that time, children did not go to school to learn how to be kings. No one expected to be one. So, the problem with Saul was to be expected after all. Samuel must have anticipated that and he chose to be patient with this future king.

He organized a banquet for Saul and treated Saul like a VIP. Then he asked Saul to send back his servant and openly anoint Saul in the presence of the guests.

1 Then Samuel took a flask of olive oil and poured it over Saul’s head. He kissed Saul and said, “I am doing this because the Lord has appointed you to be the ruler over Israel, his special possession.
1 Samuel 10:1 (NLT)

After that he told Saul some prophecies on what would happen after Saul left his house. The purpose was to assure the latter that it was indeed the will of God for Saul to be king. Later, the events prophesied by Samuel happened exactly as he said. Even the Lord himself joined in to help Saul to believe.

9 As Saul turned and started to leave, God gave him a new heart, and all Samuel’s signs were fulfilled that day.
10 When Saul and his servant arrived at Gibeah, they saw a group of prophets coming toward them. Then the Spirit of God came powerfully upon Saul, and he, too, began to prophesy.
11 When those who knew Saul heard about it, they exclaimed, “What? Is even Saul a prophet? How did the son of Kish become a prophet?”
12 And one of those standing there said, “Can anyone become a prophet, no matter who his father is?” So that is the origin of the saying “Is even Saul a prophet?”
1 Samuel 10:9-12 (NLT)

Saul was given the ability of prophesy. Saul must be convinced by now right? Let us see.

Samuel called for a national meeting to announce God’s selection to be the king of Israel. He started by selecting the tribe and narrowed down to clan, family and down to the person. Sounds like the American Idol where every week they eliminate one contestant until the only one left becomes the winner. So, the winner for the title of king of Israel was Saul son of Kish. However, Saul was not there for his thank you speech. He was hiding.

20 So Samuel brought all the tribes of Israel before the Lord, and the tribe of Benjamin was chosen by lot. 21 Then he brought each family of the tribe of Benjamin before the Lord, and the family of the Matrites was chosen. And finally Saul son of Kish was chosen from among them. But when they looked for him, he had disappeared!
22 So they asked the Lord, “Where is he?” And the Lord replied, “He is hiding among the baggage.”
23 So they found him and brought him out, and he stood head and shoulders above anyone else.
1 Samuel 10:20-23 (NLT)

This guy seemed to have a problem of self-esteem. He was not psychologically prepared to be a king. He was so afraid that he went hiding during the announcement. I guess he must be praying for God to change his mind. Samuel knew that and he tried to help.

24 Then Samuel said to all the people, “This is the man the Lord has chosen as your king. No one in all Israel is like him!”

And all the people shouted, “Long live the king!”

1 Samuel 10:24 (NLT)

The people joined in to salute Saul. After that Samuel taught them the rights and duties of a king before sending them home. Everyone including the confused and fearful Saul went home. Was Saul on his own? No, God did not abandon him. Since God was the one who selected Saul, he took up a personal responsibility of ensuring that Saul would have everything he needed to do his job. All Saul had to do was to obey. As long as King Saul continued to obey God, God would ensure that his kingdom would last forever. So, God helped Saul to get some supporters.

26 When Saul returned to his home at Gibeah, a group of men whose hearts God had touched went with him.
1 Samuel 10:26 (NLT)

However there were some oppositions.

27 But there were some scoundrels who complained, “How can this man save us?” And they scorned him and refused to bring him gifts. But Saul ignored them.
1 Samuel 10:27 (NLT)

Why was there opposition? Welcome to the real world. Just because it is the will of God for all of us to prosper and be in health as our souls prosper, it does not mean we can all be rich and healthy without obstacles. We have an enemy called Satan who will do everything he can to stop us from receiving what God wants us to have. Let us get real here. The moment you have decided to obey God, you will face oppositions, which can come in any form. All the Christian preachers I know faced persecution from the religious groups. The good news is, as long as we are determined to obey God no matter what happens in the natural, Satan’s attempts will fail.

In Saul’s case, there were those who felt they were more qualified to be kings than him. So they slandered him. Saul chose a wise course of action. He ignored them. Please note that after Saul was formally announced as king, he did not form his government immediately. There were 2 reasons for this:
1. He did not know how to do it.
2. He may be anointed from above but he still needed the support from his people to establish his kingdom.

At that time, they had no professional army and police to enforce rules. What they had then were tribal leaders that functioned like state governments running the whole show. At the federal level, they had a judge like Samuel travelling around resolving disputes and calling for meetings whenever they had a national event. So, when Saul took over the leadership from Samuel he only had a weak government with very limited powers. If Saul was to start collecting taxes and instructed the people to build his palace, no one would have obeyed. He had to prove himself to gain respect from his people before he can physically establish his kingdom. We shall look at it in the next article.

What can we learn from this? If you happen to be promoted, you basically have the “anointing” from above. Your boss at the top must be impressed by your performance for you to be promoted. However, in order for you to do your job well, you need the support from those below you, your subordinates. Without their co-operation, your promotion is meaningless because you will not be able to achieve anything. So, it is important for you to gain their trust and respect. Once you have done that, you will be in position to move up to the next level. Pulling ranks is not the way to gain trust and respect. In the next article, we shall see how Saul gained the trust and loyalty from the people to establish his kingdom.


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