12. Then the people exclaimed to Samuel, “Now where are those men who said, ‘Why should Saul rule over us?’ Bring them here, and we will kill them!”
13. But Saul replied, “No one will be executed today, for today the LORD has rescued Israel!”
1 Samuel 11: 12–13 NLT
I don’t know how many of you who read these DAILY WORD Posts know this, but I’m a novelist and lyric writer. I’ve written six full-length manuscripts, and I’m working on my seventh. As a creator of stories, character development occupies a substantial portion of my creative focus.
Today’s Passage reminds me that we know very little about King Saul’s personality or character at this point in The Story of Samuel. Therefore, I’ve isolated Verses twelve and thirteen to illustrate a bit of what we know about Saul and why he was Chosen for the position.
So what do we know about Saul? First off, he is Dutiful. When we meet the young man in the Text, he has left his father’s ranch to locate a lost drove of donkeys. The task was not a comfortable one. In fact, Saul and his servant were gone from his father’s house for so long that they ran out of food, and his father began to enquire about his whereabouts, worried that something had happened to him and the livestock.
We know this was God’s bid to maneuver Saul into the position required to be anointed King, but Saul was just doing what he thought was right. He had no clue what was about to happen to him. All the young man was doing was following the instructions he’d been given. He was being Responsible To his Duty, as any dutiful servant would.
Even when Saul’s companion suggested they return home, Saul hesitated. He hadn’t completed his mission, and despite their lack of sustenance, he Strove To Do his Duty. He did not want to return home empty-handed; Saul was Driven to Succeed.
When his servant suggested they go see Samuel to determine whether he could help them find the animals, Saul recognized that he had nothing to offer the Prophet in return for his assistance. Saul Displayed Wisdom and Respect. He Esteemed the office of Samuel as Israel’s Judge. Saul Recognized the Value of Strong Leadership.
As Samuel directed Saul through the steps of his anointing process, Saul followed every step the Prophet commanded to the tee. Saul Was Obedient. Having no idea what this was all about, the young man must have been confused about what was happening. Still, he didn’t resist; he simply did as he was bidden, recognizing Samuel’s Authority for what it was.
Those are all Admirable Traits, pointing to the fact that Saul’s coronation was God presenting to the Israelites what they deserved for rejecting Him as their Ruler. They wanted a King instead of God to Govern them, and God warned them about their shortsighted decision.
But if that is the case, and a King really was a bad choice, why is Saul such a seemingly perfect manly specimen, so flawless and pristine in his actions? Where are all the discomfort and sacrifice God mentioned in his Admonition?
We see the first hints at trouble when it came time to coronate Saul. When Samuel sent for Saul to anoint him, King, before all of Israel, the young man hid, running from this overwhelming burden. Saul was no fool. He sensed his detractor’s attitudes and felt the weight of responsibility hefted upon him. He was not swift to run into this, Saul felt the encumbrance more than any of them, and his fear was understandable.
But even that was an Endearing Trait because it showed that Saul was not taking his responsibility lightly. He felt fear confronting his duty, but when the time came to act, Saul was nothing if not decisive.
When the call came to save his besieged subjects, Saul’s first act as King wasn’t a simple call to arms. Saul’s discernment of the people’s attitudes toward him allowed him to anticipate the pushback he’d likely have encountered had he just sent out a call to war. Saul’s actions proved he knew his limitations, but his subsequent actions displayed his Mercy.
After their decisive victory over the Ammonites, Saul’s supporters asked Samuel to reveal the young King’s detractors so they could put them to death, eliminating the potential internal threat of insurrection. Their elation over the victory and their rabid support of Saul, combined with the bloodlust following the battle, prompted their ire, driving their patriotic fervor.
But Saul, recognizing the opportunity to unite the people over their shared triumph, spared them, displaying yet another Personality Trait Indicative of Kingship; Mercy. Saul is indeed a nuanced and formidable Leader, but every individual has their flaws. The question is, when will Saul’s blemishes affect his Leadership?
That is a question for another day. Until then, let’s discuss Today’s Lesson. Despite Saul’s indecision and imperfection, God still Chose him as King because of his Unique Abilities. God utilizes our Distinctive Personalities and Traits to match us up with His Divine Requirements.
When you are Chosen to do God’s Will, it is not because you are flawless or even worthy. God Chooses ordinary people to do extraordinary things to display both His Power and our Surrender. Only through our Submission to His Perfection can we become what He needs us to be to do His Work.
We are nothing without His Guidance and Strength. If you don’t believe me, just keep following along and see what happens when you Fall Off The Rails of Obedience. God has a Plan, and to stay within its parameters, we’ve gotta remain on the Right Track. Don’t let your willfulness derail God’s Tactics. Follow His Lead and Stay on The Right Track!
Have a Phenomenal Friday, And Remember, To Stay In God’s Will Is To Stay On The Right Track!