1 Samuel 9-10 - Skip Heitzig
Calvary Church is dedicated to doctrine, and we want you to experience the life change that comes from knowing God's word and applying it to your life. So we explain the Bible verse by verse, every chapter, every book. This is Expound.
I sure enjoyed last week being outside. It was really perfect. The weather was good. It wasn't too hot, I felt. We had a little bit of cloud cover. It was just nice and bright and light outside. It was great to actually see everyone during worship, and I enjoyed that.
And I'm really glad that it's not this week that is VBS equally, because I would not want to be outside at 103. My goodness. It's even over 100 in Denver, Colorado, today. So it's just the whole West has been heating up.
And like I said Sunday, I'm so grateful for the one who invented air-conditioning, which is a guy by the name, I discovered, of Willis Carrier. And he started. The Carrier Air-Conditioning Company. But the first unit was invented by him and placed in a building in 1902. So when you think about the history of the world, that's pretty recent.
So the fact is we're used to this. We're spoiled. We're not great at extreme temperatures of cold or hot. But I'm really grateful for the air blowing on us now, when it's hot outside.
Well, turn in your Bibles, please, to the book of 1 Samuel, chapter 9. Chapter 9 and 10 form a unit. It introduces us to the first king of Israel in the united monarchy, before it was divided after Solomon. And that is King Saul he is the first king that is appointed to the people.
Now, a little bit of background, though you probably already know this. But if you're new to our study in Samuel, Samuel, the boy that was born to Hannah and Elkanah back in chapters 1 and 2, is now an old man. And the people of Israel are fearful that Samuel's sons, who are essentially judges down in Beersheba-- Samuel was the last of the judges before a king was introduced to the land-- Samuel's sons were corrupt. They were receiving bribes. They were down south in the desert area of Be'er Sheva.
And the fear of the people was that once Samuel kicks the bucket, once he's dead, once he's gone, that his sons were going to take over. And they were very fearful of this. So they came to Samuel and said, look, we're kind of done with this whole thing. We would rather just have a king, like all the other nations have a King.
And when Samuel heard this, he took it personally. He saw that as a personal affront to his own ministry, his own leadership, of pouring into the nation. And he took it to the Lord, like he should have. And the Lord said, look, dude, don't be upset. I don't know if the Lord actually said dude to him, but this is just paraphrased.
But it's like, look, don't worry about this. They're really not rejecting you. They're rejecting me that I should rule over them. So give them their request. And so enter Saul. And that's where we come to this chapter, where the people demanded a king, and a King is provided in chapter 9.
Now, you're going to notice something about Saul. And it doesn't last very long. He starts out really well. Enjoy it while you can, because almost immediately, Saul goes bad really quickly. But he starts out well.
And that, in and of itself, is a lesson. Having a great start doesn't guarantee a great finish. You can take off in the airplane, but it doesn't mean you're going to have a smooth landing.
A couple of weeks ago, in an air show off the coast of Florida, in Cocoa Beach, the Cocoa Beach Air Show, there was one airplane, a vintage World War II aircraft. The pilot knew what he was doing. It was restored. He took off-- great take-off, great flight.
But in the flight, he was having engine problems. He didn't have the wherewithal to get back on the airstrip, so he had to make an emergency landing in the ocean. And he survived it. Is very rare, but lost his plane in the process. So having a great beginning does not guarantee a great ending.
It's important that as believers, that we set our sights on finishing well, not just starting well, not just living the Christian life well, but all the way through to the finish line. Jesus said, I have come to do and to finish the work that the Father has given me to do. And he finished well. He did what the Father told him to do.
Paul the apostle, that was his desire. He stood before the elders in Ephesus, in the 20th chapter of Acts, one of my favorite stories in the scripture. As he gathers them together in that chapter, he says, everywhere I go, the Holy Spirit is testifying that bonds and persecution, tribulation, await me. I'm going to Jerusalem bound in the Spirit, but everywhere I go, the Holy Spirit is telling me that trouble is ahead, that I'm going to be bound, that I'm going to be in prison, that I'm going to be beat up.
But listen to what he says right after that. "But none of these things move me, nor do I count my life dear unto myself, that I might finish my course with joy and the ministry which has been given to me to testify of the grace of the gospel." I want to finish well.
And at the end of his life, of course, he wrote 2 Timothy, which is his closing remarks. And he said, I have fought the good fight. I have finished the race. Paul finished well. Saul, King Saul, started well, finished miserably, poorly.
So make that your aim by God's grace, not just to be like the seed that was sown that Jesus told about in Matthew, chapter 13, that has a good showing at first, and springs up immediately, but that you endure all the way to the end-- again, by God's grace. Well, it didn't happen with Saul.
