KEY VERSE FOR MEMORIZATION
“And when Samuel saw Saul, the Lord said unto him, Behold the man whom I spake to thee of! this same shall reign over my people.” (1 Samuel 9:17)
This portion of Scripture marks another great turning point in the history of the Children of Israel. After they possessed the Promised Land by the power of God under the leadership of Joshua, they lived for approximately 400 years governed by judges. God was their King and Supreme Commander. However, growing apostasy and involvement with other nations caused them to forget God’s covenant and desire an earthly king to “be like all the nations” and to fight their battles. The tribes of Israel had apparently forgotten that God called them to be a separate and unique people that would follow Him. In return, they would never be forsaken by the Lord.
Samuel explained to the people the negative consequences of having a king. However, they still cried out, “We will have a king over us.” Samuel rehearsed these words to the Lord, who then authorized Samuel to anoint them a king. The Lord led Samuel to Saul, a Benjamite.
Saul was not crowned in a coronation that would be typical of a political act to establish him as a ruler. Samuel anointed him with oil, which was a religious act that made the king a representative of God to the people. The anointing oil was made specifically of myrrh, olive oil, and other costly spices.
The Philistines were Israel’s chief enemy during Saul’s reign. Israel’s army was at a distinct disadvantage because they had no weapons and no ability to make any. The Philistines carefully guarded their technology in making iron and blacksmithing.
Even though Israel was not in a position to defeat anyone, through God’s help, they were able to rout the Philistines and achieve a victory without swords.
This portion of text gives the account of the end of Samuel’s ministry and the turbulent transition to a completely unfamiliar form of government for the tribes of Israel.
Saul got ahead of God several times by trying to do things in his own way instead of following God’s commands. Let us pray that we have the patience to rely on God for every part of our lives, and let Him lead. His timing is always perfect!