Slouching Towards Your Gilboa, Part Two

Posted on March 23, 2012

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…Saul’s Call, A Humble Man – Part One…

Slouching Towards Your Gilboah

Part Two of Eight

Saul’s Victory – A Confident Man

I Samuel 11:5-7, 11-15

5 And, behold, Saul came after the herd out of the field; and Saul said, What aileth the people that they weep? And they told him the tidings of the men of Jabesh. 6 And the Spirit of God came upon Saul when he heard those tidings, and his anger was kindled greatly. 7 And he took a yoke of oxen, and hewed them in pieces, and sent [them] throughout all the coasts of Israel by the hands of messengers, saying, Whosoever cometh not forth after Saul and after Samuel, so shall it be done unto his oxen. And the fear of the LORD fell on the people, and they came out with one consent. 11 And it was so on the morrow, that Saul put the people in three companies; and they came into the midst of the host in the morning watch, and slew the Ammonites until the heat of the day: and it came to pass, that they which remained were scattered, so that two of them were not left together. 12 And the people said unto Samuel, Who is he that said, Shall Saul reign over us? bring the men, that we may put them to death. 13 And Saul said, There shall not a man be put to death this day: for to day the LORD hath wrought salvation in Israel. 14 Then said Samuel to the people, Come, and let us go to Gilgal, and renew the kingdom there. 15 And all the people went to Gilgal; and there they made Saul king before the LORD in Gilgal; and there they sacrificed sacrifices of peace offerings before the LORD; and there Saul and all the men of Israel rejoiced greatly.

We see that Saul continued at home, conducting business as usual. Vs 5 …Saul came after the herd out of the field;… We must remember that he was the first king of a unestablished kingdom. There was no capital. There was no palace. There was no court of nobles. There was nothing. There was anointed king. An anointed King that went home, went home to pick up where he had left off with his family and farm.

He may have been at home, but it did not change the fact that he was their king. And when problems arose, it was only natural for them to go seek out the man who God had appointed to be over them. And as a result, we see that a leader is forged Vs 6…And the Spirit of God came upon Saul when he heard those tidings, and his anger was kindled greatly… A couple interesting things about this phrase. 1) God’s spirit came upon him. This is a very curious phrase, and one that really messes with my view of Saul. And more specifically my view of his salvation. This was not necessarily said about just anyone. It was said about several of the Judges. Samson and Gideon come immediately to mind. It was also said about David on at least on occasion. It is this verse that lends the only credence, in my opinion, that Saul could have possibly been saved. 2) We see that Saul got mad. This seemed to be a recurring problem with Saul. I am not trying to imply per se that it was wrong for him to get upset in this specific circumstance, but we must be careful about allowing an otherwise noble emotion to control our lives to the point where it is no longer quite so noble.

The called upon Saul to lead them. And lead them is exactly what he did. I many ways, this leadership securing his place at the head of this fledgling kingdom. Vs 11…And slew the Ammonites until the heat of the day:…He won. He came out, and beat the enemy soundly. Which is, essentially what kings and governments are supposed to do. Their real purpose is to protect the general populace. And this is what Saul did. He took is rightful, god given place at the head of what was likely a rag-tag army and took the fight to the enemy. And beat the enemy. This is a recurring theme throughout the chronicles of the nation of Israel, a molested people who have been from their inception, down to this day.

Next we see that a leader is followed Vs 15…There they made Saul king before the LORD in Gilgal;…What we observed here is a solidifying of the position of Saul in the eyes of the all the people. Because if you remember, there were elements of the nation that were not totally sold on the idea of Saul being their leader. It is a true fact indeed that military victories has always gone a long way in securing power for potentates. A good way to win the presidency? Win a major conflict. People respect and hold in high admiration those individuals that conquer militarily.

God, Samuel was clearly with him at the beginning of his reign. He was protecting God’s people. He was leading God’s people. God’s man, Samuel, was on the peripheral  if nothing else of the goings on. As is evidenced by him staying the hand of the people when wanting to take retribution for Saul. God was with him because God has chosen him. Saul had a good start. It is easy to lose sight of this in the proceeding story, but we likely do him a disservice by not paying some attention to the fact that he was obedient to the Lord at the beginning. There is a note of caution that we can all learn from this story so far. Starting good, starting strong…is not indication or promise otherwise of finishing well. It requires due diligence on a daily basis.

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