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Today we continue our journey through the Bible and begin to enter a section rich with the history of the Israelites as they begin to have kings and prophets. Our first book on the list in 1 Samuel.
Samuel was called by God from a young age and raised by the priest in order to be a prophet, deeply in tune with God. He was a prophet during the end of Judges and the beginning of kings. You see, the people of Israel grew tired of the Judges like we talked about last time and wished to be ruled by a king. Samuel warned the people what would happen if a king was brought in to rule them but they still begged for one. So, God gives Samuel approval to choose a king for the people of Israel. Enter Saul, a man who is described as the most handsome. Saul is first referred to in 1 Samuel 9:2 which says,
"... Saul, a handsome young man. There was not a man among the people of Israel more handsome than he. From his shoulders upward he was taller than any of the people."
Imagine your prince charming, the chiseled features, great hair, nice jawline, nice smell, this was Saul. The issue was Saul was all looks and no real leader. He was selfish and greedy with no real regard for the people. On top of all this, he was a coward, terrified of losing his crown. Saul fails the people and he fails God, ultimately leading to his loss of power. He was unfit to be a king but he was the people's choice due to the recognition give with his good looks.
During the reign of Saul, David comes on the scene. We see him anointed as the next king of Israel years before every actually holding the title. David's story as he deals with Saul's cowardice is quite difficult. While he was not yet king, David was brought on as one of Saul's top generals, and then when Saul discovered the anointing of David he lost his crap. Saul attempted to kill David himself on a few occasions and force him to flee and hide. There was even an opportunity for David to end his hiding and kill Saul but chose to let him live.
The prophet Samuel passes away before David ever accends to kingship. Saul was being driven mad by his own thoughts of worry. He consults a known witch and has her reach out to Samuel for guidance. From there, Saul's death is predicted and fulfilled, even Saul's sons are killed. This leaves the seat vacant for David to assume his anointed role as king of Israel.
The way the story plays out I feel like we are reading a Shakespearean play. The people beg for a king, the "perfect" king is found, he does a terrible job, a new king is found but must wait until the current king is dead, the current king goes mad due to his own insecurities and attempts to take the life of the future king, the future king refuses to stoop low enough to kill him, the current king dies and creates space for the new king to rise up. If this isn't drama I don't know what is and this is just part of the history of God's people.
If we were honest though we would see how the drama is created when God's plan is not followed. God did not want a king over Israel, He thought it looked too much like the neighboring people. The first king didn't follow the commands of God and led in an ungodly way. The people of Israel didn't place their trust in God to know what was best for them.
How do we go about trusting God? Do we think we have the answers and have God fill in the holes? Or do we trust Him and listen for His guidance? I think we would all say the later, but in all reality do the former. It is much easier in my mind to create the path and have God work according to my will then to admit His ways are better and follow His plan. Yet, the amount of "drama" surrounding our lives would be so much less if we only trust His ways. Not my will, but yours be done. That should have been Israel's mantra and should be our today.
For more info on 1 Samuel check out this video: