1 & 2 Samuel: Day 5

Saul Anointed King

by

Today's Text: 1 Samuel 9:1-27, 1 Samuel 10:1-27, Psalm 2:1-12, Ephesians 1:15-23

Scripture Reading: 1 Samuel 9:1-27, 1 Samuel 10:1-27, Psalm 2:1-12, Ephesians 1:15-23

Have you ever asked for something you didn’t need? Ten years ago, my husband took a shine to cycling. Bicycling. He hadn’t engaged in the sport before, but he knew how to ride a bike. And since riding a bike is literally a metaphor for something you can never forget, how could I possibly find a flaw in his plan?

As he researched the sport, he decided he needed vintage cycling jerseys. (I understand his wanting to look like an Italian racecar driver from the ‘40s. It’s a great look.) During these years we were poor school teachers, eating pasta for every meal. Extra purchases hurt us right in the grocery budget, but nevertheless, vintage cycling jerseys were purchased.

When these gorgeous, fabled items arrived in the mail, we admired their magisterial purples and heraldic sables. But what came next, gentle reader, is what pains me the very most: he never wore them. It turns out my husband loves neither cycling nor the wearing of spandex-y garments. But since we shelled out so much money for them, we’ve held on to them for three moves. To this day, they remain stashed away in our attic, still in their original packaging.

We just had to have them. But we didn’t need them!

Israel asked for something they didn’t need: a king. They started looking around at their neighbors—the Philistines, Moabites, and the Ammonites—for a model of how they wanted to live. They wanted a king like all the other nations, but their misplaced trust in an earthly king was a foolish rejection of God. Israel were His chosen people; He didn’t want them to live like the rest of the world. But they insisted on getting their own way, and He gave them exactly what they asked for.

Saul was a flashy, handsome guy who was physically “impressive” (1 Samuel 9:2), but spiritually dull and cowardly (1 Samuel 10:22). Of course, our inclination in reading this passage is to focus on Saul, just like Israel did. But the impressive and miraculous signs, even his prophesying, ultimately do not point to Saul’s fitness, but God’s.

When those wicked men asked, “How can this guy save us?” they were doubling down on their doubt of God’s provision (1 Samuel 10:27). They wanted a king, so God gave them Saul—a man literally head and shoulders above all the rest in Israel—to rule over them. When he shows up, they still doubt. Ironically, this doubting of God’s provision would later be Saul’s undoing as well.

Wherever the Spirit of the Lord is at work, we ought never doubt of God’s provision. But if God’s Spirit does not lead the way, we ought not go forth. The real importance of this passage is simply this: God works His mercies by His Spirit, even amongst a rebellious people.

This theme should be familiar, because the real story of God’s Anointed One is not about Saul. Saul’s kingship was an ironic foreshadowing of the true Anointed One, Christ. May our hearts seek first His kingdom. May we look to Him to provide us with what we truly need, rather than trying to build a kingdom of our own making.

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  • Jennifer Peck

    Hidden Among the Baggage

    1 Samuel 10

    Samuel has anointed Saul in preparation for becoming Israel’s first king. In verse 6 Samuel prophesied that the Spirit of God would come upon Saul in power and he “will be changed into a different person”. When we are filled with the Spirit we cannot remain the same. The Holy Spirit leaves a distinguishing mark in our lives that others take notice. Saul experienced the power of God in such a way that those who knew him recognized that he was changed and even asked: “what has happened to the son of Kish?” (v.11) Yet, despite this powerful encounter with God, Saul was still insecure and uncertain of himself and God’s calling on his life. As Samuel gathered all the tribe of Israel to announce Saul as king, Saul is nowhere to be found. In verse 22 the Lord reveals that Saul “has hidden himself among the baggage”. Rather than step forward into the call of God on his life Saul is hidden among the baggage. I often find myself identifying with Saul in dealing with doubts and insecurities of stepping into God’s purpose for my life. Like Saul, I too, have baggage in my life that I hide behind hoping no one will see me for who I really am. Saul’s weakness was in fixing his eyes on his own weaknesses and limitations rather than the power of God. I pray that I will boast in my weakness knowing that when I am weak he is strong.

