Saul Established His Kingdom

15 So they all went to Gilgal, and in a solemn ceremony before the Lord they made Saul king. Then they offered peace offerings to the Lord, and Saul and all the Israelites were filled with joy.
1 Samuel 11:15 (NLT)

In the previous article, Saul was proclaimed as the king of Israel. Other than that, nothing physical had changed. There was no government institution there for Saul to take control of. After the cheer, everyone went home, including the new king, Saul. In other words there was no kingdom. There wasn’t any form of central government in the first place. How to be king? How was Saul supposed to enforce his rule? The answer is Saul did nothing. He was only a king in name only. He did not have any real power nor did he possess any means to enforce his rule.

This should be the situation for many of us Christians. The Bible tells us that the moment we believed in Jesus and received him as our Savior, we are saved. We were born again as sons and daughters of God. We are blessed with every spiritual blessing in Christ. This spiritual blessing includes prosperity and success in every area in life. Yet, most of us Christians are not that rich, healthy and successful. Why not? Did God lie to us? No, God cannot lie. Since God has promised us prosperity in every area in our lives, he will do it. The issue here is we need to be prepared for it. We need faith to receive the blessings of God.

If you have been asking how soon you can receive your blessings, the answer lies in how fast you have been building up your faith. The faster your faith grows, the sooner you will receive your blessings. In Saul’s case, it took him about one month to make his first step to build his kingdom. The person who gave him this opportunity was not God. It was King Nahash of Ammon. Let us look at the story.

1 About a month later, King Nahash of Ammon led his army against the Israelite town of Jabesh-gilead. But all the citizens of Jabesh asked for peace. “Make a treaty with us, and we will be your servants,” they pleaded.
2 “All right,” Nahash said, “but only on one condition. I will gouge out the right eye of every one of you as a disgrace to all Israel!”

3 “Give us seven days to send messengers throughout Israel!” replied the elders of Jabesh. “If no one comes to save us, we will agree to your terms.”
1 Samuel 11:1-3 (NLT)

King Nahash mobilized his army to the Israelite town of Jabesh-gilead. The army must be real big for the people of Jabesh to beg for peace. King Nahash agreed to spare their lives for one condition. He wanted to gouge out the right eyes from everyone in the town. What a sick guy! His intention was to disgrace the entire Israel. Basically this king was not interested in enlarging his territory nor making money from his army. He just wanted to humiliate Israel. Why was that so? My guess is, he must be wanting to have his revenge on Israel for defeating his ancestors.

The leaders of Jabesh asked for seven days to reply to the king’s demand. Their reason was they wanted to seek help from their countrymen. If the rest of Israel refused to help them, then they would prefer to lose one eye each than to die. This is bad.

The king allowed them to do so. Why was he so kind now? I guess his intention was to publicize his actions to everyone in that region. He wanted the whole Israel to know how he had managed to humiliate them. At the same time, he must be very confident in winning in case the rest of Israel chose to confront him in the battlefield.

So, the leaders in Jabesh messengers to seek help. Where would these messengers go? Logically they should go to the highest authority. At that time, Saul was theoretically the highest ranking authority in Israel. They looked for him.

4 When the messengers came to Gibeah of Saul and told the people about their plight, everyone broke into tears.
5 Saul had been plowing a field with his oxen, and when he returned to town, he asked, “What’s the matter? Why is everyone crying?” So they told him about the message from Jabesh.
1 Samuel 11:4-5 (NLT)

Please note that Saul was plowing a field with his oxen when he got the message. He was not living like a king then although he was one officially. Anyway that must be the first test for Saul. His people were in trouble. It was time for him to deliver them as their king.

