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Not long after the people asked for a king, a man named Saul went out looking for some donkeys that had gotten loose. He and his servant looked and looked for days. Finally the servant said, “Let’s go talk to Samuel. He’s a man of God, and everything he says comes true. Maybe he’ll tell us where we should look.”
“That’s a good idea,” said Saul. So off they went to find Samuel.
Now God had already told Samuel that He would send a man to meet him. The man coming would be the new king for His People. As Saul walked up to Samuel, God said, “This is the man I told you about. He’ll be the new ruler.”
But Saul didn’t recognize Samuel, so he went up to him and said, “Please tell me where I may find the seer’s house.”
“I am the seer!” Samuel answered. “And, by the way, don’t worry about the donkeys you lost three days ago; they’ve been found. What all Israel is wanting is you!”
Saul was really surprised. “But, I’m from the Benjamin tribe, the least important tribe in all Israel. And my family is the least important family in the whole tribe. Why are you saying that to me?”
But he went and ate with Samuel, and spent the night at his house.
The next morning, Samuel took a jar of olive oil and anointed Saul. That means he poured it on Saul’s head to show that God was choosing him to be the king the people had asked for.
“God has chosen you to lead His people!” Samuel told Saul. Then Samuel went on to tell Saul a long list of things that were about to happen to him, “You’re going to go here and this is going to happen, and then you’re going to go there and this is going to happen, and you’ll meet some prophets and the Spirit of the Lord will come powerfully on you. Once these things all happen, do whatever your hand finds to do, for God is with you.”
As Saul turned to leave Samuel, God changed Saul, and everything that Samuel said would happen — happened. The Spirit of God did come powerfully on Saul. When all those who had known him before saw him, they asked each other, “What has happened to Saul?”
God was helping Saul and offering him every chance to be a good leader.
Awhile later, Samuel gathered all the people together before God to show to them their new king. But first, Samuel reminded them, “Here’s what God says to you about this: ‘I brought you out of Egypt, delivering you from the Egyptians and from all the other enemies that have attacked you. But still you have rejected Me, the One who saved you from all your troubles and fears. You have said you want a man to be your king instead.’ So stand before the Lord, grouped together by your tribes.”
So they stood grouped together. Then God picked the tribe of Benjamin, and that tribe all stepped forward. From that tribe, He picked one smaller group, called a clan, and that clan all stepped forward. From that clan He picked one man’s family, and that family all stepped forward. From that family, God picked… Saul! But, uhhh… Saul didn’t step forward.
“Saul? Saul? Saul! Where are you?” No one could see him anywhere! “Come out, come out wherever you are, Saul.” The people started looking around, checking here, checking there. Under and over. In and out. They couldn’t find Saul.
So they asked God about it, “God, has Saul come here yet?”
“Yes,” God answered, “He is hiding behind the bags.”
A few people ran over to where everyone had stacked their supplies and started digging around. And there, crouched down behind some bags, trying to look small, was Saul.
Why do you think Saul was trying to hide? Do you think it could have been that he was scared he wouldn’t do a good enough job of being the king?
Does that sound humble to you? It might sound humble, but I’ll tell you a little secret. Thinking and thinking about how bad you are at something, or how you can’t do it, or what other people might think of you if you do a bad job is NOT being humble. It’s actually the opposite! It’s a sneaky, tricky kind of pride!
Trusting yourself or NOT trusting yourself is pride — because in both cases you should be trusting God.
Saying that you can’t do something because you are too small or too little or too anything — especially when God WANTS you to do it — that’s just being afraid of what people will think of you if you fail — and that’s pride.
When you really trust God and are truly humble because you see how BIG He is, you actually don’t end up even thinking about how good or how bad you are. Only God is Big Stuff.
God agreed to try to use Saul to lead His people, but you’ll see that this pride stuff is going to get in Saul’s way as king. And it all started back when he was hiding behind those bags.
The people pulled Saul to his feet and into his place in front of God and Samuel.
Samuel said to everyone, “Do you see who God has chosen to be your king? There is no one like him in all Israel.” Saul stood head and shoulders taller than everyone else there (that means he was way taller than anyone else).
All the people cheered and shouted, “Long live the king! Long live the king!”
After Samuel had talked with the people about the instructions God had given for kings, he sent all the people home.