  • I too have hiding tendencies. One day my boyfriend’s mother dropped by his house unexpectedly. I wasn’t mentally prepared to meet her for the first time. So I hid in his closet. Behind the clothes. Because I didn’t feel ready. And my boyfriend called me out and everyone had a good chuckle, le sigh. Wasn’t one of my best moments. So I feel like I can definitely relate to Saul on this one! I would have probably done the same thing. Praying for humility and confidence eternally rooted in God’s love. May I never drink my own kool-aid. May I maintain a daily dependence on God.

  • Danielle

    I absolutely love seeing how God puts all of the little, seemingly insignificant, pieces into place to bring about His plan and goodness in our lives. My absolute favorite part of today’s reading was when Saul first found Samuel and asked for the seer. Immediately, Samuel talks to him about his three missing donkeys – all initiated by Saul’s servant encouraging Saul to go look for the seer. My Bible notes read – “Often we think that events just happen to us…but God may use common occurances to lead us where He wants.” Am I looking for God in all the little details? The last bit of notes on Saul added – “while our strengths and abilities make us useful, it is our weaknesses that make us useable. Whatever we accomplish on our own is only a hint of what God can do in our lives.” Lord, use me as you need me and help me surrender all to you!

  • I’ve never understood the story of Saul more than I have this morning! What I love is how gracious God is over and over again; while we (and Israel) choose to follow our own path sometimes in spite of what the Lord says is right, he allows us to fail. He allows us to stumble to be picked back up again. He allowed Israel to want something they didn’t need and as a result we see how an earthly king will never be good enough. I love how this lesson foreshadows to the coming of Christ. People were expecting a king, one to have an earthly throne, but they were again disappointed by what God provided. Despite their disappointment, God’s plan prevailed. Thank you Jesus right!?

  • I so love SRT, and the comments just help further my exploration and understanding! Thankful for this “community!”

  • “May we look to Him to provide us with what we truly need, rather than trying to build a kingdom of our own making” Thank you @RebeccaFaires for your words.

  • Tochi Heredia

    What stood out to me from yesterday’s and today’s verses is frustration and confusion. Samuel’s frustration at the people of Israel for their discontent and capricious requests, and Saul’s confusion (“I was just looking for my father’s donkeys and now I’m KING?!”)
    But it amazes me that, no matter how humanly wise, no matter outwardly impressive, we’re so tiny and clueless compared to our God, “For who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been His counselor?” (Romans 11:34)

    I can’t help but asking, why him, why these people? They’re the worst! Yet He knows why, and He owes us no explanation.
    Maybe He chooses flawed, unqualified people because we pale in comparison with His son. Maybe we were never supposed to be qualified, maybe we just have to do as He says and trust that He knows what He’s doing.
    Sooo much to ponder/pray/repent about today.

  • Praying for you Erin!

  • My husband and I could use prayer going into this weekend. He is a pastor and interviewing at a new church this weekend that we feel called to. I’m trusting that “wherever the Spirit of the Lord is at work, we ought never doubt of God’s provision. But if God’s Spirit does not lead the way, we ought not go forth. ” We are asking for prayers of wisdom and discernment to know where God is and isn’t leading us. Thank you all!

  • Hi everyone! I’m a little confused after reading this, maybe someone can help. Now I’ve never read 1 and 2 Samuel before, so maybe this will be cleared up as we go deeper into the study. But today, I’m a little confused why we are saying that the people of Israel should NOT have doubted Saul? If he was spiritually dull and he came about from God only because Israel asked for him, not because God really wanted them to have a king, then why are we saying that the men were “wicked” who asked “how can this man save us?”

    • Laura

      I agree that it’s a little confusing! The way I see it is that God gives the Israelites the very thing they ask for, but they immediately start doubting what God has given them. I have the image of a child who asks his/her parents for chocolate ice cream; the kid takes a bite and then says, “I don’t want this”. But the kid made his choice, and Israel made their choice.

      • Kari

        Oh what a perfect example!! The best, simplest way to put it, but makes so much SENSE! Yours and Christy’s responses combined have completely brought me where I need to be in these readings. Truly, thank you so much for taking the time to respond. I hope you have a wonderful blessed day!!