By the time we get to chapter 26 of 1 Samuel, 1 Samuel, chapter 26, King Saul will give us his own autobiography in nine words, sums up his whole life. He said, indeed, I have played the fool and erred exceedingly. Indeed, I have played the fool and erred exceedingly. And indeed he did. He made one foolish mistake after another, after another, after another, and he erred exceedingly, as unfortunately, we will see as we get through our story.
Well, we are introduced to him in chapter 9, verse 1. "There was a man of Benjamin." Right off the bat, we have a problem. We have a problem, because according to Genesis chapter 49, the kingship that God ordained was not from the tribe of Benjamin, but from the tribe of Judah. We made mention of this briefly last week.
In Genesis 49, the Lord said through Jacob, prophesying over his boys around his deathbed, he said, the scepter-- the right to rule as king-- the scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet until Shiloh-- or the Messiah-- comes. So the God-ordained, appointed king, the one after God's own heart, King David, will come from the tribe of Judah. But this first King comes from the tribe of Benjamin.
"There was a man of Benjamin, whose name was Kish, the son of Abiel, the son of Zeror, the son of Bechorath, the son of Aphiah, a Benjamite, a mighty man of power, and he had a son whose name was Saul, a choice and handsome young man. There was not a more handsome person than he among the children of Israel." Wow, he's Mr. Good-looking. He's, you're going to discover, tall, dark, and handsome. He looked like a king.
Now, it says the Kish, in verse 1, was a mighty man of power, that is, a mighty man of substance, that is, he was very wealthy. And we discover that, as we go through, Saul, his son, will be out looking for his dad's donkeys. So he evidently was a rancher. He had several herds of animals, flocks. He was a rancher, probably, with a lot of sheep.
Because in those days, donkeys were guardian animals for sheepfolds. There were guard donkeys. And there still are in that part of the world. And so the fact that he had donkeys. And he had servants, he was probably a rancher. He's a man of great substance, a man of great wealth.
And thus, you might say that Samuel had both natural advantages, as well as supernatural advantages, that God gave him. Natural advantage number one, a good heritage-- he had a dad that had substance, a dad who was well-known, a father who was influential. He came from a good family, good stock, and he had good looks. That's the second advantage. He had a son whose name was Saul, a choice-- which means substantive, large. So think of large, good-looking, none more handsome in the children of Israel than he.
"From his shoulders upward, he was taller than any of the people." Now, this was important in the sight of the people of Israel. They want a king who looks mean, looks like he can take people on. Keep in mind, the chief enemy of the children of Israel at this time were a group called the Philistines. And we know that the Philistines had some pretty big boys on their team, right-- a big starting lineup, like Goliath of Gath, a huge, imposing giant.
So to have this king who was tall, dark, and handsome was seen as a benefit. "We want a king like all the other nations." And so far, Saul fits the bill. I wonder, though, if these advantages started to become disadvantages. Because usually, when you're a good looking, you know you are.
And I've known people who know they're good-looking. And they're not great folks to hang out with. They can be conceited. Think back to high school. And they let people know that they're good-looking and that they're a cut above. They want to hang out with just the certain kind. And perhaps Saul just sort of stared at himself in the mirror. This is what I'm picturing-- put his crown on and go, yeah.
I'm king of the world. I'm in charge. It could be that his advantage became his deficit.
Now here's the setup. "The donkeys of Kish"-- that's his dad-- "Saul's father, were lost. And Kish said to his son Saul. Please take one of the servants with you, arise, go and look for the donkeys. So he passed through the mountains of Ephraim, through the land of Shalisha, but he did not find them.
Then they passed through the land of Shaalim. They were not there. Then he passed through the land of the Benjamites, but did not find them." So he's on a search for this herd of donkeys that got lost and searches up and down the land and can't find them. "And when they had come to the land of Zuph"-- the Zuphites dwelt in the land of Zuph, and that's the area, roughly the territory, where the prophet Samuel was from. "Saul said to his servant who was with him, come"-- let's go back home-- "let us return, lest my father cease caring about the donkeys and become worried about us."
Now, this gives to us, this shows for us, another natural advantage that he had. Not only did he have a good family, not only did he have good looks, but he had a good relationship with his family. He had a good relationship with his father.
His father gives him in order to go look for the donkeys. Saul could have said, no, I don't feel like it. Go get one of your other servants to go with this servant. I'm staying home. But he immediately responds. His father says, please, which is noteworthy. And his son immediately responds. So he knows how to respond to authority.
And there's a sentimental part of Saul. I like the fact that he says, you know, we've been out so long, my dad is going to be worried. He won't care about the donkeys. He's just really going to care about us, that we're not back yet. He's going to start having greater worries, and that is for our own life. So he cared about the feelings of his father. All of these are wonderful advantages.
