King Saul

1 Samuel 10:17-27
17Now Samuel called the people together to the Lord at Mizpah. 18And he said to the people of Israel, “Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, ‘I brought up Israel out of Egypt, and I delivered you from the hand of the Egyptians and from the hand of all the kingdoms that were oppressing you.’ 19But 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.” 20Then Samuel brought all the tribes of Israel near, and the tribe of Benjamin was taken by lot. 21He brought the tribe of Benjamin near by its clans, and the clan of the Matrites was taken by lot; and Saul the son of Kish was taken by lot. But when they sought him, he could not be found. 22So they inquired again of the Lord, “Is there a man still to come?” and the Lord said, “Behold, he has hidden himself among the baggage.” 23Then they ran and took him from there. And when he stood among the people, he was taller than any of the people from his shoulders upward. 24And Samuel said to all the people, “Do you see him whom the Lord has chosen? There is none like him among all the people.” And all the people shouted, “Long live the king!” 25Then Samuel told the people the rights and duties of the kingship, and he wrote them in a book and laid it up before the Lord. Then Samuel sent all the people away, each one to his home. 26Saul also went to his home at Gibeah, and with him went men of valor whose hearts God had touched. 27But some worthless fellows said, “How can this man save us?” And they despised him and brought him no present. But he held his peace.

The first instruction Saul had to follow as king was to chase the Philistines out of Gibeath-elohim. Saul failed to do that. He in fact didn’t even come close because he didn’t try. But, he is the anointed king of Israel, and Samuel introduces him to the people. This after the casting of lots to find out who God had appointed king. Of course the lot fell to Saul, as he was God choice, and had already been anointed by Samuel.

The crowning of Saul comes along with another admonition for the people from God. Samuel tells the people that in demanding a king, they have rejected God as their leader. And now, the man who has been chosen by lot (God) is nowhere to be found, for he is hiding among the baggage. Not very king-like. First impressions can be important, and Saul had made a poor one, for sure. Despite being this poor showing, Saul’s very tall and the people are pleased with their new king – well, most of them are pleased. There are a few worthless fellows who despise him already. Their feelings are not without merit. Who was this guy? Being tall was in no way a reason to endorse someone as king. When he had the opportunity to show himself as a strong leader by dispatching the Philistines out of Gibeath-elohim, he let cowardice rule the day. And acknowledging that God chose him as king by hiding with the baggage is not something to inspire confidence in the new leader. But, this man has been chosen by God, and as such, deserved loyalty and allegiance, if not respect. Without sounding too political, let me just say, sounds familiar.

The Scriptures are quite clear. God places people in position of power and authority over us. It is often the case that we don’t like that person or want someone else in their place. But God has made His decision. Sometimes that decision is one of judgment over the ways of the people. Sometimes it is pure blessing. You can stand on either side of that line and be correct. Always, my first allegiance must be with God – every time. With that attitude firmly in place, everything else is secondary, including who stands at the top of the government.

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