I Samuel 11
Thursday, 20th July 2023
Rev Daniel Xi An Poon
Saul was anointed the king of Israel. In chapter 10, Samuel reminded the Israelites that Saul was strong and handsome, he knew the expectations of the Israelites for their king. Samuel was challenging the Israelites their hearts, what is the image of a king in their mind? We are very short sighted, we care about our outward appearances. Our expectations make us limit God and limit the Kingdom of God. But what God can do for us is more than what we can imagine!
After the Israelites came together to make Saul the king, they left and went back to their own hometowns. There were only a small group of people continued to follow Saul, not all of the Israelites. They finally had their king, but they still lived on their own and they still relied on their own strength. When we use the worldly perspective to see our king, then our king will have to impact in our lives. We try so hard to change ourselves, to make our lifestyle better, but at the end, we still use our own strength, we achieve nothing, and we are defeated by the world.
Again in chapter 11, Samuel anointed Saul the king over Israel. He no longer let the Israelites focus on the outlook of Saul, but through fighting the battle to reveal Saul’s authority. Facing the enemy, the Israelites did not seek God and did not seek help from the king God has appointed to them. We are also like this, we rely on our own strength, and we don’t seek help from God. Adam and Eve were hiding away from God, but if they returned, they might have changed the history. God wants us to build a relationship with Him, but so often we chose to hide in the cave.
V5 ‘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.’ Saul was anointed the king of Israel, but he was working in the field. The people of Israel did not really treat him as their king, but he saw them as his people, and he asked what was troubling them. Saul was then touched by the Spirit of God. Are we also willing to follow the flow of the Holy Spirit despite of our own understanding and desires?
When we chose not to listen to our authority, we also chose not to listen to our God. We are unwilling to be humble and we are unwilling to listen. God does not want us to only hear a little, but He wants us to build a relationship with Him. V6-7 ‘Then the Spirit of God came upon Saul when he heard this news, and his anger was greatly aroused. 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.’ When Adam and Eve left the Garden of Eden, God killed a lamb to make cloths for them. The lamb was God’s creation, He saw the lamb was good. But He chose to kill it for Adam and Eve. For Saul, the oxen are important for his living, but he chose to kill them and let the Israelites know his determination.
When God’s Spirit touched Saul, he was a different person. God’s Spirit will also touch us, but what is our response? What is our purpose of life? Do we see our inheritance being taken captives by Satan? Do we grow anger for God’s Kingdom? Saul knew to follow God’s Spirit, and he caught up God’s timing. When people saw Saul’s change, they came out to support him. V11 ‘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.’ The morning watch is from 3-6am, are we also willing to wake up early to fight in prayer? Or do we stay asleep?
The people changed their perspective for Saul, and they repented before God. They wanted to prove their determination before Saul and they wanted to kill the enemy. V13 ‘But Saul said, “Not a man shall be put to death this day, for today the Lord has accomplished salvation in Israel.”’ Saul knew God’s heart, and he made the decision pleasing to God, then God spoke to them.
V14-15 ‘Then Samuel said to the people, “Come, let us go to Gilgal and renew the kingdom there.” 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.’ God’s authority is not to oppress us but to set us free, to protect us, and to guide us. God’s Will for us is good for us and to bless us. Do we truely believe this?