A Most Curious King

The story of the selection of Saul to be the first king of Israel is striking. The people had demanded a king to lead them instead of God. Obviously, that was a very bad decision and something that must have grieved God’s heart for no one could rule the nation of Israel like him.

Saul was the most physically impressive man in Israel. He was head and shoulders taller than anyone else. 1 Samuel 10 gives the facts around the coronation of Saul. Even though God had told Saul he would be king, the nation went through the formal process of drawing lots to identify who would rule over them. In verses 21 and 22 it says, “Saul the son of Kish was taken by lot. But when they sought him, he could not be found. .. and the LORD said, ‘Behold, he has hidden himself among the baggage.’”

What? Saul, was given the Spirit of God to enable him (v. 6), he was given a new heart to serve him (v. 9), he was given a vision of his new role as Israel’s first king and yet he was not to be found at his own coronation! He had hidden himself from the people, but the nation still chose him to be their king instead of God. Saul’s actions seem to imply that even with God’s enabling, he was a seriously flawed man. It also was a foretaste of the trouble ahead when he would be king. Saul was a stark contrast to the perfect rule of the perfect God which the nation rejected.

Robert Bergen notes, “Saul’s vacancy at his own coronation suitably foreshadows a reign that would vacate responsibilities associated with the exercise of godly rule and perhaps suggests the lack of wisdom of those who preferred such a king to Yahweh.”

As easy as it is to find fault with Saul and the Israelites for wanting him to be their king, I really am guilty of doing something similar to that today. What do I mean? I want to be king of my own life rather than let God rule my life and heart as he desires. I often am convinced I know what is best and struggle to trust in God’s leadership.

Father, forgive me for my imperfection and my false perception of knowing what is best for my life. I need to learn from this example of Saul and remember that you are the only one qualified to rule my life. May my heart be pure and may I choose to follow your leadership in my life on a moment by moment basis.

Following Jesus with you,


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