Of good reputation, good-looking and tall he seemed like the perfect fit for the task at hand. The perfect action figure hero. Every woman’s dream. When he rose up in a crowd his mere presence was one of power and strength. Now while Israel wasn’t looking for some maid’s happily-ever-after they were looking for a man to represent them as king. All the other nations (friendly or foe) had one to stand in the gap and ‘handle’ stuff for it’s people. They wanted one too. They cried and prayed for such a man that would be acknowledged as a king among kings and a man among men. They cried and prayed so long for what they wanted that eventually God gave it to them. PLEASE NOTE: Sometimes we only think we know what is best, we think we know what is needed… we are not God. We don’t.
But God will let us have it sometimes and in this case Israel got it’s king. He looked just like what they had wanted. Tall, strong, impressive to look at. Bam! You asked for it – God delivered. Their answer a young Benjamanite named Saul hand-picked by God to match their criteria. God told His prophet Samuel and He set up a meeting. Samuel showed up simply looking for a seer to direct him toward his fathers donkeys. From there he was told he would be Israel’s first king AND a lot of beautiful, God-sized things would occur in the hours that followed.
But Saul came in with a heart condition. Oh, all of the exterior things looked and sounded good but he had a serious problem. Not unlike what you and I have. You see we all have strongholds, fears or issues that are, sadly, as true to us as the color of our eyes and our height.
Saul’s Achilles heel: his value of self was based on the opinions of others.
Despite being good looking and a head taller than other men,
Despite knowing he was called by God to be king,
Despite having prophesied and had the Spirit of God fall on him…
when the time came for Samuel to announce their king… Saul, was playing a game of hide and seek! They actually had to go find him!
ATTENTION HOUSTON in case you haven’t pieced out this section of the manual Saul has a self-esteem issue. I Samuel 9-15
You know all the world can look at your packaging and think, ‘Man, they have it all together.’ And if you are good you can pull that identity cover-up thing off as you pass quickly through people’s days. Most will not be around long enough to see behind your mask. But many will. And some will call you on it. But you will know those issues are there. AND God has always known.
Our ‘its’ have to be addressed or they will continuously effect our choices. They just don’t disappear. Financial success, promotions, marriage, smaller dress sizes nor retirement can get you past what is rooted internally. Momentary accolades won’t work long term any better than an occasional nitroglycerin pill will heal a heart in need of a three way bypass. We have to look at them. Saul didn’t.
At Saul’s coronation… after being recognized, announced and given instruction as to his responsibilities for God’s people. The man in hiding was now very visible but playing mute and dumb for in the moments that followed his ascension to the throne rebels rose up who rejected Samuel’s appointment of him.
Knowing this King Saul did nothing. He was King. Ordained before a nation by God’s prophet. Appointed by God himself. Soooooo don’t defend yourself but God’s ambassador and God Himself… for Pete’s sake stand up and use the authority entrusted to you to ‘nip-it-in the-bud’!
This will be the first of many times that King Saul will refuse to stand his ground and instead will opt to take the path of least resistance and appease and please the people in order to solidify His position and their approval. His eyes will continuously shift off of his mentor and spiritual leader Samuel. Consistently he will feed his weakness by looking out into the eyes of people for affirmation rather than up to God.
This is the king’s ‘Easy Button’ and ultimately his undoing as it will eventually lead God to do a recall on Israel’s first king.
Now many of us would say I’m grateful that that is not my issue. But if we are not quick to acknowledge what our deep-down, heart-seeded issue is – then we are not much different from the man named Saul.
I am not one prone to do external things to please people. No sir. Not me.
No my hangup aka issue is that I am more prone to get caught up and internalize things. If you tell me, or I see that there is a problem, I can take my part and yours and work it around in my head so long it all becomes MY problem! Then I let my own thoughts and concerns eat me up inside until I get weighted with frustration or powerless-ness (if that’s a word) which if not stopped short will transform into depression or bitterness.
But don’t worry you’ll know it – because I don’t mask a thing! Bless my heart.
The problem is that my junk and your junk is just as much an enemy in our relationship with Christ as what Saul had going on. It doesn’t matter what your ‘easy button’ looks like – the problem with having it, and not acknowledging it and allowing God to do something about it will stop you short of living out God’s will.
What was the difference between Saul and David, the man who would follow after Saul?
Both were good-looking yet neither were the obvious choice of the people.
Neither were perfect or embraced by all.
God appointed each and Samuel anointed each.
The difference is found in the heart of each man.
Our hearts, and the status of them, are of vital importance to the Maker of them.
I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you;
I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.
Ezekiel 36:26 (NKJV)
Their two individual hearts examined themself in light of God and each king choose.
Saul looked within himself for answers. David looked to God.
Saul moved as the people cried. David moved as God led.
Both had murder in their heart. David recognized and whole-heartedly repented. Saul held onto his right to reign.
One God will speak to but can’t seem to break through to. The other hears, acknowledges and embraces God’s consequences, will and timing.
One God can use and bless.
One He can’t.
The age old question now becomes – Which one will I choose to be like?
Everyday I rise up and I choose One or the other.
God have mercy on us as we seek Your face…
Have mercy upon me, O God,
According to Your lovingkindness;
According to the multitude of Your tender mercies,
Blot out my transgressions.
2 Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,
And cleanse me from my sin.
3 For I acknowledge my transgressions,
And my sin is always before me.
4 Against You, You only, have I sinned,
And done this evil in Your sight—
That You may be found just when You speak,
And blameless when You judge…
6 Behold, You desire truth in the inward parts,
And in the hidden part You will make me to know wisdom.
7 Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;
Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
8 Make me hear joy and gladness,
That the bones You have broken may rejoice.
9 Hide Your face from my sins,
And blot out all my iniquities.
10 Create in me a clean heart, O God,
And renew a steadfast spirit within me.
11 Do not cast me away from Your presence,
And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of Your salvation,
And uphold me by Your generous Spirit.