6 Then the Spirit of God came powerfully upon Saul, and he became very angry.
7 He took two oxen and cut them into pieces and sent the messengers to carry them throughout Israel with this message: “This is what will happen to the oxen of anyone who refuses to follow Saul and Samuel into battle!” And the Lord made the people afraid of Saul’s anger, and all of them came out together as one.
8 When Saul mobilized them at Bezek, he found that there were 300,000 men from Israel and 30,000 men from Judah.
1 Samuel 11:6-8 (NLT)

King Saul exerted his authority for the first time. He paid a heavy price. He killed his two oxen, cut the meat into pieces and delivered them throughout the country with a warning of a death penalty to those who dared to defy him. The Lord made the people to be afraid and thus obeyed him. God kept his promise. Imagine what could have happened if God was not involved in helping Saul? No one was going to be intimidated by those pieces of beef. How was Saul going to fulfil his threat anyway? He had neither army nor police to enforce his rule. God had helped him to mobilize 330,000 men to Bezek.

9 So Saul sent the messengers back to Jabesh-gilead to say, “We will rescue you by noontime tomorrow!” There was great joy throughout the town when that message arrived!

10 The men of Jabesh then told their enemies, “Tomorrow we will come out to you, and you can do to us whatever you wish.”
11 But before dawn the next morning, Saul arrived, having divided his army into three detachments. He launched a surprise attack against the Ammonites and slaughtered them the whole morning. The remnant of their army was so badly scattered that no two of them were left together.
1 Samuel 11:10-11 (NLT)

Saul fought and won his first battle. He had proven his worth. Now, those around him were eager to show their loyalty to him.

12 Then the people exclaimed to Samuel, “Now where are those men who said, ‘Why should Saul rule over us?’ Bring them here, and we will kill them!”
13 But Saul replied, “No one will be executed today, for today the Lord has rescued Israel!”
14 Then Samuel said to the people, “Come, let us all go to Gilgal to renew the kingdom.”
15 So they all went to Gilgal, and in a solemn ceremony before the Lord they made Saul king. Then they offered peace offerings to the Lord, and Saul and all the Israelites were filled with joy.
1 Samuel 11:12-15 (NLT)

Saul’s kingdom was established that day. He became a true king, thanks to the threat by King Nahash of Ammon. What can we learn from this story?

Sometimes, the manifestations of our prayers are not immediate. Saul was working as a farmer in the first month after he was named as the king of Israel. In the natural, he could never have built his kingdom. Who was going to obey him? How was he going to enforce his rule? He had nothing. He had no army, no police, no institution, no government or anything else that can help him to be a real functional king. The situation there did not show any signs that he could ever be a real king.

Do you find yourself in the same situation? You may have trusted God for your deliverance and you have read the Bible telling you that God will deliver you out of this trouble. Yet, when you look around, you cannot see any sign that you can ever be delivered. You may even be thinking of giving up now. Let me tell you the truth now. God has not forgotten you. He is still keeping his promise. He is working behind scenes to deliver you. All you need to do is to believe and don’t give up. King Saul was working as a farmer even though he was a king. If he can do it, so can you.

How did King Saul spend his time in the first month after he was pronounced as king other than farming? The Bible did not mention that but I guess he must be preparing for his rein. Here are my reasons:

1. He showed competence in organizing his army and planning his attacks.
2. He spared the lives of those who mocked him.

How did he know how to do those? The first point shows that Saul must have been learning the art and science of war after he was named as king. He could not have done it by experience. Saul was a farmer. His job was to plow fields and occasionally look for lost donkeys.

The second point shows that Saul had mastered the necessary political skills to win the support from his people. What do you think those who had earlier mocked Saul would behave after this event? The people wanted to kill them but Saul saved them. They must be very grateful to the king and became his loyal subjects.

The lesson for all of us here is, do not despair if you cannot see the manifestation of your dream right now. God has not forgotten you. He is working behind scenes to give you the best. You have to keep believing, don’t give up and get ready for your dreams. There are many ways to do that. If you are praying for a new house, start planning for the furnitures and the decorations. If you are praying for a holiday in Hawaii, get books on that place and learn more about that place. King Saul learned military and politics because he was preparing to be a real king. You can do the same.

As long as you keep believing and don’t give up, you will see your dreams coming true.

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