1 Samuel 11:1-15: "What happened when the Spirit of God Came Upon Him?"
Saul’s first crisis as king comes when the Ammonites besiege the Israelite town of Jabesh Gilead. The citizens of Jabesh send messengers throughout Israel, asking for help. When the news reaches Saul a great change comes over him. The Spirit of God fills him with righteous anger. He cuts a pair of oxen in pieces, sends the pieces by messenger throughout Israel, and proclaims, “This is what will be done to the oxen of anyone who does not follow Saul and Samuel” (1 Samuel 11:7).
Saul’s use of Samuel’s name is instructive. He does not claim power for himself, but only claims to be on Samuel’s side (and therefore on the Lord’s side). His call to arms is heard by Israel and Judah; they send 330,000 men to fight beside Saul. This army routs the Ammonites and saves Jabesh Gilead.
The Israelites credit Saul with this great victory, many suggesting that those who opposed Saul should be executed. Saul will not allow this, claiming not he but the Lord had rescued Israel. Again, all Israel gathers at Gilgal to make Saul king, this time without dissent.
The Journey is not suggesting that we cut up oxen or engage in battle today. There are, however, many cultural, global, local, justice battles to be waged. So the question and next step is this: What good fight is God calling you to engage in today?
God of victory, give us the insight to always credit you alone with our triumphs.
DR. GARY HOLLOWAY
Gary Holloway is Executive Director of the World Convention. Holding degrees from Freed-Hardeman, Harding, The University of Texas, and Emory University, he has written or edited thirty books, including (with Douglas Foster) Renewing God’s World: A Concise Global History of the Stone-Campbell Movement from ACU Press. He is married to Deb Rogers Holloway.