Wanting What God Wants

Posted: September 11, 2009 in 1 Samuel

1 Samuel 10-12, “Wanting What God Wants”
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Left off with Saul bewildered by all the attention the prophet Samuel was showing him. Saul had been proclaimed to be the desire of all Israel; but he had just come up looking for some donkeys. Samuel is going to make things pretty plain to him here… God’s going to grab hold of Saul’s heart… Israel is going to see what happens when they ask for a king…

1 Samuel 10 (NKJV)
1 Then Samuel took a flask of oil and poured it on his head, and kissed him and said: “Is it not because the LORD has anointed you commander over His inheritance?

A. Anointing him as king… Back then, they didn’t just dab someone’s forehead; they poured oil right on top of them! Ps 133 speaks of it running off of Aaron’s beard…
__a. Who’s the ultimate anointed one of God? Jesus the Messiah!

B. Did Samuel’s act actually make Saul king? No…God had already anointed Saul to be king; Samuel’s oil was a memorial/demonstration of what had already taken place spiritually (not unlike baptism; though oil is generally a picture of the Holy Spirit). In any case, it was GOD’s anointing & choosing. This wasn’t Samuel’s choice (though Samuel was involved); it wasn’t the people’s choice (though they would receive him later) – it was God’s choice.
__a. Why are we saved? Did we choose or did God choose? Yes.  There’s a bit of mystery involved – but Scripture makes it very clear that we wouldn’t be saved without God’s choice (Eph 1:4), and that we love God because He first loved us (1 John 4:19). This isn’t something that needs a lot of debate & picking sides; this is something over which every single believer can rejoice! If you’ve been born-again, you’ve been chosen by God!! (How do you know if you’ve been chosen? Respond to Jesus in faith…)

C. It was also God’s inheritance! Saul might be their commander, but God is still God. Saul is to be king, but he’s not to be unaccountable – he was to report to God regarding his treatment of God’s people.
__a. There’s a lot of grace in this phrase alone (which we’ll see again) in that the people may have rejected God as King, but He didn’t reject them as His people. God will always keep His covenant promises (even when we fail) – let God be true & every man a liar!
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2 When you have departed from me today, you will find two men by Rachel’s tomb in the territory of Benjamin at Zelzah; and they will say to you, ‘The donkeys which you went to look for have been found. And now your father has ceased caring about the donkeys and is worrying about you, saying, “What shall I do about my son?” ’ 3 Then you shall go on forward from there and come to the terebinth tree of Tabor. There three men going up to God at Bethel will meet you, one carrying three young goats, another carrying three loaves of bread, and another carrying a skin of wine. 4 And they will greet you and give you two loaves of bread, which you shall receive from their hands. 5 After that you shall come to the hill of God where the Philistine garrison is. And it will happen, when you have come there to the city, that you will meet a group of prophets coming down from the high place with a stringed instrument, a tambourine, a flute, and a harp before them; and they will be prophesying. 6 Then the Spirit of the LORD will come upon you, and you will prophesy with them and be turned into another man.

A. Instructions/prophecy about what was to take place. Saul’s life was about to change dramatically & Samuel gave him 3 signs as proof. (1) The donkeys would be affirmed to be found. (2) Saul would receive bread & wine originally meant as a gift to the Lord (valuable gift! Reminiscent of communion…) (3) He’d find a group of prophets singing in worship & prophesying…and Saul would join them. For a former farm-boy, these would be pretty big signs! Thus far, Saul’s just had the word of the Samuel (which was valuable enough) – but now he’d receive confirmation in numerous ways.