    • Christy

      Hi Kari – I can see your confusion because I think it is such a natural human response to distrust someone who doesn’t exhibit trustworthiness or seem worthy of respect. I believe the larger point of this passage points to trusting the sovereign God who orchestrated these events. Samuel anointed Saul, so from my limited biblical understanding, Saul was indwelt with the Holy Spirit at that point. He was God’s man, cowardice and all. It was not the place of the average Joe citizen of Israel to question what God’s provision would be or would look like. It might be helpful to remember that the Israelites did NOT have the Holy Spirit’s indwelling or a copy of the Scripture on their phone to guide them. They heard from God via Samuel. The response they should have had was to trust how God works. The children of Israel should have respected Samuel enough and trusted God enough to believe that God knew what He was trying to accomplish through Saul, even though Saul was not helping the situation. Saul didn’t even trust that God knew what he was doing. Anyway, those are my takeaways. God works to advance His kingdom. He uses imperfect people, and He often doesn’t ask my opinion on how it all goes down. :/

      • Kari

        Oh my goodness, THANK YOU CHRISTY! You and Laura have 100% cleared things up for me. I don’t even see how I could’ve been confused before. Thank you so much for taking the time to write this. I feel much more confident going into next weeks readings. God bless you girlfriend! Thank you again.

    • Tamara Kennedy

      I agree with Christy. I believe it was the point that they were questioning God, not so much Saul. They asked for a king, so God gave them a king, then they criticized the king God gave them.

      • Kari

        This is the PERFECT sum up, Tamara. How you were able to fit all that meaning into one sentence, I will never know! They asked for a king, God gave them a king, they criticized who god gave to them. Thank you so much for focusing it more on the fact that they were questioning God as not Saul. That little sentence really cleared a lot up in my mind. Thank you so much Tamara!

  • Katalina

    Amen! A beautiful message ❤️

  • Jess Comp-Lewis

    This community has been so wonderful and insightful. My notes section of the study book fills up with thoughts, comments and questions as I read through the lesson- SRT part on the app and these comments. I feel as though I am returning home, like the prodigal son. Someone will mention a verse and right away I remember that it was one that I used to love And know by heart. Please pray for strength and clarity as I come back into the loving arms of our Heavenly Father

  • Karen From Virginia

    When I read the passage about Saul being found in the baggage, I thought Lord I don’t want to hide. I’ve always been kind of embarrassed for Saul that he would be found there when the people are trying to find their king, but today I realize or wonder how many times I’ve been found in the baggage. No I’ve never been asked to be the queen of anything but I know I have doubted too many times what God has put in me and is called me to do. Father forgive me. Lord help us all to walk out in the calling you’ve given us in your confidence leaning on you for wisdom and strength and clarity.

  • churchmouse

    I always feel a little bit sorry for Saul in these passages. God gave him his physique, his height – his “flashiness,” if you will. Saul didn’t choose or strive to be tall and handsome. He didn’t choose or strive to be anointed king – he just wanted Samuel to tell him where his donkeys were! And when the day comes of the big announcement of who will be the next king, where is Saul? “Hidden among the supplies.” Saul just doesn’t appear to be a stereotypical politician, clamoring for high office. He’s just a Benjaminite, one among many in this smallest of Israelite tribes. Then I remember that God called all of those in the nation of Israel His” chosen people” and all of them, regardless of rank, were to be devoted to Him and Him alone. Whether they were priests or donkey chasers, they were to be, first and foremost, followers of the One True God. They were taught His ways and His character. They were to serve Him in whatever capacity they were called. That is eventually Saul’s downfall – he fails to seek and serve hard after the One King once he becomes one himself. Oh that I might be true to the One to whom even I am called. My roles in life have changed over time but His authority over my life has not. He is always my King and I’m to serve Him in whatever role I currently find myself. Daughter. Student. Nurse. Wife. Mother. Discipler. Mother in law. Grandmother. I did not choose my family of origin. I did not always choose the circumstances in which I found myself. No matter, I am to be His servant, His beloved child, fulfilling His purpose for me for His glory. Oh its not easy. There are days I want to hide in the baggage also. But, no mistake about it, He knows where I am. He calls me out. He will provide what I need, to be who He wants me to be, in the circumstance I am in, if I will just remain in relationship with Him. He has promised.

    • Kathy

      Thank you for these words. They speak to exactly where I am in my life.