Now, let me just say, if, likewise, you have a good heritage, and you have good parents, if you have godly parents-- maybe some of you were like that. Maybe some of you were raised in a church. You had a mom and dad who love God and who love you. Count that as one of the biggest blessings in your life. Chalk that up in the top three big blessings of God. It's an advantage to you.
People that grow up with parents who love them, who love each other-- I remember, at my parents' 50th wedding anniversary-- and I just celebrated our 40th. But I remember my parents' 50th wedding anniversary. And when it was time for me to stand up and say something, all I could think of was, Mom and Dad, thank you for not giving up on each other. Thank you for staying together for 50 years to show me how to do it, to show me what stability is. And it gave me a tremendous sense of stability. I count that as a big blessing.
So Saul has everything so far in the natural realm of natural advantage, at least, going for him. "He said to him, look now, there is in this city a man of God"-- now he's referring to Samuel the prophet-- "and he is an honorable man. All that he says surely comes to pass. So let us go there. Perhaps he can show us the way that we should go.
Then Saul said to his servant. But look, If we go, what shall we bring to the man? For the bread in our vessels is all gone, and there is no present to bring to the man or God. What do we have? And the servant answered Saul again and said, look, I have here at hand one-fourth of a shekel of silver. I will give that to the man of God to tell us the way."
Now, I may be making too much of this, but I noticed something in reading this. The servant of Kish, the servant of Saul, Saul's family, knew who Samuel was. He had a reputation-- a man of God, reliable, what he says comes to pass.
It seems, though, that Saul didn't know who Samuel was. He didn't have personal knowledge of him. Now, why is that important? Because Samuel was famous. He did judge Israel. He was a spiritual influence in the land, and you would think everybody would have heard of him.
The fact that Saul didn't know who he was, at least to me-- and I may be making too much of it. But to me, it indicates that he wasn't all that interested in spiritual things. And I think that's accurate, because you will discover that as time goes on. He didn't really give a hoot about God and God's will. He really cares about his position and how he looks.
Now, look at verse 9. "Formerly in Israel, when a man went to inquire of God, he spoke this way-- come, let us go to the seer. For he who is now called a prophet was formerly called a seer." At this point in Israeli history, there weren't prophets, per se.
Now, we call Samuel a prophet. He indeed fulfilled that role. But really his role was more of a judge. We had Moses. We had Joshua. We had a period of Judges. The last judge before the kingdom was Samuel. Samuel was a judge.
Later on, there will be the designated office of nevi'im, in Hebrew, which is the prophets. There will be major prophets and minor prophets. They'll give to us prophecy. And there will be that official role. They'll even be, with Elijah and Elijah, a company, or the school of the prophets.
But at this point in their history, they didn't call them prophets. They called them seers. And I like that name seer. In Hebrew, ro'a means to see. And they were called seers, because they could see into the future. They could see into a situation. They could see with perception. They could see the will of the Lord. So that was their title.
So they would say, come, let us go to the seer. "Then Saul said to his servant, well said. Come, let us go. So they went to the city where the man of God was. And they went up the hill to the city. They met some young women going out to draw water and said to them, is the seer here?"
Now, I love this scene, because you can still go to Israel today, go to the Middle East today, and go to some of these areas where there are the wells dug from ancient times. And you'll see the women still walking out to get water out of a well in some of the Bedouin communities.
There's a well that we would often visit outside of Bethlehem. And we take groups there. And I would notice some of the young girls from the village coming up there.
Now, it could be that they know when the tour buses are coming, and they tell their daughter in the tent, go on, go out there and be the prop for this tour group. That's highly possible. But still, we dig it. We appreciate it. We love it, to see this girl go down there and bring her sheep with her and let down the bucket and bring it up. And you get that whole picture right before your eyes of what you're reading about. So that is happening.
They see these girls, and they say, is the seer around? "They answered and said, yes, there he is, just ahead of you. Hurry now, for today, he came to this city, because there is a sacrifice of the people today on the high place. As soon as you come into the city, you will surely find him before he goes to the high place to eat. For the people will not eat until he comes. Because he must bless the sacrifice. Afterward, those who were invited will eat. Now therefore, go up, for about this time you will find him.
And they went up to the city. And as they were coming into the city, there was Samuel coming out toward them on his way up to the high place." Now permit me. Indulge me something that I noticed here. Saul is looking for Samuel, talks to some women, and takes their advice to go after Samuel, right?
At the end of Samuel's life, Samuel will look for the advice of one woman in seeking the advice of Samuel, who is now dead. You know what I'm talking about, in chapter 28? She's called the witch of Endor.