B. How is it Saul would actually change? By “the Spirit of the LORD…” … … As wonderful as this was for Saul, it wasn’t quite the same thing that happens with NT believers. In the OT, the Spirit came upon people for a time (a short while for empowerment); in the NT we are born of the Spirit when we place our faith in Christ, we are indwelt by Him as our seal/guarantee of salvation – and then on top of that, we have the opportunity to be filled with the Holy Spirit for power. Huge blessings over what was available in the OT. But yet something similar happens when we encounter the Holy Spirit: we’re also “turned into another” man/woman. When we are indwelt by the Holy Spirit at our salvation, we are changed into another person – we’re made new creations! … … When the Holy Spirit comes upon us with power, our Christian walk is fundamentally different… …
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7 And let it be, when these signs come to you, that you do as the occasion demands; for God is with you. 8 You shall go down before me to Gilgal; and surely I will come down to you to offer burnt offerings and make sacrifices of peace offerings. Seven days you shall wait, till I come to you and show you what you should do.”

A. IOW, “Don’t be afraid of the work of the Spirit; receive His gifts.” Many people are hesitant to step out in the gifts/leading of the Spirit. “You really want me to talk to THAT person? … You want me to utter what? That doesn’t make sense?! …” We don’t need to fear regarding the works & gifting of the Spirit; instead we ought to receive them with joy!

B. Afterwards, sacrifice & wait.
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9 So it was, when he had turned his back to go from Samuel, that God gave him another heart; and all those signs came to pass that day. 10 When they came there to the hill, there was a group of prophets to meet him; then the Spirit of God came upon him, and he prophesied among them. 11 And it happened, when all who knew him formerly saw that he indeed prophesied among the prophets, that the people said to one another, “What is this that has come upon the son of Kish? Is Saul also among the prophets?” 12 Then a man from there answered and said, “But who is their father?” Therefore it became a proverb: “Is Saul also among the prophets?”

A. Proverb is repeated several times throughout the book. As if the people were continually amazed that God would put someone like Saul among the prophets. Saul wasn’t exactly the most spiritual person around, so people’s skepticism is understandable.

B. Saul definitely had his flaws, but God still chose to use him. Just like we all have our flaws, but God still chooses to use us out of His grace. In His wisdom, God often calls and uses the foolish things for His glory! (1 Cor 1:27-29)
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13 And when he had finished prophesying, he went to the high place. 14 Then Saul’s uncle said to him and his servant, “Where did you go?” So he said, “To look for the donkeys. When we saw that they were nowhere to be found, we went to Samuel.” 15 And Saul’s uncle said, “Tell me, please, what Samuel said to you.” 16 So Saul said to his uncle, “He told us plainly that the donkeys had been found.” But about the matter of the kingdom, he did not tell him what Samuel had said.

A. Saul’s hesitant to tell anyone he was anointed king. Going to be a bit more embarrassing for him later on…
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17 Then Samuel called the people together to the LORD at Mizpah, 18 and said to the children of Israel, “Thus says the LORD God of Israel: ‘I brought up Israel out of Egypt, and delivered you from the hand of the Egyptians and from the hand of all kingdoms and from those who oppressed you.’ 19 But you have today rejected your God, who Himself saved you from all your adversities and your tribulations; and you have said to Him, ‘No, set a king over us!’ Now therefore, present yourselves before the LORD by your tribes and by your clans.”

A. Samuel reminds them that they had rejected the Lord. He had warned them about it back in Ch 8 when they were bellyaching for a king – now that the king had been chosen, there was no going back. Their rejection was complete. After everything God had done for them in purchasing them as His own people, they still weren’t satisfied.
__a. The saddest part? They still don’t even realize their sin – they won’t catch on until much later. They’re so consumed with what they want that they don’t even stop to think about what God would want for them. Thus there’s no sorrow – there’s no repentance – there’s no prayer. Just a bunch of people who claim God to be their God but want to rule over themselves.
__b. This is the opposite of how we ought to be! There’s nothing wrong with having desires & bringing our requests before the Lord (Phil 4:6), but the 1st priority in our prayers always ought to see the Lord’s will done (on earth as it is in heaven)! This is exactly what Jesus modeled for us. He could have chosen the easy route & let us suffer for our own sins – after all, we deserved it. But instead, He submitted Himself to the Father’s will… We ought to do the same!

