1 Samuel 10:17-27
17 Samuel summoned the people of Israel to the Lord at Mizpah 18 and said to them, “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘I brought Israel up out of Egypt, and I delivered you from the power of Egypt and all the kingdoms that oppressed you.’ 19 But you have now rejected your God, who saves you out of all your disasters and calamities. And you have said, ‘No, appoint a king over us.’ So now present yourselves before the Lord by your tribes and clans.” 20 When Samuel had all Israel come forward by tribes, the tribe of Benjamin was taken by lot. 21 Then he brought forward the tribe of Benjamin, clan by clan, and Matri’s clan was taken. Finally Saul son of Kish was taken. But when they looked for him, he was not to be found. 22 So they inquired further of the Lord, “Has the man come here yet?” And the Lord said, “Yes, he has hidden himself among the supplies.” 23 They ran and brought him out, and as he stood among the people he was a head taller than any of the others. 24 Samuel said to all the people, “Do you see the man the Lord has chosen? There is no one like him among all the people.” Then the people shouted, “Long live the king!” 25 Samuel explained to the people the rights and duties of kingship. He wrote them down on a scroll and deposited it before the Lord. Then Samuel dismissed the people to go to their own homes. 26 Saul also went to his home in Gibeah, accompanied by valiant men whose hearts God had touched. 27 But some scoundrels said, “How can this fellow save us?” They despised him and brought him no gifts. But Saul kept silent.
I can understand why Saul didn’t want to be king. Israel had shown themselves to be a chaotic, rebellious herd of cats. Israel was surrounded by all sorts of dangers from the kings around them who were being very successful against them. If that’s not enough, Samuel has made it absolutely clear that even wanting a human king was a rejection of God as their king. I’d be scared too.
When God sent Samuel to anoint Saul as king, Saul objected “But I’m only from the tribe of Benjamin, the smallest tribe in Israel, and my family is the least important of all the families of that tribe!” (1 Samuel 9:21). Now it’s time to formally choose the king in front of all the people, how does God do it? By casting lots – by tribe and family and finally Saul. The very things that Saul thought disqualified him are the things God uses to choose him. God takes Saul’s weakness and uses it to achieve his plans.
God had shown Saul how it could work when God’s Spirit came on him, and he prophesied back in verse 6. God would work in partnership with him and speak and act through him. And God works in partnership with us too, by his Spirit.
When God asks me to do something that scares me, I have a choice. I can hide like Saul, or I can cling to God. I can run away from the things he asks of me (clearly seeing that I can’t do them), or I can do them in partnership with him. The really dangerous times are when I think I can do them on my own.
As God said to a later Saul (who became Paul), “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” (2 Cor 12:9)
Written by David Cornell