The People’s King
Text: 1 Samuel 9
The day begins as everyday in Saul’s house. Saul wakes up and has a list of farm chores to do. Maybe breakfast, maybe not? Saul is starting his day when his dad, Kish, says some of the donkeys are loose. Kish tells Saul to take someone with him to herd the donkeys. Now, I’m going to stop here and point out the irony the LORD provides. Israel has become stubborn as a mule. They demand a king because they reject the LORD. So the LORD makes sure the man Israel is looking to rule them, Saul, is trying to herd a bunch of stubborn donkeys. Much like he will try to herd a stubborn nation. He will be unsuccessful at both.
Saul has no leadership qualifications, just physical attributes to go off of (vss 1-10)
- His family is very wealthy as noted in verse 1.
- His physical appearance is better than any other man in Israel according to verse 2. He is also the tallest man in Israel. Apart from those qualities, Saul doesn’t have any leadership or spiritual qualities.
- Saul’s wealthy family and physical appearance are enough to make him the candidate of the people.
- Saul’s servant leads Saul to Samuel because otherwise Saul has no dealings and no idea who Samuel is. Saul’s personal life is far removed from the work of God. When the servant brings up getting help from Samuel, Saul’s concern is that Samuel’s services will cost too much (vs 7). In a family like Saul’s, money is the main thing.
Saul is not familiar with serving God (vss 11-14)
- Saul and his servant run into some women and ask them where the prophet is. Saul doesn’t seem to know who Samuel is or what Samuel does. It is a feast day, one of the one’s prescribed by Moses, but Saul is unfamiliar with the entire thing.
- Saul has been making money working on his dad’s farm, but hasn’t a single spiritual inclination toward God in his life.
Saul is not familiar with the man of God (vss 15-24)
- When Saul finally meets Samuel he doesn’t know who Samuel is. He is oblivious to God’s work. That seems pretty oblivious considering Samuel is the man responsible for delivering Israel out of the hands of the Philistines and guiding Israel for years now.
- The LORD never intended Israel to have any king but the Lord Jesus Christ. The only reason Israel is being given a king now because they have rejected their heavenly king and have demanded a visible head over them (see 1 Samuel 10:19, 24, 12:19).
- The LORD accommodates Israel by giving them what they want. According to verse 20 Israel apparently already had someone in mind to be their king. Verse 20 says just as your dad’s heart was on his lost animals so Israel’s heart is on a king.
- Government shall be upon his shoulders… Samuel gives the shoulder for Saul at the feast (vss 23-24).
Saul is unfamiliar with God’s word (vss 25-27)
- The best leadership is godly leadership. Godly leadership comes from knowing God, which Saul doesn’t at this time.
- The LORD still tries to help Israel’s king so he can in turn help the nation. But that will prove to be futile. The Lord tries time and again to help Saul. He will put His Spirit on Saul for a time, but that won’t last.
- When you read 1 Samuel chapters 8-12, you can see the LORD’s frustration with the nation of Israel and His attempts to guide the nation through a man that has no qualifications to be God’s king. This chapter is not about God’s sovereignty in having Saul meet up with Samuel because of lost donkeys. This chapter is God’s frustration and making sure some donkeys are lost until Saul meets Samuel.