Saul Established His Permanent Army

52 The Israelites fought constantly with the Philistines throughout Saul’s lifetime. So whenever Saul observed a young man who was brave and strong, he drafted him into his army.
1 Samuel 14:52 (NLT)

We continue with the story of Saul. In the previous chapters, we have read on how Saul was selected to be the king. He started with nothing. Yet that did not stop God from blessing him and made him great. He made mistakes but God still delivered him from his troubles. When he was faced with a huge army of the Philistines, he got panic and disobeyed God in performing the sacrifices. As a result he had forfeited God’s guarantee on an everlasting kingdom but he was still delivered. God helped him to defeat the Philistines army that was superior in numbers and weapons. God had been good to Saul.

After the battle with the Philistines, Saul grasp on power became firm and he had the real power as a king.

47 Now when Saul had secured his grasp on Israel’s throne, he fought against his enemies in every direction—against Moab, Ammon, Edom, the kings of Zobah, and the Philistines. And wherever he turned, he was victorious.
48 He performed great deeds and conquered the Amalekites, saving Israel from all those who had plundered them.
1 Samuel 14:47-48 (NLT)

The above passage tells us that after Saul had secured his throne, he had more enemies attacking from every direction. In other words, Saul had more opposition after he had secured his throne. Does this sound familiar to you? You may have some problems in the past. You trusted God and fought your way out. Right now, you have managed to overcome this problem and begin to think of taking a break to relax. However, you find yourself facing more attacks. You are wondering what has gone wrong.

Welcome to the real world. In the real world we have an enemy called Satan. He is not working alone. He has a huge army of demons and religious people to help him to oppress us. When we are down, he will crush us but when we manage to overcome him, he will intensify his attacks. Why is that so? We have become a greater threat to him. So, when you find yourself moving up to the next level, you have become a bigger target for Satan.

When that happens, do not be surprised. Do not be despair. Those attacks are not due to something wrong in you. You are attacked because Satan is seeing you as a threat. The reason why he sees you as a threat is because you have moved to a higher level with God where you have become a threat to him. You can see the same pattern both in the Bible as well as in the real life. Those who are making huge positive impact in the world happen to be the ones most heavily persecuted.

In Saul’s case, he had no time to relax to enjoy his royal lifestyle. After he defeated the Philistines, he was attacked by his neighbors. Why did they attack him? They saw him as a threat. They were afraid that if Saul was allowed to secure his kingdom, Israel would be strong. A strong Israel was bad for them. That means they could no longer oppress and plunder the Israelites again. They were taking preemptive strike against Saul to destroy his kingdom before it was too late.

However, what those enemies failed to consider was the God of Israel role in blessing King Saul. Saul fought and beat them all. In doing so, he manage to further secure his kingdom. By then, Saul had more victories in his resume. His position got stronger after each victory. The end result was the exact opposite of what his enemies intended.

In fact, Saul had benefited greatly from those attacks. Imagine what would have happened if the enemies did not gang up to attack Israel from every direction? Let me remind you that Israel did not have professional soldiers at that time. Their soldiers were volunteers. They were not full time soldiers. They got together to fight in battles but when the battle was over, they went back to their farms.

In Saul’s case, his army of 600 men would have been disbanded. Everything would have gone back to square one again. Saul would have become a king in name only. He would have no more power. What do you think will happen if after the war, Saul went knocking from door to door asking people to pay him taxes? They would have thrown him out, king or no king. Let us face the facts, none of us like to pay taxes. The only reason why we pay taxes is because we have no choice. The government will punish you severely if you do not pay your taxes. Without the money from taxes, Saul could never set up his government.

However, the prolonged wars from the neighboring states had turned the situation around for Saul’s favor. In that situation, farmers could no longer farm in peace. Their harvest would be plundered and properties destroyed. They would have no time to do farming. Their income was from farming and not soldiering. Under those circumstances, it made sense to contribute part of their income to the king to form a full time army to protect them thus giving them the peace to make money. After all, receiving lesser income (due to taxes) is better than no income at all. Thus, a full time army was born where soldiers were regularly paid.

How did the situation benefit Saul? When the war was over, the army was still around to take orders from the king. Saul could continue to demand taxes from the population. He had his army to enforce his rule. So he could continue to collect taxes to build his palace, recruit civil servants and fund public works. He became a real king. In other words, what the enemies meant for evil, God had turned them to good for Saul’s sake.

The same can happen to us. Just because our enemies are doing their best to defeat us, it does not mean that they must be successful. We have God on our side. He is our assurance of victory. We are destined to win in every battle. The only way we can lose is when we choose to give up. Why would we want to give up when we have the guarantee of victory? The reason always lies in us focusing on the natural instead of the supernatural.

In the natural, Saul would not have survived let alone established his throne. He had enemies from every direction. They had more men and better weapons. Yet Saul won. Saul won because he had God on his side. If God could do that for Saul, he can do the same for us. All we need to do is to believe and obey. He will turn our situation around.

If you find yourself being attacked non-stop from every direction, do not be discouraged. God is working behind the scenes to turn the situation around. As long as you continue to believe in God and don’t give up, you will win. The bigger and longer the attacks, the bigger your victory will be. Rejoice and be glad.

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