Posted by: Esther | October 20, 2013

Israel’s First King

During the time of Samuel, Israel was a back slidden nation, yet God was in her midst. God still loved and cared for his rebellious children. Even Samuel’s own children rebelled and did not walk in their father’s ways. The only man God spoke through in the entire nation was Samuel himself. But the people were so steeped in idolatry at this time, that they even demanded a king so that they could be like other nations. After God warns them of the bondage a man king will bring upon them, he grants them their wish and gives them what they desire.

This is the account of the calling of Saul, whose name means desire.  Is this man the desire of God or of man? Does Saul desire the love of God or of man? The answers to these questions begin to be answered in 1 Samuel Chapter 9.

1 Sam 9:2 And he had a choice and handsome son whose name was Saul. There was not a more handsome person than he among the children of Israel. From his shoulders upward he was taller than any of the people.

Saul was the most handsome and tallest man in the entire land of Israel! Interesting that this is the first characteristic that we are told about Saul.

Compare this to when Samuel anoints David king:

1 Samuel 16:7 But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him. For the LORD does not see as man sees for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”

So far it looks as though God is choosing a man that the people desire.

1 Sam 9:3 Now the donkeys of Kish, Saul’s father, were lost. And Kish said to his son Saul, “Please take one of the servants with you, and arise, go and look for the donkeys.”

Saul is told, by his father, to take a servant and look for his lost donkeys. The first thing that comes to my mind when I think of a donkey is stubbornness. Are God’s people, Israel, stubborn? The musician Asaph, among others, calls them stubborn.

Psalm 78:8 And may not be like their fathers, A stubborn and rebellious generation, A generation that did not set its heart aright, And whose spirit was not faithful to God.

In contrast, our king Jesus was sent to look for lost sheep. Sheep are followers. Granted, they will follow anything, but God’s sheep follow the voice of his Son, the Good Shepherd.

Matt 18:12-14 “What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them goes astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine and go to the mountains to seek the one that is straying? “And if he should find it, assuredly, I say to you, he rejoices more over that sheep than over the ninety-nine that did not go astray. “Even so it is not the will of your Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish.

John 10:3-4 “To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice; and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. “And when he brings out his own sheep, he goes before them; and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice.


1 Sam 9:5 When they had come to the land of Zuph, Saul said to his servant who was with him, “Come, let us return, lest my father cease caring about the donkeys and become worried about us.”

Notice that Saul has an unnamed servant. When one thinks of a servant, a helper comes to mind. There is a Helper with us today.

John 15:26 “But when the Helper comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me.

According to Strong’s a Helper or Comforter is summoned, called to one’s side, esp. called to one’s aid.

Our Helper, the Holy Spirit, points us to Jesus, the Son of God. Saul’s helper, his servant, points him to a man of God and when we look at the following verses with our telescope lens, we will see that all of the elements of Jesus surround this man of God as well.


1 Sam 9:6-7 And he said to him, “Look now, there is in this city a man of God, and he is an honorable man; all that he says surely comes to pass. So let us go there; perhaps he can show us the way that we should go.” Then Saul said to his servant, “But look, if we go, what shall we bring the man? For the bread in our vessels is all gone, and there is no present to bring to the man of God. What do we have?”

But Saul has nothing to offer this man of God. Isn’t this always the excuse? “God is not interested in me. I have nothing to offer him.” Well we truly do not have anything to offer him, but all He asks is that we believe.

Eph 1:13 In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.

Once we believe we are sealed with the Holy Spirit. He becomes our token, or get out of jail free card. In a similar way, Saul’s servant offers to give the man his silver. A gift from the servant, in order for Saul to find out the way.


1 Sam 9:8 And the servant answered Saul again and said, “Look, I have here at hand one-fourth of a shekel of silver. I will give that to the man of God, to tell us our way.”

Also notice that they are indeed searching for their way. The words in God’s book are precise. The servant could have said that the seer may be able to tell us where our donkeys are, but he used words that point to Jesus instead.

John 14:6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.

Samuel himself, at the close of the chapter, repeats this phrase.

1 Sam 9:26 They arose early; and it was about the dawning of the day that Samuel called to Saul on the top of the house, saying, “Get up, that I may send you on your way.”


Next, as they go to meet the man of God, the first things they see are women going out to draw water.

