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1 Samuel

God Save the King!
10:1 - 12:25

Psalm 62:1,2
Truly my soul waiteth upon God: from him cometh my salvation. 2 He only is my rock and my salvation; he is my defence; I shall not be greatly moved.

God summons the believer to serve Him and provides

all that is necessary for effective service.

Related Readings

Psalm 21

Psalm 72:1-8

Psalm 145:8-21

Titus 3:1-7

1 Peter 2;11-20

Have you ever been involved in an activity and just felt the power of God pouring over you? Maybe it was teaching a class, or going on visitation, or participating in a church drama. Maybe it was just witnessing to a friend or acquaintance. Whatever our age or social status or occupation or upbringing or education, God can, and does, use each of His followers to accomplish His divine work. Each person undertaking a task from God may do so only with the anointing power of God. Remember Christ’s instructions to the disciples just before the Ascension?



But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.

Acts 1:8

Jesus also teaches that it is only through Him that we may be effective in producing fruit for the kingdom of God.


I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.

John 15:5

And, not only will God equip us to perform the task at hand, when He has a special task for us to accomplish, He will always confirm His calling us into His service for this task. Such is the continuing story of Saul in today’s lesson. As Saul is about to leave Samuel’s company, Samuel draws Saul aside and anoints him as the first king of Israel. Taking a vial of oil, Samuel powers the oil over Saul, symbolizing God’s bestowal of divine power.

book256.gif The vial was a narrow-necked vessel from which the oil flowed in drops. It was not the common oil of today but was probably the same type of oil used in the consecration of the priests. According to Jewish tradition, anointing was necessary only when a new dynasty ascended the throne or when there was a dispute over who should succeed to the throne.

God’s Confirmation [10:1 - 10:7]

God further confirmed His call of Saul with three signs. First, he would meet two men who would tell the young king that his father’s donkeys had been found but that his father was worried about Saul (10:2). This sign authenticated the words of Samuel (9:20). Next, Saul would meet three men on their way to Bethel. They would have with them three kids, three loaves of bread, and a wineskin. They would greet Saul and present him with two of the loaves of bread (10:3,4). This sign mostly likely was for the purpose of confirming Samuel’s act of anointing Saul. Lastly, Saul would encounter a group of prophets returning from worship. Saul would be visited by the Holy Spirit and would prophesy with the prophets (10:6). This sign confirms Samuel’s assertion that the anointing was from the Lord. The signs, offered as proof of God’s call, all come true.



Should we Christians be looking for signs to confirm the Lord’s presence with us?

How does the Lord demonstrate His presence in our lives?

How does the Lord confirm His call of us into His service if He does not use signs?

God’s Power [10:8 - 16]

Samuel gave Saul one further set of directions. Saul was to go to Gilgal and wait seven days for Samuel’s arrival (10:8). God understood the need to teach Saul patience. If you had just been anointed king and then under the power of the Holy Spirit ran around prophesying, wouldn’t you just be rearing at the bit to go forth and spread this great, good news!

Divine Will determines the believer’s ministry. God bestows spiritual gifts to each of His children as He sees fit. The gifts differ, but it is one God who imparts them to us, with the expectation that we, as children of God, will put these gifts to great use for His kingdom. It is our responsibility to use these gifts for the benefit of others (1 Corinthians 4:2; 12:4-27). This entire experience is called a charismatic endowment from the Greek word for spiritual gifts. This is what Saul experienced. This is the power of God, even though Saul, like many of us at times, is not received with open arms by all of the people (10:11, 27).


Saul received the Spirit of God (10:10) and was given “another heart” (10:9). This may indicated either that Saul received a spiritual rebirth or merely that he was endowed with divine power for the future duties as Israel’s king. In the Old Testament era the Holy Spirit came upon or indwelt individuals for a time in order to accomplish special tasks. Examples of this are the craftsmen in the wilderness who constructed the Tabernacle and all of its furnishings and the various Judges. This was not regeneration (as we would call it in the New Testament). Rather it was an empowering for service without regard to the person’s character or spiritual condition. There is no precise biblical answer in Saul’s case as to whether he was simply empowered or was spiritually reborn. If the latter, his life becomes a powerful example of the detriments and characteristics of a backslider.



Just as Saul encountered those who did not accept his appointment (10:27), we, too, will met “sons of Belial” (remember? “Sons of worthlessness”) who will question our motives and actions in spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ. God’s message is not always popular because it is a message contrary to the world system. We are called upon to endure in the face of such adversity. For one of the few times in his life as king, Saul’s response to this situation was spiritually correct – he “held his peace” (10:27). Do you?



11 Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. 12 Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.

Matthew 5:11,12

The King Is Crowned [10:17 - 27]

The balance of Chapter 10 presents Saul’s public coronation as king. Notice that Saul, upon returning home, had not told anyone of his anointing. Was he too shy? Humble? Spiritually ill-equipped to understand the significance of what had occurred?
ole27.gif If God calls upon you for service, are you spiritually equipped to recognize the call?
book261.gif Samuel uses this opportunity to review the history of the Nation with Israel. This is the second time Samuel warns the Israelites about the problems of a king. The context, as is frequently the case, is a review of all that the Lord God has done for the people, starting with their redemption from the Egyptians. Then the lot is cast for the selection of the king. When the lot falls to Saul, he is absent. Only the Word of God coming to Samuel brings forth the new king to stand before his loyal subjects (10:22, 23). Samuel again instructs the people on how the monarchy was supposed to function and he wrote it in a book.

While we do not know who wrote the book of Samuel, the Scriptures are alive with references and directions to God’s heroes about writing His Word in a book. Those who would argue that much of what occurs in Jewish history has been created after the fact have to deal with these specific references to contemporaneous records of God’s people.



