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1 Samuel 11





BY: Josh Boles

We have spent a good deal of time the last few days discussing the fact the God uses us even in spite of sin, and rebellion. We see this all throughout the history of Israel. We see it again in chapter 11 as we look at Saul’s first conquest. This is one of the main reasons that the Israelites asked for a king. They wanted a king so they would have a better chance at defeating their enemies.

The Lord reached down to their level of unbelief and gave them a king who had the appearance of a natural warrior. How sad is it though that they trusted a man made of clay instead of trusting in the Lord who had delivered them from their enemies countless times.

It is easy for us to rail on the Israelites for their unbelief, but today we get a small glimpse into what drove their fears. Israel’s demand for a king was not on a whim for no apparent reason. They faced real pressure and danger from their Transjordanian neighbors. Transjordan is the region east of Israel, across the Jordan river. We need to realize that these were not enemies from far away, in fact they were related to the Israelites. This means the threats they were facing were an imminent, constant danger the Israelites had faced for a long time.

Let’s take this a step further. At the beginning of the chapter we are introduced to Nahash, an Ammonite. The Ammonites were descendants from Abraham’s nephew Lot. If you remember back in Genesis, Lot was greedy and took all the good land, while Abraham was humble and let his nephew take all the prosperous land. Abraham was abundantly blessed and thrived. Lot did not, thus began the tension that would never end.

This helps us to understand the fear of the Israelites a little more. If we think about it, how many of us can say that when we are faced with abundant fear, and trials, that we trust completely in the Lord? A couple of the other Transjordan neighbors were Moab, and Edom. So again, they had constant fear that they would be devoured by their enemies, and eventually their fears were realized.

I am not going to go over the story in great detail, but lets go over some highlights. The Ammonites laid siege to Jabesh-gilead. The men of the city offered themselves in servanthood to the Ammonites, and petitioned Nahash to make a treaty with them. He agreed to do so, but only if he could gouge their eyes out, Ouch. The only reason for this was to shame Israel. This indicated the hate they have towards the Israelites. After a week had been given to them to figure things out, they organized a secret war plan with Saul, which lead to the demise of the Ammonite army, establishing Saul as the kinsmen redeemer of the people of  Jabesh-gilead.

This theme of kinsmen redeemer is a major plot in Old Testament theology. Many times throughout history, Israel renewed kinship with many nations. What we have to understand is that this can teach us a lot about God, and how he loves His people. Jesus serves as the ultimate kinsman redeemer. Even in the Old Testament the Israelites may have thought Saul was their ultimate warrior, but ultimately it was the grace of God working through him. Just go read verse 6 for proof. The grace go God is truly a miraculous thing, woven into the very fabric of the universe. It is sufficient for all of our needs. So, the next time you are faced with fear, don't settle for the worldly answer, or the quick fix. Focus on the saving grace of the Lord, for he truly wants to be your kinsmen redeemer!

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1 Samuel 10






BY: Josh Boles

Yesterday, chapter 9 kind of left on a cliffhanger. In chapter 10 the story picks up right where we left off, Saul is about to be anointed as king. Later we will see that Saul is accepted by the king. This means that at this time, Saul and Samuel are the only two people to know that Saul has been chosen. This will help us make sense of a couple of things later.

Today is a story of how God uses people, even when we are unfit for leadership, unqualified, or scared. The grace of God, and love for His people truly is a remarkable thing. Think about this for a second. The people demanded a king so they could be like other nations. Samuel warned them about this, but still, they rebelled against God. God could have simply left them to their own devices, but instead, He chooses a king for them. Remember, they don't know yet so this is all God.

Most of this chapter revolves around this concept. We see first in verse 6 that Saul will be transformed, after the Spirit of God falls upon him. Then, we see in verse 9 that Saul’s heart was changed. Now look at verse 11. All the people who knew Saul previously were confused and that asked what had happened to him. At the end of verse 11 they asked if he was a prophet. This is also another indicator that they had no clue he was going to be the king they demanded.

There is something really powerful we can learn here before we move on. God does not use us based upon our pre-existing qualifications, meaning he does not qualify us based on how the world views us. God uses us because He transforms our heart, and then, our leadership, and influence is based on the principle of His grace and love. We see this very clearly thus far in chapter 10. Saul was transformed by God, and for as long as he held on to this, he would be a good king. We will talk more on that in chapter 15 when Saul stopped keeping God’s commandments.

The last part of chapter 10 is Saul’s public anointing as king. Israels trajectory into history is about to change forever in this moment. Samuel speaks to this in verse 19. They have rejected the true King who has saved them countless times, and have given themselves over to be ruled by man. If you have read the rest of the Old Testament, you know that Israel is now on a downward spiral to their eventual demise. Yes, there are moments of hope, and prosperity, but no man would be able to save them from their rebellion.

In verse 21 Saul was selected as king, but he was nowhere to be found. Where was he? He was hiding in the luggage. All the tribes had come together so there must have been a lot of it. This gives us a picture into Saul’s transformed heart. Even though he was born with great stature, he was humble and did not covet this appointment. None the less, Saul is accepted as king.

In verse 27 we inquire something rather disheartening. Some of the wicked men amongst them asked, “How can this man save us.”  Then we read that they despised him. I don’t know how many some is, but I would imagine more than a handful of men. The answer to their question however, is a resounding no. This man cannot save them. Isn't this a bit ironic? They demanded a king that would same them, but then, when the greatest physical specimen in all the land came to be their king, they had doubts.

This is what happens when we do not have transformed herts. This is what happens when we focus on the desires of our flesh instead of the awesome things God has for us. I guess the lesson here is two part. One, never underestimate the capabilities the Lord has given you to do great things through His power. Second, Trust in His guidance, and His plan to carry you through life, because even if you are led y the noblest of mankind, nothing relates to the provision of the Lord.

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