1 Sam 9:11 As they went up the hill to the city, they met some young women going out to draw water, and said to them, “Is the seer here?”

This is so typical of the things of God. Women at the well: Rebekah, Rachel, the Samaritan. This is a picture of Jesus who offers the living water and it is always women who are drawing from it. Women as the picture of the bride of Christ drink from the fountain of living water.

John 4:10 Jesus answered and said to her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.”

In the first part of verse 12, the women also explain a sacrifice, which is about to take place.

1 Sam 9:12 And they answered them and said, “Yes, there he is, just ahead of you. Hurry now; for today he came to this city, because there is a sacrifice of the people today on the high place. “As soon as you come into the city, you will surely find him before he goes up to the high place to eat.

And where there is a sacrifice, there is blood.

1 John 5:6-13 This is He who came by water and blood—Jesus Christ; not only by water, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit who bears witness, because the Spirit is truth.

We have seen these two elements of Jesus in this one verse: women drawing water from a well, and a blood sacrifice. In addition to this, Saul is being invited to eat at this feast.

1 Sam 9:13b For the people will not eat until he comes, because he must bless the sacrifice; afterward those who are invited will eat. Now therefore, go up, for about this time you will find him.”

What a parallel this is to the wedding feast explained in Matthew 22:1-5!

“The kingdom of heaven is like a certain king who arranged a marriage for his son, “and sent out his servants to call those who were invited to the wedding; and they were not willing to come. “Again, he sent out other servants, saying, ‘Tell those who are invited, “See, I have prepared my dinner; my oxen and fatted cattle are killed, and all things are ready. Come to the wedding.” ’ “But they made light of it and went their ways, one to his own farm, another to his business.

At this feast the people who were invited did not really want to go, so they made excuses.

Mat 22:8-9 “Then he said to his servants, ‘The wedding is ready, but those who were invited were not worthy. ‘Therefore go into the highways, and as many as you find, invite to the wedding.’

So now the wedding hall is filled with guests, but there is one who does not belong.

Mat 22:11 “So he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you come in here without a wedding garment?’ And he was speechless. “Then the king said to the servants, ‘Bind him hand and foot, take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ “For many are called, but few are chosen.”

Saul is also invited, but really isn’t chosen by God. He is called, but He is not the desire of God, only the desire on man.


In the next verses we see that the Lord had already told Samuel about Saul. The Lord had already chosen Saul to be the first king over his people, because he is the desire of the people. God will give us what we want.

Finally in verse 20, Samuel tells Saul what he has been searching for all along.

“But as for your donkeys that were lost three days ago, do not be anxious about them, for they have been found.

The donkeys have been lost 3 days. Jesus was in the tomb for 3 days and then resurrected. Our Hope resurrects after 3 days, just as Saul’s donkeys are found and his hope is returned.


Saul’s next words are humble and after which, he is exalted in a seat of honor at the feast.

Luke 14:11 “For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”

Unfortunately, this humility is only skin deep and his true colors will show when being king goes to his head.

1 Sam 15:17 So Samuel said, “When you were little in your own eyes, were you not head of the tribes of Israel? And did not the LORD anoint you king over Israel? …

There was another Saul, however, that after accepting the call of God, became truly little, and changed his name to Paul, which actually means little.

Paul calls himself least of all the saints in Ephesians 3:8, probably because of his persecution of the Christians before his conversion in Acts 8:3.

God uses the least among us to do great things for the glory of God.

Matt 11:11 “Assuredly, I say to you, among those born of women there has not risen one greater than John the Baptist; but he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.

Luke 9:48 and said to them, “Whoever receives this little child in My name receives Me; and whoever receives Me receives Him who sent Me. For he who is least among you all will be great.”


In verse 23, we read that Samuel has set apart a portion of meat just for Saul.

Paul was also set apart for the Gospel of God, and so are we.

Romans 1:1-6 Paul, a bondservant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated to the gospel of God which He promised before through His prophets in the Holy Scriptures, concerning His Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who was born of the seed of David according to the flesh, and declared to be the Son of God with power according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead. Through Him we have received grace and apostleship for obedience to the faith among all nations for His name, among whom you also are the called of Jesus Christ;

God is our portion, his son was set apart to die on the cross for our sins and resurrected on the third day. Obedience to this faith is all we need to live.

Saul will eventually fail in obeying the Lord. Man will always fail. But God did not fail us. God is the only true and just king.


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