While the text is actually silent about how Saul was chosen, it was most likely by the drawing of lots. Each tribe or family had a small stone on which its name or symbol was inscribed. The pebbles were placed in a container and stones drawn or the container shaken until one falls out. The process could be repeated down to the level of the individual. While seemingly haphazard in its approach, this drawing of the lot is a wonderful example of God’s providence at work. Its use is sanctioned by the Word of God.



The lot is cast into the lap; but the whole disposing thereof is of the LORD.

Proverbs 16:33

Saul versus the Ammonites [11:1 - 15]

The final two chapters of today’s lesson show the confirmation of Saul as king. In the first instance, Saul is called upon to rescue the inhabitants of Jabesh-Gilead from the Ammonites. That Saul is not yet serving as king of the Nation may be implied from his location at the commencement of the story – he is in the field with the herds. The Spirit of God comes upon him and he sends a message to all of the Nation to rally around he and Samuel. A huge army is gathered and the town of Jabesh-Gilead is rescued.

book264.gif Significantly, it is the “Spirit of God” which comes upon Saul (11:6). This is the Spirit of Elohim. Five Israelites are described as having the Spirit come upon them between Genesis and 2 Kings. But in all of the other cases, it is the Spirit of the Lord, the Spirit of Jehovah/Yahweh which comes to them. The only other person in Scripture described as receiving the Spirit of Elohim is Balaam, a non-Israelite who ultimately harms the Nation (Num 24:2; 31:16). Jehovah/Yahweh is the God of the covenant. Although, perhaps, being too subtle a distinction, the language of the text divorces Saul’s power from the covenant God. It is surely the same power, but the distinction foreshadows Saul’s failures and loss of the kingship, his inability to maintain the conditional covenant, that is, his failure to be obedient.

The last verse of chapter 11 presents some difficulties to scholar’s as it appears to repeat the operation of chapter 10 with the crowning of Saul as king. It is better to see this verse as the victory party after the battle in which the Nation now truly gathers around Saul and finally sees him as king of all twelve tribes.


Israel’s progression in this chapter is strangely remindful of the cycle of Judges discussed in the Introduction. The consequences of sin in the form of trouble at the hands of the enemy (11:1-3) lead to gloom and despair on the part of the people (11:4,5). They call upon God through His anointed and are stirred to action by the Spirit of God (11:6). Reverential fear of the Lord (11:7) leads to unity of the Nation (11:7, 8). Encouragement, organization and planning under the guidance of God lead to victory in the Lord (11:11-13). This victory produces joyful worship unto the Lord (11:14, 15).



How often is this the pattern of our own lives?

Why does it take an attack by the enemy to cause us to turn to God? Shouldn’t we be in God’s arms already?

Samuel’s Farewell Address [12:1 - 25]

The victory gathering gives Samuel his last opportunity to address the Nation. Samuel begins with a well-desired oath of innocence attesting to his spiritual and moral leadership of the Nation. This testimony sets forth Samuel’s integrity as a leader (12:2,3). Samuel has been faithful to the Lord, even to the point of carrying our His direction to give the people their wish – a king. Samuel’s farewell address sounds a lot like Moses’. The old prophet speaks of God’s faithfulness and the need for the people to be obedient to the Lord. The familiar cycle of the history of God’s people is once more repeated in these verses . Israel abandons the Lord who allows enemies to plunder her. The Nation confesses her sins to God and God empowers a leader to deliver the people. But, it is all conditional –


14 If ye will fear the LORD, and serve him, and obey his voice, and not rebel against the commandment of the LORD, then shall both ye and also the king that reigneth over you continue following the LORD your God: 15 But if ye will not obey the voice of the LORD, but rebel against the commandment of the LORD, then shall the hand of the LORD be against you, as it was against your fathers.

1 Samuel 12:14,15

Samuel closes with a confirming sign from the Lord – rain during the harvest season, a time when traditionally there is no rain (12:16-19). Samuel has truly spoken about the relationship of God to the people. The transition is complete.

Israel has a king. The time of the judges has ended.

The same command remains for us today. Obey and do not rebel against the Lord and He will bless us. Obey not the voice of God and rebel against Him and He promises chastisement. The people of Israel responded quickly and empathically to Samuel admitting their sin in asking for a king (12:19). God is merciful in that just as Samuel reminded the Israelites, so, too, are we continually reminded today, that when we do sin, God is faithful and just to forgive us and to cleanse us if only we will turn to Him and seek such forgiveness.

book266.gif In 12:21 Samuel warns the people not to go after “vain things.” The newer translations use the word “idol” in place of “vain things.” In the Hebrew, this is not the normal word for an idol. Rather it is the same word used in Genesis 1:2 which describes the vacant condition of creation. Vain things are void! What is the condition of your heart? Is it vacant and void?

It is all a condition of the heart.


We the church have become almost accustomed to thinking of sin in secular, worldly terms. As a result, we look for the solutions to sin through human means. How do you deal with finances? How do many churches raise money? Are not the huge corporations the models for organization and their presidents the pattern for leadership training? We have taken a Madison Avenue approach to spreading the Gospel as though it were a new product. Secular terminology has invaded our personal and interpersonal problem solving methods. Defining sin in secular terms and using secular solutions means we have abandoned God’s ways and methods. This means we are in trouble. Rather than examining our hearts, we mimic the world and deal with the symptoms.



What is the condition of your heart?

Is it vacant and void?


book269.gif It is all a condition of the heart.
ole30.gif Do you have sin residing in your heart that needs cleansing?

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

1 John 1:9




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