Israel’s cry pained God. They rejected Him, dumped Him. “Dear God, we’re sorry to tell you this, but we want someone else.” It had to be heart-wrenching. “Give us a King. We want to blend in. Make us like everyone else.” Be careful what you ask for….
It’s all about choice. God allows us to choose, even when our choice will ultimately hurt us. That’s the whole point of the conflict between good and evil. The devil is much less keen on choice, preferring coercion and force. But God—being God— let them choose, and gave Israel a king. Much pain and heartache resulted—for many generations to come. It’s easy to tell God what I want, rather than wait on His timing and seek His will. To create God in my image rather than be recreated in His. It’s hard to trust when human security is threatened, the future uncertain. Survival instincts kick in and I attempt to save myself. That’s when my faith is tested.
Lyrics to a popular song include these words, “Your ways are higher than mine. I want mountains to move, You want me to climb.” I don’t want to climb, I want the path of least resistance. I think I know best. I trust my own strength. I want control. Not so different from the Children of Israel. Thankfully, God didn’t abandon His children then nor will He abandon me now.
I would love to know how different history would be, had they trusted and waited. What if they had kept God as their King? And I wonder, how different will my future be if I wait on God. What if I don’t try to solve my problems in my own pathetic way, thinking I know best? Today, dear Father, thank you for mountains in my life. Teach me to hear Your voice, to seek Your ways, and wait on Your timing. Teach me to climb.
loves her family, her dogs, and enjoys country living.
1 Samuel 9
Saul Chosen to Be King
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. 2 And he had a choice and handsome son whose name was Saul. There was not a more handsome person than he among the children of Israel. From his shoulders upward he was taller than any of the people.
3 Now the donkeys of Kish, Saul’s father, were lost. And Kish said to his son Saul, “Please take one of the servants with you, and arise, go and look for the donkeys.” 4 So he passed through the mountains of Ephraim and through the land of Shalisha, but they did not find them. Then they passed through the land of Shaalim, and they were not there. Then he passed through the land of the Benjamites, but they did not find them.
5 When they had come to the land of Zuph, Saul said to his servant who was with him, “Come, let us return, lest my father cease caring about the donkeys and become worried about us.”
6 And he said to him, “Look now, there is in this city a man of God, 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.”
7 Then Saul said to his servant, “But look, if we go, what shall we bring the man? For the bread in our vessels is all gone, and there is no present to bring to the man of God. What do we have?”
8 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 our way.” 9 (Formerly in Israel, when a man went to inquire of God, he spoke thus: “Come, let us go to the seer”; for he who is now called a prophet was formerly called a seer.)
10 Then Saul said to his servant, “Well said; come, let us go.” So they went to the city where the man of God was.
11 As 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?”
12 And they answered them 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. 13 As soon as you come into the city, you will surely find him before he goes up to the high place to eat. For the people will not eat until he comes, because he must bless the sacrifice; afterward those who are invited will eat. Now therefore, go up, for about this time you will find him.” 14 So they went up to the city. As they were coming into the city, there was Samuel, coming out toward them on his way up to the high place.
15 Now the Lord had told Samuel in his ear the day before Saul came, saying, 16 “Tomorrow about this time I will send you a man from the land of Benjamin, and you shall anoint him commander 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.”
17 So 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.” 18 Then Saul drew near to Samuel in the gate, and said, “Please tell me, where is the seer’s house?”
19 Samuel answered Saul and said, “I am the seer. Go up before me to the high place, for you shall eat with me today; and tomorrow I will let you go and will tell you all that is in your heart. 20 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?”
21 And Saul answered and 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?”
22 Now Samuel took Saul and his servant and brought them into the hall, and had them sit in the place of honor among those who were invited; there were about thirty persons. 23 And Samuel said to the cook, “Bring the portion which I gave you, of which I said to you, ‘Set it apart.’ ” 24 So the cook took up the thigh with its upper part and set it before Saul. And Samuel said, “Here it is, what was kept back. It was 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.
25 When they had come down from the high place into the city, Samuel spoke with Saul on the top of the house. 26 They arose early; and it was about the dawning of the day that Samuel called to Saul on the top of the house, saying, “Get up, that I may send you on your way.” And Saul arose, and both of them went outside, he and Samuel.
Saul Anointed King
27 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.”
1 Samuel 10
Samuel Anoints Saul
1 Then Samuel took a flask of oil and poured it on his head, and kissed him and said: “Is it not because the Lord has anointed you commander over His inheritance? 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 which you went to look for have been found. And now your father has ceased caring about the donkeys and is worrying about you, saying, “What shall I do about my son?” ’ 3 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, and another carrying a skin of wine. 4 And they will greet you and give you two loaves of bread, which you shall receive from their hands. 5 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, a tambourine, a flute, and a harp before them; and they will be prophesying. 6 Then the Spirit of the Lord will come upon you, and you will prophesy with them and be turned into another man. 7 And let it be, when these signs come to you, that you do as the occasion demands; for God is with you. 8 You shall go down before me 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, till I come to you and show you what you should do.”
