To know exactly what to expect is going to happen must be exhilarating! Think of the whirlwind young Saul has been on over the past day. While looking for his donkeys, he found Samuel. Samuel’s words will profoundly change his life forever. He has no idea what it will be like to be used by God in this moment.
Maybe you’ve felt like this before. You know you’re called to do something great to further God’s kingdom, but what does that look like? I’m sure we all wish we had Samuel in our corner preparing us for what is about to happen. The detail here is quite something, wouldn’t you agree?
We’re all on a God assignment – to seek and serve the lost. The assignment we see today looks a lot more focused in on God’s agenda for the kingship. You’ll recall the people had rejected God’s rule for that of a human king, like their neighbors had. It appears God didn’t want to allow that job to fall to just “anybody.”
Meet Saul. The most handsome man in Israel. As we begin this reading, it isn’t completely clear why we are hearing about an influential man’s son being sent out to find some wayward donkeys. Looking back, we can see that God was orchestrating Saul’s meeting with Samuel. How do you think God may be at work in you at this moment?
Why is it we are never satisfied in life? We are always looking for the next “thing” to bring happiness, contentment, or success. I can remember saying things like, “when we finally get settled, I’ll feel better,” or “when we can finally afford that new car, everything will be okay.” We even hear such lament in our reading. “If only we had a king,” the people are saying.
Samuel had been acting for years as their judge, and before him we read of many other judges in the Book of Judges. Along the way, we sensed the people were wanting a king. In this reading we understand why.
We know from reading through the book of Judges how God raised up leaders for a certain victory and to watch over a certain region. After all the Israelites have been through with the fiasco surrounding the Ark of the Covenant, the people were feeling abandoned by God. By using Samuel in this way, God let the people know his power was still with them.
Thankfully, the people understood the seriousness of the situation and heeded Samuel’s advice. “Turn your hearts to the Lord and obey him alone; then he will rescue you from the Philistines.” The day the people gathered at Mizpah, for what sounds like a revival of sorts, was the day Samuel was appointed as judge.
Anytime we’re told “not” to do something, we want to do it all the more. Why is that exactly? Today’s story starts with more death. This time the Israelites fall because they peeked inside the Ark. Was this a situation of curiosity? Did they not know what would happen if they looked inside?
Clearly this was a violation that angered the LORD. These people didn’t live to regret their decision. But those who didn’t peek and showed reverence were surprised and angered by what their own God did. This event set a precedent for the Ark and how it should be handled in the future.