Inquire of the Lord

1 Samuel 10:17-27

17Samuel summoned the people of Israel to the Lord at Mizpah 18and said to them, “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘I brought Israel up out of Egypt, and I delivered you from the power of Egypt and all the kingdoms that oppressed you.’ 19But you have now rejected your God, who saves you out of all your disasters and calamities. And you have said, ‘No, appoint a king over us.’ So now present yourselves before the Lord by your tribes and clans.”

20When Samuel had all Israel come forward by tribes, the tribe of Benjamin was taken by lot. 21Then he brought forward the tribe of Benjamin, clan by clan, and Matri’s clan was taken. Finally Saul son of Kish was taken. But when they looked for him, he was not to be found. 22So they inquired further of the Lord, “Has the man come here yet?” And the Lord said, “Yes, he has hidden himself among the supplies.”

23They ran and brought him out, and as he stood among the people he was a head taller than any of the others. 24Samuel said to all the people, “Do you see the man the Lord has chosen? There is no one like him among all the people.” Then the people shouted, “Long live the king!”

25Samuel explained to the people the rights and duties of kingship. He wrote them down on a scroll and deposited it before the Lord. Then Samuel dismissed the people to go to their own homes.

26Saul also went to his home in Gibeah, accompanied by valiant men whose hearts God had touched. 27But some scoundrels said, “How can this fellow save us?” They despised him and brought him no gifts. But Saul kept silent.

Introduction

All our life, we are challenged with uncertainties. We are reminded of such reality. We’re not certain how long we live on earth. We’re not sure which career will succeed. We may dream of our own family, children or grandchildren but not sure if we can have it. We’re not sure how tall or how heavy we can be as adults.

We may decide on the limit of our weight but who will decide on the limit of height we may reach? Married people may plan for their family but who decides if a mother gets pregnant or not? Anyone may decide which career path to take but who decides on the success of their career? One may assume when enough is enough, but who decides how long a person should live on earth?

As much as we wish to control our life, in reality, we just cannot control our life completely. Who controls the things we can’t control? Such reality points to existence of all-powerful and all-knowing God. By faith, we believe God exists.

When the Israelites insisted to have their king, they didn’t nominate anyone they wished to be their king. The Lord instructed Samuel to anoint Saul as king of Israel but Samuel didn’t force or insist to the Israelites to accept Saul as king. They gathered to inquire of the Lord on who should be their king.

17Samuel summoned the people of Israel to the Lord at Mizpah 18and said to them, “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘I brought Israel up out of Egypt, and I delivered you from the power of Egypt and all the kingdoms that oppressed you.’ 19But you have now rejected your God, who saves you out of all your disasters and calamities. And you have said, ‘No, appoint a king over us.’ So now present yourselves before the Lord by your tribes and clans.”

The Lord instructed Samuel to inform the Israelites that their insistence to have a king was rejection of God as their Lord. The Israelites did not ask the Lord if He want them to have a king or not. They demanded Samuel to give them king. They were envious of other nations who have their kings. Did God want them to have a king? Maybe, but the Israelites can’t wait for God to give them a king.

Anyway, they assembled and presented themselves by tribes, by clans, and by families, and when Saul was taken by lot, they cannot find him.

1. Taken

20When Samuel had all Israel come forward by tribes, the tribe of Benjamin was taken by lot. 21Then he brought forward the tribe of Benjamin, clan by clan, and Matri’s clan was taken. Finally Saul son of Kish was taken. But when they looked for him, he was not to be found. 22So they inquired further of the Lord, “Has the man come here yet?” And the Lord said, “Yes, he has hidden himself among the supplies.”

Samuel anointed Saul as king, but what caused Saul to hide himself?

Was he scared by the huge crowd? Samuel anointed Saul as king of Israel because the Lord told him. He didn’t personally choose or recommend Saul. And, the Israelites had witnessed that Saul was chosen by lot, fair and square.

Likewise, when we elect leaders or when we decide for significant things that may change or affect our life, we need to prayerfully inquire of the Lord. Have you ever made a decision because you’re pressured by influential person? When we make decisions as believers, it should prove our faith in the Lord.

