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Sunday, October 7, 2018

Saul – Part 2

          Last week we learned that God’s people disregarded Samuel’s warning about Saul. God was preparing Samuel to meet with Saul. Even though God’s people had hurt Samuel, Samuel will continue to serve the will of God. Samuel will be loyal to God and God’s people. Doing this was the foundation of Samuel’s life. He was not self-seeking. Samuel was God-seeking. Samuel’s character is what made him valuable to God and His people. God wants leaders who disregard their own agenda and be a benefit to all the people of a nation through their Godly character and life. Samuel will instruct Saul on the divine character needed to rule over God’s people. A leader must have God’s sacred purpose in mind and in their actions. Unfortunately, God’s people will soon see that Saul is self-willed and superficial. His character will bring God’s people into bondage and near ruin.
            Samuel explained to the people the regulations of the kingship. He wrote them down on a scroll and deposited it before the Lord. 1 Samuel 10:25 Samuel wanted God’s people to know that their king must be different from the kings of other nations. He was not to be a monarch but a king subject to God as the ultimate Ruler of the people. (see Deuteronomy 17:14-20) This scripture says in verse 18, “When your king takes the throne of his kingdom, he is to write for himself on a scroll a copy of this law….It is to be with him, and he is to read it all the days of his life so that he may learn to revere the Lord his God and follow carefully all the words of this law and these decrees and not consider himself better than his brothers and turn from the law to the right or to the left. Then he and his descendants will reign a long time over his kingdom in Israel.” In obedience to the Law, Samuel explained and wrote down the regulations of the kingship for the people.

Saul’s Anointing

          Samuel and Saul were alone when Saul was anointed. His anointing was done in secret because it was not yet time to reveal Saul as king.  To be anointed by God’s anointed Judge, Prophet and Priest – Samuel – is to be anointed and approved by God himself. Samuel knew Saul was coming to him because God told Samuel this the day before. God also told Samuel to anoint Saul as king over Israel. As I said in my previous teaching, this was God’s permissive will. Although Saul was not God’s choice, Saul’s position has a solemn responsibility. God will anoint him giving Saul the power to lead His people the way God wants. Saul is not to gratify the desire of his own heart, but that of God’s heart. Unfortunately, Saul will soon turn from God and let fear take over causing him to disobey Samuel’s instruction and ultimately God’s.
            Samuel took a “flask of oil and poured it on Saul’s head.” 1 Samuel 10:2 Saul’s anointing was to dedicate him to God and impart the enabling power and grace for his God-appointed task. Saul’s anointing changed him into a new person with a changed heart by the power of the Holy Spirit (see 1 Samuel 10:6), as followers of God’s Anointed Prophet, Priest and King Jesus are endued with the power of the Holy Spirit and grace to help us carry out our God-appointed purpose. We too are “new creations” with a changed heart. The “natural” is a picture of the “spiritual.” The oil was symbolic of the anointing of the Holy Spirit.
            To assure Saul that his anointing was from God, Samuel gave him instruction. When you leave me today, you will meet two men near Rachel’s tomb, at Zelzah. They will say to you, ‘The donkeys you set out to look for have been found.” 1 Samuel 10:2 Two men must meet Saul. If only 1, then God didn’t speak it to Samuel. Prophecy must be accurate.  All that Samuel prophesied to Saul was proven accurate. The Bible says that not a word that Samuel spoke fell to the ground. This is how one finds out if a person is a true prophet of God.
 Samuel also told Saul to continue from there to the tree of Tabor where three men will meet him and then to go to Gibeah where “a procession of prophets coming down from the high place with lyres, tambourines, flutes and harps playing, and they will be prophesying. There, the Spirit of God will come upon Saul in power and you will prophesy with them; and you will be changed into a different person.” Even though Saul was king, he must wait upon God’s prophet for instruction. True prophets spoke God’s Word to the king. Throughout the Older Testament, true prophets of God and kings worked together to fulfill God’s purposes for His people.
All that Samuel said occurred exactly as he said it would. Samuel has been God’s prophet from youth. Saul’s gift of prophecy was from God, but it would be for a short time. Saul’s changed heart was to be maintained by holy fellowship through loving, willing obedience to God. Unfortunately, soon Saul would disobey Samuel’s direction to go to Gilgal and wait seven days for Samuel to join him. On the 7th day Samuel would sacrifice a burnt offering for atonement and a fellowship (peace offering) according to the Law. Then Samuel would give Saul further instruction from God.
Unfortunately, God’s people became fearful because the Philistines were assembling to fight Israel. God’s people began to scatter in fear. Because Samuel had not yet returned, Saul decided to take matters into his own hands and offer the burnt offering for atonement and the fellowship offering for peace. Saul was focused on the people instead of God and the words of God through Samuel. These offerings according to law are to be offered only by a priest not a king. Saul disobeyed God’s law. The Law does not bend. If you disobeyed one part of the law, you were guilty of disobeying all of it.  
           Praise God, those who love and follow Jesus are not under Law, but under grace and truth. What we couldn’t do in obeying the Law perfectly, Jesus did for us. Now we obey Jesus out of our love for Him, not through rigid demand.
Saul loved the praise of people. Instead of using the office God so graciously gave him to honor and glorify God, Saul used it to heap praise upon himself and often acted out of fear instead of faith in God.

                                               (to be continued)

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