    • At Peace

      Very well said, Churchmouse. I agree wholeheartedly. I saw a verse this morning that I never saw before. I Samuel 10:7 ‘do what your hand finds to do for God is with you’. I have been pondering that. I, too, have had many roles in life, (including nurse!) and have tried to do them well. If God is my King then I can know that He is with me in what my hand finds to do.

    • Hilary

      Thank you for that, so much truth in your words. We must abibe in Him; He knows our hearts.

    • Ash.

      I appreciate this perspective of the passages we read today. Thank you for sharing. I can relate.

    • Courtney

      I always look forward to your comment. Thank you for sharing what God lays on your heart! This is SO very true. My roles have recently changed from a full time working mom to a part time working/full time stay at home mom– I know He will provide what I need when I need it, but goodness, it is so easy to doubt during this transition! Finding rest and no doubt in this sweet relationship with my Lord though :) Again, thank you for always sharing!!

      • Rachel Wells

        I am soon to be back with my ex husband playing dutiful wife again and mother and quitting my job to stay home with kids as well. I have fears but after reading this and remembering one one of my favorite prayers…’and give us this day our daily bread’….I know He will provide

    • Veronica

      Always love your insight. Especially relevant to me today. ❤️

    • Heather (MNmomma)

      thank you for sharing this…..it really spoke to me today <3

    • Lana

      If I will just remain in relationship with Him. He has promised… ❤️ needed this. Thank you.

  • Tricia C

    Thank you Lesley! Great info!

  • Alice Carroll

    I also have a question- one of the reasons the people wanted a king was because Samuel had set up his sons as judges and they were corrupt. Why was it wrong for the people to want to try something else? Why wasn’t Samuel wrong for his nepotism?

    • Lesley

      Good questions! I found this commentary on chapter 8 that might help. I think it explains it well.

      • Lesley

        Sorry, that last comment was of course meant to include the link! Here it is: https://enduringword.com/bible-commentary/1-samuel-8/

        • Hilary

          That was super helpful in clathifying everything, thank you! It really showed me how much I am like Israel. Impatient and I think I know what’s best for me, but if I would WAIT on GOD’s plan for me I would be so much more blessed and happy. His timing isn’t always our timing, but His is always perfect.

        • Terri

          Lesley, this was so helpful! Thank you so much for sharing this. It answers questions and brings everything together – kind of like a lightbulb switched on! Seriously, thank you.

        • Ellen

          Thank you! That really helped.

      • Viny

        Lesley, thank you for this link! Such a blessing! ❤️

  • aprilinsydney

    Over the past eight months, I have been thinning out my material possessions and on so many occasions I have come across items that, at the time of purchase, I wanted or even asked for. At the time of decluttering, all I could think of was, why?!

    On a separate note, I have a question about the statement Rebecca made: “Wherever the Spirit of the Lord is at work, we ought never doubt His provision.” How do you know it is indeed the Lord at work?

    • Marianne

      I think there´s no recipe of how to know the ways of the Lord, but I´d say, that the basic condition is knowing Him and having a deep relationship with Him – asking for His guidance and seeking advice in His Word. If you are familiar with that, you´ll find a peace of heart in certain questions that lay before you. And that peace of heart despite rational concerns I have often found to be the confirmation that certain circumstances are the Lord´s doing.
      Hope this might be helpful despite my bad English …

    • Victoria

      In addition to and to further what Marianne said, I heard a pastor say the other day that we can know it is indeed the Lord at work if what is going on in our lives aligns with Scripture. What I mean is, anything God does in our lives will never go against what Scripture says. For instance, if it is something that brings us fear, it can’t be the Lord at work, because “God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7). When in doubt, remember that Scripture says, “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future'” (Jeremiah 29:11). I also like the Holman Christian Standard Bible translation which says He declares, “plans for your welfare, not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” Hope this helps.

    • aprilinsydney

      Thank you, ladies.

      • Amanda

        To bounce off what Victoria said… sometimes the things God leads us to are scary. We may be fearful of the outcome, but that’s tied to our personal insecurity or the enemy speaking lies. If something bring you to a place of fear don’t disregard it right away.
        If our desires align with God doors will continue to open, when we give Him permission to direct our ways.

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