The Lord did not appreciate it when the Israelites insisted to have a king. He saw it as rejection of Him as Lord. To have Christ as Lord, we don’t dictate what we want. We wait for Him. But why, did the Lord grant their desire to have a king, and even told them where Saul was hiding when they cannot find him?

23They ran and brought him out, and as he stood among the people he was a head taller than any of the others. 24Samuel said to all the people, “Do you see the man the Lord has chosen? There is no one like him among all the people.” Then the people shouted, “Long live the king!” 25Samuel explained to the people the rights and duties of kingship. He wrote them down on a scroll and deposited it before the Lord. Then Samuel dismissed the people to go to their own homes.

The people shouted their appreciation of the king the Lord has chosen for them. The Israelites insisted to have a king, the Lord considered it as rejection of Him, but the Lord instructed Samuel to anoint Saul as king. Such development, was it included in the plan of God for the Israelites to have king eventually?

Possibly! But why did the Lord not appreciate when they insisted to have a king? Can’t wait for God to give them a king, it displayed no faith in God’s timing.

Saul had exceptional physical attributes, and most of the Israelites admired him. Saul had no comparison in stature among the Israelites. The height of Saul was God-given gift, right? He was taller than anyone in Israel.

Wanna be Tall?

Like the Israelites, we are also prone to envy other people. We want to be like someone we admire. If I want to be tall, should I be pray for God to help me grow as tall as the basketball player I admire? Does God grant it if it’s His will?

The exact height an adult person can reach practically proves that there’re significant aspects of life that we just can’t control at all completely! Instead of worry, we trust the Lord of take care of them. It says in Matthew 6:33, 33Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

Previously, Samuel appointed his sons as leaders of Israel but they were dishonest. Surely, the Israelites can’t trust them, and they’re worried about their future and safety. Their insistence to have a king ignored God’s timing, though.

Saul had a very impressive appearance but a few rejected him, why? Was it because he’s taller? Some men touched by the Lord gathered around Saul.

2… Touched

26Saul also went to his home in Gibeah, accompanied by valiant men whose hearts God had touched. 27But some scoundrels said, “How can this fellow save us?” They despised him and brought him no gifts. But Saul kept silent.

Saul was anointed by the Lord to be the first king of Israel but not everyone was happy. Most likely, the scoundrels who opposed Saul as king may have known him personally, so, they despised him. Or, they just opposed anything they didn’t like without any significant reason to oppose. Do scoundrels contribute beneficial things so that they are mentioned or taken seriously?

It says in Isaiah 32:7, Scoundrels use wicked methods, they make up evil schemes to destroy the poor with lies, even when the plea of the needy is just.

Why would God allow scoundrels to live among His people? Does God use them for His glory? One person’s life influenced by scoundrels was Jephthah.

Jephthah

It says in Judges 11:1-6, 1Jephthah the Gileadite was a mighty warrior. His father was Gilead; his mother was a prostitute. 2Gilead’s wife also bore him sons, and when they were grown up, they drove Jephthah away. “You are not going to get any inheritance in our family,” they said, “because you are the son of another woman.” 3So Jephthah fled from his brothers and settled in the land of Tob, where a gang of scoundrels gathered around him and followed him.

4Some time later, when the Ammonites were fighting against Israel, 5the elders of Gilead went to get Jephthah from the land of Tob. 6“Come,” they said, “be our commander, so we can fight the Ammonites.”

With Jephthah’s leadership, the Ammonites were defeated. Jephthah was ostracized by his half-brothers, but found friendship with scoundrels. Scoundrels were outcasts but God used them for the good of His people Israel. The Lord can utilize anybody (good or bad) to accomplish His purposes.

Is it possible that the scoundrels who opposed Saul were Samuel’s sons and their followers? Could that be the reason Saul hid himself because he expected fierce opposition to his kingship from influential individuals?

Nevertheless, it’s God’s will for Saul to be first king of Israel, and the Lord touched the heart of valiant men to accompany and assured him that they have their support, and Saul was encouraged to take the kingship.

When the Lord chooses someone for a particular ministry, there will be oppositions but God surely provide necessary support to accomplish His will.

Inquire of the Lord whenever you make decisions. Better yet, ask the Lord to reveal His plan for you and follow them. Success relies upon the will of God.

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