B. The idea was that each tribe would be presented before God & God would choose the king from among them (probably either by lot or by urim/thummim). Obviously the king had already been chosen; this was the formal ceremony to let the rest of Israel know whom God had picked as their king…
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20 And when Samuel had caused all the tribes of Israel to come near, the tribe of Benjamin was chosen. 21 When he had caused the tribe of Benjamin to come near by their families, the family of Matri was chosen. And Saul the son of Kish was chosen. But when they sought him, he could not be found. 22 Therefore they inquired of the LORD further, “Has the man come here yet?” And the LORD answered, “There he is, hidden among the equipment.”

A. Saul was going to be the representative from Benjamin, but they couldn’t find him.

B. Even at this point, Saul was in disbelief & running from what God desired for him. He was hiding among the equipment… Some suggest that Saul was hiding out of humility; the context seems to suggest the opposite. To be in the broom closet isn’t an act of humility; it shows a reluctance to obey or even a lack of faith in God’s calling. (Humility would be to not think of himself at all!) Note that Saul is making the same mistake as the people. Instead of submitting to the Lord’s will for his life, he’s trying to be his own king & his own god.
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23 So they ran and brought him from there; and when he stood among the people, he was taller than any of the people from his shoulders upward. 24 And Samuel said to all the people, “Do you see him whom the LORD has chosen, that there is no one like him among all the people?” So all the people shouted and said, “Long live the king!”

A. Even Samuel was looking at the wrong qualifications for the king. They all thought there had to be some sort of external, inherent reason God chose Saul. As if there were something supremely special about Saul, that he was God’s obvious choice for Israel. In reality, the only thing special about Saul was God’s choosing. God was the One who made Saul special; He desired to use Saul for His glory…
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25 Then Samuel explained to the people the behavior of royalty, and wrote it in a book and laid it up before the LORD. And Samuel sent all the people away, every man to his house. 26 And Saul also went home to Gibeah; and valiant men went with him, whose hearts God had touched. 27 But some rebels said, “How can this man save us?” So they despised him, and brought him no presents. But he held his peace.

A. Instructions in formality & etiquette – probably taken from Deut 17:14-20
B. Not everyone was happy about Saul. Keep them in mind for later…
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1 Samuel 11 (NKJV)
1 Then Nahash the Ammonite came up and encamped against Jabesh Gilead; and all the men of Jabesh said to Nahash, “Make a covenant with us, and we will serve you.” 2 And Nahash the Ammonite answered them, “On this condition I will make a covenant with you, that I may put out all your right eyes, and bring reproach on all Israel.” 3 Then the elders of Jabesh said to him, “Hold off for seven days, that we may send messengers to all the territory of Israel. And then, if there is no one to save us, we will come out to you.”

A. Rather harsh terms for a covenant! Basically a “protection” racket…

B. Jabesh Gilead was apparently pretty weak. They wanted a deliverer, but they didn’t feel they could stand up to Nahash on their own – so they asked for time to find help. BTW, if “Jabesh Gilead” sounds familiar, it’s because this was the one city in Israel that didn’t mobilize against Benjamin when the atrocity happened in Judges 19. They refused to come to the aid of Israel, and in response, Israel took vengeance on the city & stole 400 virgins to give to the men of Benjamin so they wouldn’t die out. (It was a rough time!) It’s no wonder Jabesh Gilead was left in a pretty weak state & they didn’t hold out much hope for a rescue…but it is also ironic that now they are asking for help.
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4 So the messengers came to Gibeah of Saul and told the news in the hearing of the people. And all the people lifted up their voices and wept. 5 Now there was Saul, coming behind the herd from the field; and Saul said, “What troubles the people, that they weep?” And they told him the words of the men of Jabesh. 6 Then the Spirit of God came upon Saul when he heard this news, and his anger was greatly aroused. 7 So he took a yoke of oxen and cut them in pieces, and sent them throughout all the territory of Israel by the hands of messengers, saying, “Whoever does not go out with Saul and Samuel to battle, so it shall be done to his oxen.” And the fear of the LORD fell on the people, and they came out with one consent.

