TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 5
SCRIPTURE:1 SAMUEL 9
BY: Josh Boles
So yesterday we left off with a dark day in Israel’s History. Like many times before, and many times to come, Israel betrays their one true king. In our current story, they did so by demanding a king who would fight their battles. This is so devastating because the nation of Israel had quite literally seen God fight a multitude of battles for them. But here, we are once again standing in the crossroads of mankind’s idiocracy, and God’s abundant grace. The theme for today lies in the fact that God still cares for us, even when we fail him.
This first thing that we see in chapter 9 is the qualifications for Saul as king. First of all, he was from the tribe of Benjamin, and he was a prominent man. It says in verse two that he was an impressive man. He was young, I would imagine quite hansom, strong, and towered over everybody else. What strikes me is that none of these qualifications have anything to do with leadership.
We just hired our new student pastor, but what if we would have put on the job description, “seeking youth pastor who is tall, strong, and handsome.” We didn’t do that, and its a good thing. He might be tall, but not strong or handsome. Don’t tell him I said that please. Doesn’t this sound absurd? Especially for a nation who is supposed to be God fearing. This is indicative of where Israels hear lies. They want their immediate, selfish needs to be met. They wanted a quick, on demand fix to their problems.
We truly see Saul’s leadership character in the verses to follow. First of all, in verse 6, Saul’s servant had to be the one to seek the man of God, and what happens next really made me stop and think. Remember that this guy is supposed to be the first king of Israel, and he has to ask his servant for advice in verse 7. In verse 9 we read that the servant had some silver, and offered to give it to Samuel. So the guy who is going to be king took his servants silver to give as a gift. So we can draw from these verses that Saul was an impressive specimen regarding outward appearance, but regarding leadership he was a fool, greedy, and had no vision.
Here is the cool thing about all of this. God, who had just been betrayed, has a plan! God tells Samuel in verse 16 “anoint him ruler over my people Israel. because I have seen the affliction of my people, for their cry has come to me.” There is something truly amazing here that I want you to see. Think about a time when somebody has betrayed you. How did that affect your judgment toward them? Pay close attention to these words again, “I have seen the affliction of my people.”
Often times when somebody betrays us, our vision for grace and mercy becomes very clouded, and all we can see is anger. God would not have been unjust to be angry and punish the Israelites, but the fact is that God’s grace is sufficient. There is no amount of sinning we can do that would cloud God’s vision of grace. We must rest in that fact, but we must also respond to Him with love and devotion.
Even though Saul was not a visionary leader, God used him. Saul even admitted in verse 21 that he was a nobody. God does not call the qualified, He qualifies the called. We can see this briefly in the life of Saul. He started off well, but as you might know, he did not end so well.
This chapter really gives us a view into the heart of God. The Israelites were certainly afflicted by the philistines, but more presently, they were afflicted by their sins. We may have enemy’s that are out to get us. We may feel afflicted by the world we live in, but we too are afflicted ever so presently by our sins. God moves in 1 Samuel 9 to act on their behalf, and he continues to move acting on our behalf. Even though God moves, there are some restrictions on the Nation of Israel. Look back to verse 17 where God tells Samuel, “Here is the man who will govern my people.” Saul would now lead the people and they would quit looking to God for direction. So I ask you, what governs your life. Is it God, or the on demand, materialistic world we live in?