God wasn't speaking to Saul at that latter part of his life. He tried to inquire of the Lord. The Lord had nothing to say to him. So he goes to a witch and using divination, tries to get the witch to give him advice, a woman to give him advice. She manages to conjure up the spirit of Samuel from the dead. And Samuel lambasted him and gave him a prophecy from the dead about how, look, dude, you're toast. Battle is not going to go well tomorrow. You're dead meat. That's the long and short of it.
So it's just an interesting point of contrast. Beginning of his life, he takes the advice of these women in seeking Samuel. End of his life, he seeks for the advice of one woman in particular, also to find out what Samuel has to say-- interesting point of contrast.
I love verse 15. "Now the Lord had told Samuel in his ear the day before Saul came, saying, tomorrow about this time, I will send you a man from the land of Benjamin, and you shall anoint him commander"-- or prince, or ruler-- "over my people Israel, that he may save my people from the hand of the Philistines. For I have looked upon my people, because their cry has come to me.
And when Samuel saw Saul, the Lord said to him, there he is, the man of whom I spoke to you. This one shall reign over my people." Now, go back to chapter 8. Just go back one chapter and look at verse 21 of that chapter.
It says, "Samuel heard all the words of the people, their request for a king." Samuel heard all the words that they spoke to him. "And he repeated them in the hearing of the Lord." He's praying to God. He's repeating what the people said in the hearing of the Lord.
So he repeated them in the hearing of the Lord. Compare that to what we just read, verse 15 of chapter 9. "Now the Lord had told Samuel in his ear the day before that there's a man coming." So I'm going to call this the principle of fellowship. If you whisper in God's ear, God is going to whisper in your ear. If you make it your habit to pour into God's ear everything that concerns you, you'll find God speaking to you and leading you by the way that you should go.
Commit every decision, every day, every situation, to the Lord. Learn to do that. Learn to pour it into his ear, and you will find the Lord will whisper into your ear, this is the way, walk in it. Go here. Go there. You'll just find the Lord leading you. Whether it's a whisper or a voice or not isn't the issue. But you'll find that he will direct you. I love that principle.
So verse 18-- "Saul drew near to Samuel in the gate and said, please tell me, where is the seer's house? And Samuel answered Saul and said, I am the seer." See? That was a joke.
"Go up before me"-- it's the heat. I understand-- "go up before me to the high place, for you shall eat with me today. And tomorrow I will let you go and will teach you all that is in your heart. But as for your donkeys that were lost three days ago, do not be anxious about them, for they have been found. And on whom is all the desire of Israel? Is it not on you and on all your father's house?"
That's his way of saying, look, the people have been asking for a king like other nations. You're the guy. You're the desire of the nation. The nation has been hankering after you. You're the one.
"And Saul answered and said, am I not a Benjamite"-- that's what I say.
But he said-- "am I not a Benjamite, of the smallest of the tribes of Israel, and my family the least of all the families of the tribe of Benjamin? Why then do you speak like this to me?" Now, ' gave you several good natural advantages that Saul had-- good heritage, good looks, good relationship with his dad. Here's another one-- a good estimation of himself. That's how he started.
He will not stay in this position very long. He'll be very puffed up very quickly-- again, looking in that mirror with the crown. I'm king of the world. But he begins having a good estimation of himself. He's humble. He said, look, I'm the smallest tribe, and I'm like the least guy.
In the very next chapter, in chapter 10, around verse 22, when it's time for inauguration day, coronation day, they looked for Saul. They can't find him. And he is hidden behind the equipment. He's scared. He's scared to even come out and stand up as the king. I'll get to that hopefully in a minute. If not, we'll get to it eventually. But we will get to it. Unless the Lord comes back, we'll get to it.
But I love this. He starts out humble. He doesn't stay humble, but he starts out humble. When the Lord called Gideon to be a judge, to deliver the Midianites-- to deliver the children of Israel from the Midianites and to fight the Midianite army, and the angel of the Lord came to Gideon threshing wheat. And he gave him greetings, you mighty man of valor. And he said, look, I'm the least of my clan. And my clan is the weakest in the tribe of Manasseh.
When God called Moses, Moses said, I can't stand before Pharaoh. I can't even talk. When God called Paul the apostle, Paul said, I am less than the least of all the saints. There's something to people that God chooses to use them. They can't believe that God has chosen to use them.
And I find a legitimate, authentic humility among mighty men and women of God. I remember when I first had the privilege of meeting Dr. Billy Graham, and going over to his house, and having meals with him, and talking to him about his past. The way he talked about himself and about his past was so humble, that he just couldn't believe that God used him the way he did.
And when I was with him at a crusade event down in Puerto Rico-- it was the first worldwide broadcast where it was simulcast around the world. It was the first time technology allowed for that. This was way before YouTube and the internet. And they were beaming up satellite television all over the globe. And he was having his local crusade in San Juan, Puerto Rico. When we were together in the afternoon, he turned to me, and he goes, I just hope people come tonight.