9 So it was, when he had turned his back to go from Samuel, that God gave him another heart; and all those signs came to pass that day. 10 When they came there 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. 11 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 this that has come upon the son of Kish? Is Saul also among the prophets?” 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?” 13 And when he had finished prophesying, he went to the high place.
14 Then Saul’s uncle said to him and his servant, “Where did you go?”
So he said, “To look for the donkeys. When we saw that they were nowhere to be found, we went to Samuel.”
15 And Saul’s uncle said, “Tell me, please, what Samuel said to you.”
16 So Saul said to his uncle, “He told us plainly that the donkeys had been found.” But about the matter of the kingdom, he did not tell him what Samuel had said.
Saul Proclaimed King
17 Then Samuel called the people together to the Lord at Mizpah, 18 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 kingdoms and from those who oppressed you.’ 19 But you have today rejected your God, who Himself saved you from all your adversities and your tribulations; and you have said to Him, ‘No, set a king over us!’ Now therefore, present yourselves before the Lord by your tribes and by your clans.”
20 And when Samuel had caused all the tribes of Israel to come near, the tribe of Benjamin was chosen. 21 When he had caused the tribe of Benjamin to come near by their families, the family of Matri was chosen. And Saul the son of Kish was chosen. But when they sought him, he could not be found. 22 Therefore they inquired of the Lord further, “Has the man come here yet?”
And the Lord answered, “There he is, hidden among the equipment.”
23 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. 24 And Samuel said to all 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 and said, “Long live the king!”
25 Then Samuel explained to the people the behavior of royalty, and wrote it in a book and laid it up before the Lord. And Samuel sent all the people away, every man to his house. 26 And Saul also went home to Gibeah; and valiant men went with him, whose hearts God had touched. 27 But some rebels said, “How can this man save us?” So they despised him, and brought him no presents. But he held his peace.
1 Samuel 11
Saul Saves Jabesh Gilead
1 Then Nahash the Ammonite came up and encamped against Jabesh Gilead; and all the men of Jabesh said to Nahash, “Make a covenant with us, and we will serve you.”
2 And Nahash the Ammonite answered them, “On this condition I will make a covenant with you, that I may put out all your right eyes, and bring reproach on all Israel.”
3 Then the elders of Jabesh said to him, “Hold off for seven days, that we may send messengers to all the territory of Israel. And then, if there is no one to save us, we will come out to you.”
4 So the messengers came to Gibeah of Saul and told the news in the hearing of the people. And all the people lifted up their voices and wept. 5 Now there was Saul, coming behind the herd from the field; and Saul said, “What troubles the people, that they weep?” And they told him the words of the men of Jabesh. 6 Then the Spirit of God came upon Saul when he heard this news, and his anger was greatly aroused. 7 So he took a yoke of oxen and cut them in pieces, and sent them throughout all the territory of Israel by the hands of messengers, saying, “Whoever does not go out with Saul and Samuel to battle, so it shall be done to his oxen.”
And the fear of the Lord fell on the people, and they came out with one consent. 8 When he numbered them in Bezek, the children of Israel were three hundred thousand, and the men of Judah thirty thousand. 9 And they said to the messengers who came, “Thus you shall say to the men of Jabesh Gilead: ‘Tomorrow, by the time the sun is hot, you shall have help.’ ” Then the messengers came and reported it to the men of Jabesh, and they were glad. 10 Therefore the men of Jabesh said, “Tomorrow we will come out to you, and you may do with us whatever seems good to you.”
11 So it was, on the next day, that Saul put the people in three companies; and they came into the midst of the camp in the morning watch, and killed Ammonites until the heat of the day. And it happened that those who survived were scattered, so that no two of them were left together.
12 Then the people said to Samuel, “Who is he who said, ‘Shall Saul reign over us?’ Bring the men, that we may put them to death.”
13 But Saul said, “Not a man shall be put to death this day, for today the Lord has accomplished salvation in Israel.”
14 Then Samuel said to the people, “Come, let us go to Gilgal and renew the kingdom there.” 15 So all the people went to Gilgal, and there they made Saul king before the Lord in Gilgal. There they made sacrifices of peace offerings before the Lord, and there Saul and all the men of Israel rejoiced greatly.
1 Samuel 12
Samuel’s Address at Saul’s Coronation
1 Now Samuel said to all Israel: “Indeed I have heeded your voice in all that you said to me, and have made a king over you. 2 And now here is the king, walking before you; and I am old and grayheaded, and look, my sons are with you. I have walked before you from my childhood to this day. 3 Here I am. Witness against me before the Lord and before His anointed: Whose ox have I taken, or whose donkey have I taken, or whom have I cheated? Whom have I oppressed, or from whose hand have I received any bribe with which to blind my eyes? I will restore it to you.”
