1 Samuel 8:1-22; 9:1-27; 10:1
1 Samuel 9:15-17
“Now the day before Saul came, the Lord had revealed to Samuel: ‘Tomorrow about this time I will send to you a man from the land of Benjamin, and you shall anoint him to be ruler over my people Israel. He shall save my people from the hand of the Philistines; for I have seen the suffering of my people, because their outcry has come to me.’ When Samuel saw Saul, the Lord told him, ‘Here is the man of whom I spoke to you. He it is who shall rule over my people.’”
The judges of the Israelites are coming to a close and they are looking around at the, what looks like, successful countries around them. They are wrestling with are we truly God’s people, are we setting ourselves apart and living as we’ve promised in the Exodus or not? Samuel has been faithful; God has spoken through him but his sons have not. Who will lead them next is causing lots of anxiety, maybe something new will work? The people ask for a king. You can read for yourself all the ways Samuel speaks truth of what it truly means to have a king; but the demand remains.
Then we meet the next important man in Israel’s history, Saul. It makes me chuckle that the meeting of Saul and Samuel, isn’t Saul looking for leadership but lost donkeys. Saul is out traveling, seeking lost donkeys and he humbly responds to Samuel’s request to share a meal. One unexpected and undeserved. Saul recounts who he is and where he comes from; the least of the tribes of Israel, a longer ‘why me?’. It seems the call to leadership, to be king is one unexpected for Saul as well. In anointing with oil, Saul is called as the ruler and assured that God is indeed with him. I wonder what Samuel and God saw about Saul that said he will lead? I wonder what lingering concerns Samuel kept inside as the people demanding someone whose loyalty may challenge their relationship with God? And don’t you worry, those donkeys were found!
Lord of all, who finds gold and silver, precious stones, deep inside us when we are out searching for something else. May we listen when you speak from those around us, recognizing our gifts and calling us to serve your people. May we take our concerns about what it all means to you in our prayers, Amen.