And I thought to myself immediately, you're kidding me, right? Let's see, you are Billy Graham. I see posters everywhere. And of course, it was jam-packed, and it was very successful. But he just had these legitimate fears that nobody's coming. And just it's like, man, this guy is so humble.
Well, Saul starts out that way. So he had a good estimation of himself. "Then Samuel took Saul and his servant, brought them into the hall, and had them sit in the place of honor among those who were invited. There were about 30 people. Samuel said to the cook, bring the portion which I gave you, of which I said to you, set it apart.
So the cook took up the thigh"-- which is the upper part, the chuck roast, I'm guessing-- "and set it before Saul. And Samuel said, here it is, what was kept back. It is set apart for you. Eat. For until this time, it has been kept for you, since I said I invited the people. So Saul ate with Samuel that day.
And when they had come down from the high place into the city, Samuel spoke with Saul on the top of the house." Now, get the picture. The houses in the Middle East-- and we can relate to this here-- were mostly flat-roofed houses. And people notice that when they come to Albuquerque. They go, what's up with all these houses and buildings? Everything is flat, right?
And it's very much like the Middle East, where it's just-- it's not about style. It's about substance and structure. So they would build a flat roof, and they would use the flat roof. They put a stairway on the outside to get up on top of the roof. And they would put a little shelter or a lean-to or a temporary structure, and the family would go up there in the afternoons and enjoy the evening together on the roof. It was quite a common practice.
So they walked up that stairway, that exterior stairway, got up on top of the roof. "They arose early. It was about the dawning of the day. Samuel called to Saul on the top of the house, saying, get up, that I may send you on your way. And Saul arose. Both of them went outside, he and Samuel.
Now, as they were going down to the outskirts of the city, Samuel said to Saul, tell the servant to go on ahead of us. And he went on. But you stand here awhile, that I may announce to you the word of God."
There's a sermon in that verse. It's such a beautiful principle. You stand here, or you stay here. You remain here a while. Don't be too quick to get out and work and find those donkeys. Just stay a while, that I may announce to you the word of God.
Before you go out to work, hear the word. That should be our daily mantra. Maybe that's not the right word, mantra. That should be our daily saying. Before I go to work, I stay back a while to get the word.
You say, well, I start my work day early. OK, get up just a little earlier then. Now, I'm not going to lay that trip on you. You can have it any time you want during the day or evening. There's no law or legalism here when you spend your time with the Lord. But I am advocating for the earlier, the better, that your first part of the day is you, like this, stay back and let the word of God get fed into your soul, get announced to you.
And I love this. So he's saying, look, Saul, you're looking for donkeys. But God's looking for a king. So you're royalty. You're sons and daughters of the king, and God has an announcement for you every day from his word, from his heart, to give to you to direct your day, to direct your steps.
So stand here, or stay here, awhile, that I may announce to you the word of God. "Then Samuel took a flask of oil and poured it on his head." I heard a chuckle, maybe a couple of chuckles. Because it just sounds weird to us in the West. Hey, I got a message from God for you-- gul-gul-gul-gul-gul-gul-gul-gul.
Pours oil all over his head, 30-weight.
And it gets even a little stranger. So he poured oil on his head and kissed him. "And he said, is it not because the Lord has anointed you commander over his inheritance?" Now, he's being anointed with oil, and he's being anointed to be king.
But this is a brand new practice. If you know your Bible, this has never happened before. So far in the Bible, the only things or people that were anointed was the Tabernacle. That's the thing. That's a place. Oil was sprinkled on it, and it was anointed as set apart for a specific use-- worship-- and priests. So places and priests, the place, the Tabernacle, and priests were anointed with oil.
Kings were not. But they will be from here on out. Because the kingdom is starting in Israel. And Israel is going to follow this practice with all of its kings. And later on, when the kingship is established in Jerusalem under King David, there's even a special place where all this took place. It is the water source in Jerusalem called the Gihon Spring.
So if you take a tour with us to Israel in 2022, we'll take you to the City of David. We'll take you down to the Gihon Spring. You can see it, and you can see where the kings, Solomon and the rest, would be anointed as king of Israel. The practice begins here, when Samuel takes oil and pours it on Saul's head.
Now, can I give you a little background? Because this stuff to me is fun. Other nations did this, but a little bit differently. And they had a little superstition tied to it. So kings of other nations were anointed, but not with olive oil. This is olive oil.
But they took the fat of animals, and boiled the fat down to an oily substance, and poured the fat onto the King that they were ordaining. Fat chance, right? But they did it.
And why did they do it? They believed that the spirit of that animal would imbue the king. So they would take the fat of a bull, and they'd pour it on the new king. And the idea is that the nature of the bull, that strong leadership quality, would be part of that king by that superstition of the anointing of fat.