4 And they said, “You have not cheated us or oppressed us, nor have you taken anything from any man’s hand.”
5 Then he said to them, “The Lord is witness against you, and His anointed is witness this day, that you have not found anything in my hand.”
And they answered, “He is witness.”
6 Then Samuel said to the people, “It is the Lord who raised up Moses and Aaron, and who brought your fathers up from the land of Egypt. 7 Now therefore, stand still, that I may reason with you before the Lord concerning all the righteous acts of the Lord which He did to you and your fathers: 8 When Jacob had gone into Egypt, and your fathers cried out to the Lord, then the Lord sent Moses and Aaron, who brought your fathers out of Egypt and made them dwell in this place. 9 And when they forgot the Lord their God, He sold them into the hand of Sisera, commander of the army of Hazor, into the hand of the Philistines, and into the hand of the king of Moab; and they fought against them. 10 Then they cried out to the Lord, and said, ‘We have sinned, because we have forsaken the Lord and served the Baals and Ashtoreths; but now deliver us from the hand of our enemies, and we will serve You.’ 11 And the Lord sent Jerubbaal, Bedan, Jephthah, and Samuel, and delivered you out of the hand of your enemies on every side; and you dwelt in safety. 12 And when you saw that Nahash king of the Ammonites came against you, you said to me, ‘No, but a king shall reign over us,’ when the Lord your God was your king.
13 “Now therefore, here is the king whom you have chosen and whom you have desired. And take note, the Lord has set a king over you. 14 If you fear the Lord and serve Him and obey His voice, and do not rebel against the commandment of the Lord, then both you and the king who reigns over you will continue following the Lord your God. 15 However, if you do not obey the voice of the Lord, but rebel against the commandment of the Lord, then the hand of the Lord will be against you, as it was against your fathers.
16 “Now therefore, stand and see this great thing which the Lord will do before your eyes: 17 Is today not the wheat harvest? I will call to the Lord, and He will send thunder and rain, that you may perceive and see that your wickedness is great, which you have done in the sight of the Lord, in asking a king for yourselves.”
18 So Samuel called to the Lord, and the Lord sent thunder and rain that day; and all the people greatly feared the Lord and Samuel.
19 And all the people said to Samuel, “Pray for your servants to the Lord your God, that we may not die; for we have added to all our sins the evil of asking a king for ourselves.”
20 Then Samuel said to the people, “Do not fear. You have done all this wickedness; yet do not turn aside from following the Lord, but serve the Lord with all your heart. 21 And do not turn aside; for then you would go after empty things which cannot profit or deliver, for they are nothing. 22 For the Lord will not forsake His people, for His great name’s sake, because it has pleased the Lord to make you His people. 23 Moreover, as for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord in ceasing to pray for you; but I will teach you the good and the right way. 24 Only fear the Lord, and serve Him in truth with all your heart; for consider what great things He has done for you. 25 But if you still do wickedly, you shall be swept away, both you and your king.”
Prayer for Israel’s Restoration
To the Chief Musician. Set to “The Lilies.” A Testimony of Asaph. A Psalm.
1 Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel,
You who lead Joseph like a flock;
You who dwell between the cherubim, shine forth!
2 Before Ephraim, Benjamin, and Manasseh,
Stir up Your strength,
And come and save us!
3 Restore us, O God;
Cause Your face to shine,
And we shall be saved!
4 O Lord God of hosts,
How long will You be angry
Against the prayer of Your people?
5 You have fed them with the bread of tears,
And given them tears to drink in great measure.
6 You have made us a strife to our neighbors,
And our enemies laugh among themselves.
7 Restore us, O God of hosts;
Cause Your face to shine,
And we shall be saved!
8 You have brought a vine out of Egypt;
You have cast out the nations, and planted it.
9 You prepared room for it,
And caused it to take deep root,
And it filled the land.
10 The hills were covered with its shadow,
And the mighty cedars with its boughs.
11 She sent out her boughs to the Sea,
And her branches to the River.
12 Why have You broken down her hedges,
So that all who pass by the way pluck her fruit?
13 The boar out of the woods uproots it,
And the wild beast of the field devours it.
14 Return, we beseech You, O God of hosts;
Look down from heaven and see,
And visit this vine
15 And the vineyard which Your right hand has planted,
And the branch that You made strong for Yourself.
16 It is burned with fire, it is cut down;
They perish at the rebuke of Your countenance.
17 Let Your hand be upon the man of Your right hand,
Upon the son of man whom You made strong for Yourself.
18 Then we will not turn back from You;
Revive us, and we will call upon Your name.
19 Restore us, O Lord God of hosts;
Cause Your face to shine,
And we shall be saved!