A. This is exactly what Samuel said would happen. The people didn’t have a choice on whether or not to come & fight. Samuel demanded that they join the army, or he’d ransack their livestock & fields…

B. This wasn’t evil on Saul’s part; it was just the way it worked. The governing authorities have been charged by God to bear the sword (Rom 13). … If Saul hadn’t acted, he would have been negligent as king…
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8 When he numbered them in Bezek, the children of Israel were three hundred thousand, and the men of Judah thirty thousand. 9 And they said to the messengers who came, “Thus you shall say to the men of Jabesh Gilead: ‘Tomorrow, by the time the sun is hot, you shall have help.’ ” Then the messengers came and reported it to the men of Jabesh, and they were glad. 10 Therefore the men of Jabesh said, “Tomorrow we will come out to you, and you may do with us whatever seems good to you.” 11 So it was, on the next day, that Saul put the people in three companies; and they came into the midst of the camp in the morning watch, and killed Ammonites until the heat of the day. And it happened that those who survived were scattered, so that no two of them were left together.

A. Big victory! Surprise attack by night…somewhat reminiscent of Gideon – with the exception that Gideon had 300 men; Saul had 330,000!

B. Question: how was it possible for Saul to lead such a huge army to victory? After all, he wasn’t a soldier; he was a farm-boy. He couldn’t even find lost donkeys a couple of chapters ago; now he’s leading whole battalions! Answer: the Holy Spirit. Vs. 6 makes it plain that the Spirit again came upon Saul & equipped/empowered Saul for what needed to be done.
__a. What Saul had to wait for, we have available to us every day! Do you need equipping for the spiritual battle you’re facing? Be filled with the Holy Spirit by faith! Do you need power to walk as a witness of Christ? Ask God the Holy Spirit to come upon you! No doubt Saul wished he had the blessings available to NT believers today – don’t take the Holy Spirit for granted!
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12 Then the people said to Samuel, “Who is he who said, ‘Shall Saul reign over us?’ Bring the men, that we may put them to death.” 13 But Saul said, “Not a man shall be put to death this day, for today the LORD has accomplished salvation in Israel.”

A. At this point, the people go looking for the ones who were grumbling against Saul & not sending presents to his coronation. To his credit, Saul demonstrates mercy…

B. If Saul did not demonstrate humility earlier, he certainly does here. Saul led the battle, but he understood exactly Who it was that gave the victory: God. “for today the LORD has accomplished salvation.” Every good & perfect gift comes from God (Jas 1:17), and Saul understood the sovereignty of God enough to give Him the glory for what took place on the battlefield.
__a. Virtually impossible to read that phrase without thinking of salvation in NT terms. Saul didn’t know much about that, but we do! At the cross and Resurrection Sunday, it could truly be proclaimed that the LORD had accomplished salvation! The work was done – the price was paid – the enemy defeated! All due to the work of the Lord Jesus – all made available to the world through His grace. Wonderful news!
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14 Then Samuel said to the people, “Come, let us go to Gilgal and renew the kingdom there.” 15 So all the people went to Gilgal, and there they made Saul king before the LORD in Gilgal. There they made sacrifices of peace offerings before the LORD, and there Saul and all the men of Israel rejoiced greatly.

