God makes a choice

1 Samuel 10:17-27 SCC 11/30/14


Deuteronomy 17:14-20 reveals Gods intention for Israel to have a king. (14-15 his qualifications; 16-17 his behavior; and 18-20 his education.)

He was to have 2 qualifications:

(1) Had to be chosen by the Lord. The people could be sure that God would place no one on the throne that he had not gifted to be king. His failure then would not lie in his lack of ability but his moral life.

(2) He must be an Israelite not a foreigner to protect purity of Israel’s religion. Guard outside influence.

Three things about his behavior singled out:

(1) Could not acquire or accumulate great number of horses. Army mostly infantry against greater armies of chariots and cavalry making king dependent not on military strength but on the Lord alone.

(2) Not taking many wives because kings normally formed political alliances this way. But following the Lord would make this unnecessary. These wives could misdirect his heart.

(3) Could not acquire large sums of silver/gold avoiding sense of independence and the lust for material wealth.

His education included:

The education of a king, copying, reading and following carefully the Law and decrees would produce a right spirit within a king—humility and obedience—consequently a long dynastic succession.

NB: These designed to reduce a king to the status of a servant of the Lord entirely dependent upon the Lord, His Master.

The Role of King in Israel:

1. The function of the God-fearing king was to lead Israel in keeping covenant and to trust God for deliverance. Israel's request to have a king "like the nations" was so devastating to her relationship with the Lord because it broke their covenantal relationship and "deposed" the Lord as Israel's warrior. In their request Israel demonstrated a total lack of faith in Lord’s ability to successfully lead them in battle.

2. The request was not only for a king to govern "like all the nations" (1 Sam 8:5). Israel wanted a king "so that we indeed might be like all the nations, and that our king may judge us and go out before us and fight our battles" 8:20. The danger was undermining Israel's understanding of the Lord as protector. The temptation was seeing a king as the guarantor of Israel's national security rather than the Lord.

NB: God has a way of making His will clear to us, when it is necessary for us to know it. He does not try to hide His will from us, and when He is intent on revealing it, we cannot miss it. God’s will is not a secret, which takes a special technique to discern. For God, it is simply everything being on schedule.

NB: To all appearances Saul was very capable of serving as Israel’s king. God gave them a man with great personal strengths: wisdom, humility, sensitivity, physical attractiveness, and wealth. His gift of Saul was a good gift, as are all God’s gifts to His people.



God’s sovereignty is displayed in his orchestration of our circumstances to bring about His good purposes.

God confirms his will to Samuel:

Verse 1: Samuel instructs Saul to send his servant on ahead so that he can speak privately with him. Samuel takes his flask of oil and anoints Saul’s head, kissing him, and informing him that God has indeed chosen him to be ruler over all Israel. There is no possibility for misunderstanding. But Saul is a man who needs some convincing v 22 or is it that God wants to make very clear his will in this matter.

Verse 2-13: Samuel gave Saul three signs verifying to the king elect that Samuel had anointed him in harmony with God’s will.

The first strengthened Saul’s confidence in God’s ability to control the people under his authority v 2

On the road to Rachel’s tomb they will meet two men, who will inform them of what Samuel has already told them; that the lost donkeys have been found, and Saul’s father is now worried about his son.

The second helped Saul realize that the people would accept him and make sacrifices for him v 3-4

When they reach the “oak of Tabor” they will encounter three men going up to worship God at Bethel. One man will have three kids; another three loaves and the third a jug of wine. These three will not only greet Saul and his servant, they will give them two loaves of bread, which they are to take. This bread will serve as their provisions for the rest of their way home (Elijah/ravens, Jesus/fishes).

The third would have assured him that he did indeed possess supernatural enablement from God v 5-13

Saul and his servant reach the “hill of God,” where the Philistine garrison is stationed v 5 and where the third sign takes place. The third sign is different from the first two in at least two regards.

First, it is publicly witnessed and partially grasped as significant. We were not given a full account of how these things take place but only given the general statement that “all these signs came about on that dayv 9. But when it comes to the third prophecy we are given an account, which includes the impact this has on the nation. The first two signs are almost entirely for the benefit of Saul alone. But this third sign catches people’s attention, so much so that it becomes proverbial.

Second, what happens to Saul on the “hill of God” is not normal; it is supernatural. The Spirit of God comes upon Saul and he prophesies v 10, along with those who are known to be prophets. It is important because this is a public demonstration that God has empowered Saul to judge the nation. This event is done in public v 11 and the change in Saul becomes proverbial v 12. This is the first public indication that Saul is to be Israel’s king meaning that the Spirit God now gave him a different viewpoint on things.

God confirms his will to Saul:

Verse 14-16: When Saul arrives home, his uncle is there to greet him and question him about what he has been doing over the days he has been gone. Saul gives only sketchy facts, so that the matter of his anointing will not be raised or discussed. Saul’s silence may have only spurred his uncle on, because he certainly is interested in what happened, especially once he learns that Saul has met with Samuel. Saul’s anointing had been private, but his choice by lot was public.



Verse 17-19: The next indication will be very public. Samuel calls all of Israel to Mizpah where he confronts a very eager audience. Samuel once again reminds the Israelites that their demand for a king is a manifestation of disobedience and unbelief (8:7; 8:8; 10:19). This God, whom they will replace with a human king, is the One who delivers them from all their difficulties. It is not their new king who will deliver them, because it has always been God who delivered them, and who will continue to do so.

Verse 20-21: The king, as seen in Deut 17:15 is to be the man of God’s choosing, and this choice will be indicated by the casting of the lot. It is first narrowed down to the line of Benjamin and then finally to Saul, the very one whom God has already indicated to Samuel earlier, the one whom Samuel has already anointed as king. But this process is for the benefit of the people of the nation, so that they will be convinced that Samuel is God’s choice.

Verse 22-24: When the casting of the lots indicates Saul, he is nowhere to be found. It is by further inquiry of the Lord that He indicates Saul is hiding by the baggage. The people run to the luggage, find Saul, and bring him to Samuel. When the people look upon Saul, they are greatly impressed. Samuel points out to the people what an extremely pleasing choice God has made. No one could have asked for more. And so the people begin to shout, “Long live the king!” v 24.

Verse 25-26: At this time, Samuel spells out all of the ordinances, which pertain to kingly rule, writing this on a book, which he places before the Lord. And then he sends the people home. Saul likewise goes to his house, accompanied by a group of valiant men whose hearts God has touched. These valiant men are further evidence that Saul is indeed God’s choice for Israel’s king.

Verse 27: Not all the people see it this way, however, for our text informs us there is a group of men – worthless fellows – who do not look upon Saul as their deliverer. Do they disdain the man for hiding amongst the luggage? Is he not their kind of leader? We don’t know why they look down upon Saul, but their most serious sin is to doubt and dispute God’s choice of their king. Saul remains silent.



1. We can be confident that there are no accidents—only from our perspective—and that our circumstances are governed and orchestrated by God.

2. God never manages with plan B. So God can be trusted to work out the best possible good for us in the circumstances he orchestrates in our lives.

3. From our perspective we cannot discern the work of God in our circumstances nor are we ever called to try and do so. Instead the Bible calls us to be content with our circumstances not try and discern what God is doing in them.

4. It is never better to move away from the revealed will of God with requests that compromise that will in any way. Asking for a king like the nations instead of waiting for the King God would raise up compromised the nations spirit making it easier to renege on God’s will in other matters.