I love that the children of Israel used olive oil. And this idea of anointing comes to us in Psalm 133, where it says, Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity. It's like the oil that runs down the beard of Aaron, goes onto his garments. So they didn't just anoint-- make a little sign of the cross, anointing with oil. They poured a bunch of oil all over the hair and beard of the person, whether it was the priest or Aaron or whether it was the king.
Something else, if you don't mind me explaining this-- in Hebrew, the idea of Messiah means "the anointed one." And the word [HEBREW], or [HEBREW], the root word in Hebrew, means "to smear." And so Messiah, or [HEBREW], Messiah, literally means in Hebrew "the smeared one." The idea is he is being set apart and smeared with oil, or anointed. That's what Messiah means, the anointed one, the smeared one, the marked one. And he would be God's anointed as the Savior of the world. So the idea of the Messiah starts in Judaism and develops throughout the prophets, but it comes from this anointing, the smeared one, the anointed one.
So verse 2-- "When you have departed from me today, you will find two men by Rachel's tomb in the territory of Benjamin, at Zelzah, and they will say to you, the donkeys that you went to look for have been found. And now your father has ceased caring about the donkeys, and he's worrying about you, saying, what shall I do about my son? Then you shall go on forward from there and come to the terebinth tree of Tabor.
There three men going up to God at Bethel will meet you, one carrying three young goats, another carrying three loaves of bread, another carrying a skin of wine. And they will greet you and give you two loaves of bread, which you shall receive from their hands. After that, you shall come to the hill of God where the Philistine garrison is. And it will happen, when you have come there to the city, that you will meet a group of prophets coming down from the high place with a stringed instrument, tambourine, flute, harp, before them, and they will be prophesying.
Then the Spirit of the Lord will come upon you, and you will prophesy with them and be turned into another man. And let it be, when these signs come upon you, that you do as the occasion demands, for God is with you." So do you get the picture?
Samuel is anointing Saul as the first king. And he says, Saul, three things are going to happen to you. Three events I'm predicting are going to happen to you, and those events are going to confirm that you're the guy, that you're the king.
Number one, there's going to be a couple of guys at the tomb of Rachel, who are going to tell you about the donkeys, that they've been found. And number two, there are going to be men of God that are at the oak of Mount Tabor, and they're going to provide food for you, basically. You can take bread and wine from them.
And then you're going to hear prophets and see prophets who are singing, worshiping, and prophesying. And you will do as the occasion demands. And we're going to find out what that is. He prophesies with them.
So the three signs that Samuel tells to Saul should have served as lessons, confirmation lessons, for him. Lesson number one-- God can solve your problems. His problem was, my dad lost his donkeys. I've been searching for days for them. God's got that covered. They've been found. God can solve your problems.
Lesson number two-- in the second incident, God can provide or supply all your needs. They're going to have food for you. You're going to be provided for. And then third, God will empower you to do what you cannot do on your own. Those three lessons he was to learn by these three events.
I love verse 6. "The Spirit of the Lord will come upon you. You will prophesy with them, be turned into another man. And let it be, when these signs come to you, that you will do as the occasion demands. For God is with you."
Now, I want you to notice a couple of things as we go through and finish out this chapter. I told you about natural advantages. God also predicts that this king will have supernatural advantages as well. Advantage number one-- God's presence. The Lord will be with you.
If the Lord is with you, it doesn't matter who's not with you. It doesn't matter who's forsaken you, who leaves you. It doesn't matter who's with you or not with you, if the Lord is with you.
Jesus said to his disciples, I will be with you always, even to the end of the age. What a beautiful promise! So that's the supernatural advantage number one, God's presence.
Later on, when Paul is in the-- the story of the Book of Acts, Paul goes to Corinth. Things don't go well. He does evangelism. Some of the Jewish people in the synagogue believe in Jesus. They get persecuted for it. Paul becomes hesitant if he should preach anymore, because it would put his Jewish brethren newly born again in Christ in greater jeopardy.
And the Lord comes to him that night and says, Paul, go back to the city and preach. Do not keep silent. Do not hold your peace. For I am with you. And I have many people in this city. In other words, I still have more people that I've marked out to save, so don't keep your mouth shut and don't keep quiet. I am with you, man.
I know you feel alone right now, Paul. I know you feel isolated. I know you feel like the world is against you. But I am with you.
Let me tell you a great story, a true story-- sad story, but a powerful story. If you know missiology, you know the name John Patton. John Patton was a missionary from, I think, Edinburgh, Scotland, in the 1800s. He was dispatched by the Missionary Society of Scotland. He went to the New Hebrides, the islands in the South Pacific, to evangelize. The islands were filled with cannibals.
