SAUL, ISRAEL’S FIRST KING

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    [1 Samuel:9:1-27]; [1 Samuel:10:1-27].

    Lesson No.: 
    205
    Class: 
    Junior
    Memory Verse: 

    “When thou wast little in thine own sight, wast thou not made the head of the tribes of Israel?” (I Samuel 15:17).

    Notes: 

    God’s Choice
    The Children of Israel had insisted that they wanted a king to rule over them, so they would be like the other nations. The young man chosen by God to be king was a Benjamite, the son of Kish who was a mighty man of power. Saul was a choice young man. He showed respect to his father. He was ambitious and humble. Had Saul been chosen by the people, undoubtedly they would have picked him because of his appearance, for Saul was tall and strong. No doubt, God chose Saul because in the heart of that young man, He could see the qualities that He could use for a king at that time. In God’s own way Saul was brought before Samuel, the man of God, who was to deliver the message of God’s choice for king.

    Obedient
    Saul was sent for his father’s lost animals. He obeyed his father, for he was not too proud to work. Some young men would answer their father’s request with such remarks: “I have other plans”; “Let someone else find them”; or “Why should I work when we have servants?” When Saul obeyed his father, he had no idea what God had in store for him. He obeyed because there was love and respect in his heart for his father. He probably would not have been chosen by God if he had refused to obey his father.

    An Errand
    Saul and a servant looked in many places but did not find the lost animals. Finally Saul decided to return home lest his father would begin to worry about them, since they had been gone so long. The servant said that there was a man of God in a nearby city. He suggested that maybe the Prophet could tell them the way that they should go. Saul thought that was a good idea, so they started out to find the Prophet -– or seer, as he had been called in the past. When the two men arrived near the city, they inquired about the Prophet. They were told that they were just in time, that he was about to offer the “sacrifice of the people.”

    Sent by God
    God had arranged the meeting of Saul and Samuel the Prophet. Although it appeared to be by chance, their meeting, was planned by God. The day before, God had told Samuel that He was sending the young man who was to be anointed captain over Israel. It seems that Saul had had no position of honour or trust prior to this time. God was promoting him to be king.

    Saul had been directed to Samuel; but when he met the prophet, he did not know him. But Samuel knew Saul, because God said, “Behold the man whom I spake to thee of! This same shall reign over my people.”

    When Saul asked directions to the Prophet’s house, Samuel said, “I am the seer.” Samuel told Saul about the animals before he had a chance to inquire about them. God had given Samuel the answer. Samuel told Saul to forget about the animals for a while, that they were already found. Samuel invited Saul to go to the place of sacrifice, to eat, and to stay with him until the next day.

    Humility
    Furthermore, Samuel said that “all the desire of Israel” was upon Saul and his father’s house. The desires of Israel was for a king to rule over them. So Saul was told that he had been chosen to be the Israelites’ king. Saul gave a very modest answer. He said that he was of the smallest tribe and of the least family. Saul had been sent on an errand, seeking his father’s lost animals; but he humbly accepted the bid to a higher place.

    Honour
    Samuel treated Saul with all the honour due the future king. Saul was given the “chiefest place among them that were bidden” -- about thirty guests. He was served with the choice meat -– the shoulder. Thus, by the best place and choice food, Saul was treated as the distinguished and honoured guest.

    Before going to bed that night, Samuel had a talk with Saul. Perhaps he told Saul about his responsibilities as ruler of Israel. Samuel, no doubt, encouraged Saul in the work that he was to do. The next morning they arose early. When Saul and the servant left, Samuel went with them to the end of the city. The servant was sent ahead. The Prophet said to Saul, “Stand thou still a while, that I may shew thee the word of God.”

    Little did Saul know what blessing God had for him that morning. Together with the Prophet, Saul paused before the Lord. As God had directed, Samuel poured oil over the head of Saul to anoint him. God had chosen Saul to be captain over His inheritance, the Children of Israel.

    Promises
    To show that God was with Saul, the Prophet gave him three signs, which would come to pass. These signs were also promises. First, two men would give news to Saul concerning his business: “The asses which thou wentest to seek are found.” Second, Saul’s physical need would be supplied by three men whom he would meet on the plain of Tabor: “And they will salute thee, and give thee two loaves of bread; which thou shalt receive of their hands.” Third, Saul would have spiritual fitness when he met a group of prophets at the hill of God: “The Spirit of the LORD will come upon thee, and thou shalt prophesy with them... for God is with thee.”

    Standing Still
    These promises must have been a great encouragement to Saul. Remember, God sent them to him when Saul was told to stand still to hear the words of God. What will God do for us when we pause before Him? It may seem difficult to “stand still” when about us is the noise and confusion of a busy world. Those who pray and meditate before God in the morning find that He will give encouragement for their work and help in the time of need. The child who prays and reads the Bible before going to school will find promises that God will be with him to give the victory in every trial. It is to our advantage to meditate and think of the things of God -– to “stand still” before God -– during the day as well as in the morning. Blessed is the man whose “delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night” (Psalm:1:1, 2).

    Another Heart
    God had called Saul to fill an important place. God had given Saul some wonderful promises. We do not read that Saul answered an audible word to God’s call, but in his heart he answered “Yes” to God. How do we know? The Spirit of the Lord came upon him and he was changed -– “turned into another man.” The Spirit of the Lord does not abide with any person unless He is invited and wanted. God does not save any person unless that person wants to be saved. When the Spirit of God comes into a life, sin goes out and that person is changed. God gave Saul “another heart” -– “ a new heart” like that which God promised to all Israel if hey turned to Him ([Ezekiel:36:26-27]), a “heart to know me, that I am the LORD,” which God would give when the people turned to Him with their whole heart ([Jeremiah:24:7]).

    The Same Change
    God makes the same change today; He changes the heart when a person is saved. There is no difference whether the person is a child or an adult. God takes out the love of evil and sin; He takes out the desire for pleasures of the world. Jealousy, hatred, temper, “sassiness” (infuriation), and every evil thing is gone. In the heart God puts His love, which causes one to do good and to want to know God better. When the heart is changed, the actions of the person are different. Others can tell that a change for the good has taken place.

    The signs concerning Saul came to pass, and the people saw the change in Saul. They said, “What is this that is come unto the son of Kish? Is Saul also among the prophets?”

    No Hiding Place
    Saul did not tell even his own family that he had been anointed to be king. In due time, Samuel gathered the Children of Israel to remind them that they had rejected God and asked for a king. The time had come for the people to know God’s choice. When it was revealed to the people that Saul was the man, he was nowhere to be seen. In his humility, he had hidden himself. Now Saul was a tall man, head and shoulders above any of the people, so it would not be easy for him to hide in the crowd. Saul did not hide long, for God knew where he was. God said of Saul, “Behold, he hath hid himself among the stuff.” Saul was brought; and before all the people Samuel presented him as their king. A great shout went up from all the people.

    Saul returned to his home, accompanied by a loyal band of men. As we study more about the first king of the Israelites, let us keep in mind that he was given this great privilege and honour when he was a very humble man.

    Questions: 

    1. To which tribe of the Israelites did Saul belong?
    2. On what humble errand was he sent?
    3. To whom did Saul go?
    4. What did Samuel do for Saul?
    5. What promises were made to Saul?
    6. How did Saul show his humility?
    7. What happens when the Spirit of God comes into one’s heart?
    8. Why did the people ask if Saul was among the prophets?