A. Was Saul not officially king before this point? Yes he was; the anointing by Samuel & the choosing by lot in front of the whole nation accomplished that. This was a different ceremony in the eyes of the people. Before, God had shown them who He had picked as king; here (after seeing Saul in action), the people acknowledged what God had done & now no one rebelled or rejected him.
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1 Samuel 12 (NKJV)
1 Now Samuel said to all Israel: “Indeed I have heeded your voice in all that you said to me, and have made a king over you. 2 And now here is the king, walking before you; and I am old and grayheaded, and look, my sons are with you. I have walked before you from my childhood to this day. 3 Here I am. Witness against me before the LORD and before His anointed: Whose ox have I taken, or whose donkey have I taken, or whom have I cheated? Whom have I oppressed, or from whose hand have I received any bribe with which to blind my eyes? I will restore it to you.” 4 And they said, “You have not cheated us or oppressed us, nor have you taken anything from any man’s hand.” 5 Then he said to them, “The LORD is witness against you, and His anointed is witness this day, that you have not found anything in my hand.” And they answered, “He is witness.”

A. This was basically Samuel’s goodbye speech. He wasn’t completely leaving the scene (as we’ll see with David), but as judge over all Israel, he was being relieved of his administrative duties which now belonged to the king.

B. Begins by demonstrating his integrity. Samuel’s sons may have cheated the people, but Samuel never did. It was common for governors to live off the backs of the people, but Samuel was able to honestly proclaim (and have the people affirm) that he never did anything scandalous or that required rebuke…and he was perfectly willing to make restitution if someone had said something. How wonderful it would be to share a similar testimony! Christians ought to live lives of integrity…
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6 Then Samuel said to the people, “It is the LORD who raised up Moses and Aaron, and who brought your fathers up from the land of Egypt. 7 Now therefore, stand still, that I may reason with you before the LORD concerning all the righteous acts of the LORD which He did to you and your fathers: 8 When Jacob had gone into Egypt, and your fathers cried out to the LORD, then the LORD sent Moses and Aaron, who brought your fathers out of Egypt and made them dwell in this place.

A. Going to go through a bit of history. They’ve rejected God, but Samuel is pointing out that God never rejected them – even when He had every reason in the world to do so…

B. God had demonstrated His compassion towards His rebellious people over & over again in the wilderness… And when they actually got to the Promised Land, it wasn’t much better. See vs. 9…
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9 And when they forgot the LORD their God, He sold them into the hand of Sisera, commander of the army of Hazor, into the hand of the Philistines, and into the hand of the king of Moab; and they fought against them. 10 Then they cried out to the LORD, and said, ‘We have sinned, because we have forsaken the LORD and served the Baals and Ashtoreths; but now deliver us from the hand of our enemies, and we will serve You.’ 11 And the LORD sent Jerubbaal, Bedan, Jephthah, and Samuel, and delivered you out of the hand of your enemies on every side; and you dwelt in safety.

A. Referring to the time of the judges. Cycle of idolatry, apostasy, repentance, and deliverance…

B. Over & over again God provided for His people & gave judges. Even when they weren’t perfect, they still were sent by God who watched over His people…
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12 And when you saw that Nahash king of the Ammonites came against you, you said to me, ‘No, but a king shall reign over us,’ when the LORD your God was your king. 13 “Now therefore, here is the king whom you have chosen and whom you have desired. And take note, the LORD has set a king over you.

A. Here it is: GOD was their King! And they rejected Him. Can’t get much plainer…
B. Even in the midst of this new rebellion, God still provided for them. He gave them what they wanted…
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14 If you fear the LORD and serve Him and obey His voice, and do not rebel against the commandment of the LORD, then both you and the king who reigns over you will continue following the LORD your God. 15 However, if you do not obey the voice of the LORD, but rebel against the commandment of the LORD, then the hand of the LORD will be against you, as it was against your fathers.

A. So what to do with this new king & this situation with God? Remember God is God!
__a. Fear God: reverence Him – give Him the respect and honor He deserves. Even with a man as king, God is still GOD & nothing would ever change that!
__b. Serve Him: Continue to worship God alone as God; don’t go running into idolatry. Serve the Lord God and none other.
__c. Obey Him: Hearken to the voice & word of God. Obey His commandment – be holy as He is holy.
__d. The result? They’ll be blessed. They’d follow the Lord & they’d have good kings that would follow the Lord. Considering the situation, that’d be the ideal solution.