He took his wife. He went to evangelize cannibals. His son was born to him there, named Peter. His wife was named Mary. His son was named Peter. While he was there ministering, preaching the gospel to the cannibals, his wife died, and his son died. He dug their graves with his own hands, and then he slept at night on the graves for a few days until the decomposition took place in the bodies. Because he knew the cannibals would dig up the graves to eat his wife and son.
Now he is utterly alone in the New Hebrides. And he writes in his journal, Were it not that I experienced the presence of Jesus Christ in this place, I would have gone mad. I would have gone crazy. But what is he inferring? Powerfully so-- he's like, I experienced the power and the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ in my darkest moment. So it's a powerful thing when the Lord says, I'm with you. So advantage number one on the supernatural scale-- God's presence.
Supernatural advantage number two-- God's power. That's what he promises. You're going to be turned into another man, and you're going to be able to prophesy. And he does.
"You shall go down before me"-- verse 8-- "to Gilgal. And surely I will come down to you to offer burnt offerings and make sacrifices of peace offerings. Seven days you shall wait until I come to you and show you what you should do. So it was, when he turned his back to go from Samuel, that God gave him another heart. And all those signs came to pass that day."
Now, I think what this means-- I wouldn't read into this, from a New Testament perspective, that he was born again, and that he was a spiritual man, full of faith, wanting to please God. Because we don't see that in the narrative from this time forward. But I think it means God gave him a heart for leadership. God gave him a new heart, a new orientation, a new mind that would say, I can do this. I can do this. Take it however you want to take it, but that's how I read it.
"When they came there"-- verse 10-- "to the hill, there was a group of prophets to meet him. Then the Spirit of God came upon him, and he prophesied among them. And it happened, when all who knew him formerly saw that he indeed prophesied among the prophets, that the people said to one another, what is that-- or, what is this that has come upon the son of Kish? Is Saul also among the prophets?"
Now, you might read this and say, Skip, I beg to differ with you. The fact that he prophesied shows that he had a relationship with God. Well, it's Interesting. Jesus said, many will come to me in that day and say, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name? And I will say to them, I never knew you. Depart from me you workers of iniquity.
Paul said, Though I speak with the tongue of men and of angels and have not love, I am nothing. Though I give my body to be burned and I prophesy-- and listed all of these powerful gifts, that a lifestyle has to match the lip service.
Verse 12-- "Then a man from there answered and said, but who is their father? Therefore, it became a proverb-- Is Saul also among the prophets?" Now, this idea of who is their father is who's their mentor? Who's the guy in charge?
Later on, there's going to be a group of prophets, a school of the prophets. Elijah and Elisha will head those up. And so at this point, they're just trying to figure out the spiritual landscape of this.
But here's the point. Holy Spirit is all over this guy. Every advantage to succeed is his. It's hard to believe that this is the same Saul who died a coward on Mount Gilboa. But he did. "And when he had finished prophesying, he went to the high place." Verse 14-- "Then Saul's uncle said to him and his servant, where did you go? And he said, to look for the donkeys. When we saw that they were nowhere to be found, we went to Samuel.
And Saul's uncle said, tell me, please, what Samuel said to you. So Saul said to his uncle, he told us plainly that the donkeys had been found." That's true. "But about the matter of the kingdom, he did not tell him what Samuel had said." So he just didn't tell him the whole story. He didn't want envy. He didn't want a coup to develop. So he told him in part.
Now let's finish up this chapter. "Then Samuel called the people together to the Lord at Mizpah, and said to the children of Israel, thus says the Lord God of Israel, I brought up Israel out of Egypt, and delivered you from the hand of the Egyptians and from the hand of all the kingdoms and from those who oppressed you. But you have today rejected your God, who himself saved you out of your adversities, your tribulations, and have said to him, no, but set a king over us.
Now therefore, present yourselves before the Lord by your tribes and by your clans. And when Samuel had caused all the tribes of Israel to come near, the tribe of Benjamin was chosen. When he caused the tribe of Benjamin to come near by their families, the tribe of Matri was chosen. And Saul the son of Kish was chosen.
But when they sought him, he could not be found. Therefore they inquired of the Lord further, has the man of God come yet? And the Lord answered, there he is-- or has the man come here yet"-- that is, the king-- "and the Lord answered, there he is, hidden among the equipment. So they ran and brought him from there. And when he stood among the people, he was taller than any of the people from his shoulders upward."
Question-- why was he hiding? Could have been humble, right? That's how I take it. He was humble at first. Could have been shy. Matthew Henry, the Bible commentator, suggested, well, with an introduction like Samuel-- here he is. You people wanted a king. You rejected God, and so here's your king.
With an introduction like that, you don't want to be that guy. And maybe he just knew Israel sinned in asking for a king. And so he's like, I don't want this. So he's hiding from it.
