1 Samuel 9:1-10:27: "Have I not anointed you?"
What does God look for in a king? Saul is a young man who is physically impressive, but more importantly he is a young man willing to listen to God. His question to God through the prophet Samuel may not seem profound (he wants to know where his lost donkeys can be found), but it shows an openness to the voice of God. Saul gets more than he expected. He is the guest of honor at a banquet given by Samuel. What’s more, when it is time to leave, Samuel has a greater surprise for him, a message from God. The Lord has chosen Saul as king. Samuel anoints him and gives Saul three signs to confirm his election. He tells Saul to wait for him at Gilgal and they will sacrifice together.
All three signs are fulfilled that day, including the spectacular sign of the Spirit of God coming upon Saul in power, causing him to prophesy. When Saul gets home, he does not tell his family about his anointing as king.
Samuel gathers all Israel together at Gilgal and brings all the tribes before him to choose their king. The tribe of Benjamin is chosen, then the clan of Matri, then Saul the son of Kish. But when Saul’s name is announced, he is nowhere to be found. They ask the Lord to find Saul and he reveals he is hiding with the baggage. The people bring him out and proclaim him king. However, at this time, Saul does not act like a king. He simply goes home, although some mighty warriors follow him. This causes some to look down on Saul and refuse to honor him.
“There was a Benjamite, a man of standing, whose name was Kish . . . [and he] had a son named Saul, as handsome a young man as could be found anywhere in Israel, and he was a head taller than anyone else.”
Do you think people of Israel tended to think Saul would be a good leader because of his stature? Do we still think this today?
God of surprise, open our eyes to the ways you work in our lives and in your world.
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.