B. What not to do? Disobey… The result? God would be against His own people in discipline, using the kings of Israel themselves to bring hardship upon the people.

C. Bottom line, they were to seek after God with their whole hearts & follow Him. Historically, it’s not what they did…
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16 “Now therefore, stand and see this great thing which the LORD will do before your eyes: 17 Is today not the wheat harvest? I will call to the LORD, and He will send thunder and rain, that you may perceive and see that your wickedness is great, which you have done in the sight of the LORD, in asking a king for yourselves.” 18 So Samuel called to the LORD, and the LORD sent thunder and rain that day; and all the people greatly feared the LORD and Samuel.

A. You bet they feared! Samuel basically said, “If you want proof you made God angry, let it rain.” And it rained! Keep in mind this was in the middle of one of their dry seasons, and it rained upon Samuel’s prayer with thunder & lightning.
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19 And all the people said to Samuel, “Pray for your servants to the LORD your God, that we may not die; for we have added to all our sins the evil of asking a king for ourselves.” 20 Then Samuel said to the people, “Do not fear. You have done all this wickedness; yet do not turn aside from following the LORD, but serve the LORD with all your heart. 21 And do not turn aside; for then you would go after empty things which cannot profit or deliver, for they are nothing.

A. Pray for us that we may not die. Good prayer request! They were deserving of death…they had committed treason against God Almighty. And after all the appeals from Samuel, they just NOW realized it.

B. The dilemma is a real one: once we realize we’ve royally messed up & we’re in a bad spot, what do we do regarding God? On one hand, it’d make logical sense to try to run away from Him (and a lot of people do), in order to try to avoid being condemned when facing Him. The problem? There’s no place to hide from an omnipresent God. Instead of hiding from God, they were to repent & seek His face & forgiveness – they were to fear God & serve Him.
__1. Likewise for us! It’s not like if we pretend God doesn’t exist that’ll He’ll disappear. We WILL see God face to face. The answer isn’t to keep running away from God; it’s to seek Him in repentance through Jesus Christ!
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22 For the LORD will not forsake His people, for His great name’s sake, because it has pleased the LORD to make you His people.

A. What a picture of grace! No matter how bad the people of God had messed up & sinned against God, they were still God’s people. He wasn’t going to forsake them. … We have that same promise as the NT church! We are the people of God – and Jesus has promised never to leave us nor forsake us. Even when we sin & mess up, we are still the people of God; Jesus’ forgiveness is available for the asking…
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23 Moreover, as for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the LORD in ceasing to pray for you; but I will teach you the good and the right way. 24 Only fear the LORD, and serve Him in truth with all your heart; for consider what great things He has done for you. 25 But if you still do wickedly, you shall be swept away, both you and your king.”

A. Samuel couldn’t help but pray for the people; that’s what God called him to do…
B. Reiterates the need to fear God & serve the Lord in truth…

Conclusion:
Interesting turn of events. Saul is chosen as king – Saul is filled with the Holy Spirit & does what a king is supposed to do – and then the people realize they should never have asked for Saul in the 1st place. At this point, it was too late to go back (Samuel had warned them), but it wasn’t too late to go forward. They could seek God’s face and continue to worship Him. But of course they could have avoided this altogether by seeking the Lord 1st.

Do we want God’s will for our life, or do we want God to bless our will for our lives? Seek 1st the kingdom of God & His righteousness, and then trust God’s promise that He’ll provide the rest! Walk in the power of the Holy Spirit – be led and guided by Him in all that you do…

Whatever we’ve done in the past, as long as we have breath we’ve been given another opportunity to seek the Lord! We can’t turn back the clock, but we can repent from our sin & trust & fear the Lord…

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