Or perhaps he knew that Israel had a very meager army, that the Philistines were a mighty foe. The Ammonites were also a mighty foe. They're going to be in battle against them pretty shortly. And so he stayed back. There's a number of reasons he could have stayed back.
So they ran, and they brought him from there. And when he stood among the people, he was taller than any of the people from his shoulders upward. "And Samuel said to the people, do you see him whom the Lord has chosen, that there is no one like him among all the people? So all the people shouted, long live the king! Then Samuel explained to the people the behavior of royalty, and wrote it in a book and laid it before the Lord. And Samuel sent all the people away, every man to his house."
Now, before we close, I want you to look at something in the book of Deuteronomy. Go back to Deuteronomy chapter 17, because I think it explains what Samuel wrote that day for King Saul and why he wrote it. In Deuteronomy 17, Moses saying to the children of Israel long before this-- go down to verse 14 of Deuteronomy 17. "When you come into the land which the Lord your God is giving you, and possess it, and dwell in it, and say, I will set a king over me like all the nations that are around me, you shall surely set a king over you whom the Lord your God chooses, one from among your brethren you shall set as king over you.
You may not set a foreigner over you who is not your brother. But he shall not multiply horses for himself or cause the people to return to Egypt to multiply horses. For the Lord has said, you shall not return that way again." Interesting, isn't it? Because King Solomon had stables in Jerusalem, in Megiddo, with thousands upon thousands upon thousands of horses. Then he went to Egypt, bought more thoroughbred horses and more chariots, very expensive horses and chariots, from Egypt. So he violated just the first two things right off the bat.
Verse 17-- "Neither shall he multiply wives for himself, lest his heart turn away, nor shall he greatly multiply silver and gold for himself." Again, later on, we'll see with Solomon, he didn't just have a wife or 2 or 3 or 10, he had 700 wives and 300 porcupines-- I mean concubines.
But it was a sticky situation.
So he had 1,000 women. And it says he made gold and silver as plentiful as the stones in Jerusalem. So he multiplied what God told them not to do.
Also-- here it is. "Also it shall be, when he sits on the throne of his kingdom, he shall write for himself a copy of this law in a book from the one before the priests, the Levites. And it shall be with him that he shall read it all the days of his life, that he may learn to fear the Lord his God and be careful to observe all the words of this law and these statutes, that his heart may not be lifted above his brethren, that he may not turn aside from the commandment to the right hand or to the left, that he may prolong his days in his kingdom, he and his children in the midst of Israel."
I think Samuel was writing, on behalf of Saul, the law, gave him a copy of the law and said, now read it. Now live it. Now stick by it. Now stay close to the Lord and follow him all the days of your life. Sadly, that doesn't happen. Because as you'll see, King Saul has "I" disease. It's all about what I want and what I get and what people will do for me.
Now let's finish out the chapter in verse-- of chapter 10. Verse 26-- "Saul also went home to Gibeah." And I love, love, love this. "Valiant men went with him, whose hearts God had touched." That's another supernatural advantage. He has God's presence. He has God's power. And he has God's people, valiant men touched by God to follow him, to support him, to be in his army, to be his emissaries.
He should have succeeded. He shouldn't have been the one who said, indeed I have played the fool, and I have erred exceedingly. But he did, even with natural advantages, even with supernatural advantages. So he had valiant men, whose hearts got had touched. "But some rebels said, how can this man save us? So they despised him, and they brought him no presents. But he held his peace."
It's always that way in leadership. Some love you. Some hate you. With King David, a man after God's own heart, some loved him. Some cursed him. Shimei cursed him from the Mount of Olives. Others rebelled against him-- his own son, half his army.
It's that way with the Lord Jesus Christ. Some love Him. Some hate Him. Jesus is the most loved and the most hated individual who has ever lived. But we who love Him are valiant men and women whose hearts God has touched. We are God's people.
And Father, we thank you that you have given us, like you gave to Saul, everything we need to succeed in the life you've called us to. As Peter said, everything that pertains to life and godliness through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue. Everything we need to be your people, to walk in the Spirit, to be successful in a world marred by sin, tainted with corruption, you have given to us.
I pray, Lord, that we who have started this Christian walk would finish well, would end triumphantly, would be able to say, like Paul,
I've run the race. I finished my course. And now there's laid up for me a crown, which the Lord will give to those who love his appearing. Strengthen us, Father, for whatever comes the rest of this week as we go back into our community, back into our family, back into our place of work, place of business, school, our sphere of influence. Lord, I pray, by your Spirit, you would give us everything we need to be your witness, for the glory of God. In Jesus' name, amen.
For more resources from Calvary Church and Skip Heitzig, visit calvarynm.church. Thank you for joining us from this teaching in our series Expound.