March 6, 2017
I Samuel 8:7-9
(All scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated.)
This study will examine Two Kings, the first being Saul, the second David. Here is God’s instructions to Samuel in I Samuel 8:7 through 9 (condensed):
…the LORD said to Samuel, “Heed the voice of the people in all that they
say to you; for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me….Ac-
cording to all the works which they have done since the day that I brought
them up out of Egypt, even to this day — with which they have forsaken
Me, that I should not reign over them….they…served other gods — so they
are doing to you also. Now therefore, heed their voice. However you shall
solemnly forewarn them, and show them the behavior of the king who shall
reign over them.
Israelite leaders had approached Samuel in I Samuel 8:5: “Look, you are old, and your sons to not walk in your ways. Now make for us a king to judge us like all the nations.” Like all the nations?!! This is what God designed for Israel, written in Deuteronomy 7:6: “For you are a holy people to the Lord your God…[He] has chosen you to be a people for Himself, a special treasure above all the peoples on the face of the earth.” Israel was not to be like all the nations!
Although it does not specify this in the Scripture record, I think why the people wanted a king – a big king! – was because there were among the enemy Philistines five giants coming up through the ranks of the Philistine army – one of whom was Goliath! (See also II Samuel 21:16; 21:18; I Chronicles 20:5; II Samuel 21:20). Here is what is recorded in I Samuel 10:23 and 24: “…when he stood among all the people, he [Saul] was taller than any…from his shoulders upward….So all the people shouted…‘Long live the king!’ ” Yes, they had their choice – a six-foot, eight-inch big man! But what was he against a nine-foot, eight-inch giant named Goliath?!!
Considering Saul – what were some of his personality defects?
• Although he showed bravery in many cases, he too often tended toward fearfulness!
✞ When Saul was first introduced to the Israelites as their king in I Samuel 10:21 and 22, the people couldn’t find him because he was hiding “…among the equipment.” It seems he was scared at the idea of being king!
✞ In I Samuel 15, Saul was commissioned to carry out God’s curse against the Amalekites and completely wipe them out (see Deuteronomy 25:17-19). But the king didn’t do it. “He took Agag king of the Amalekites alive, and…spared…the best of the sheep…oxen…fatlings…lambs, and all that was good, and was unwilling to utterly destroy them.” (I Samuel 15:8 and 9). He made excuses when confronted with his failure. But finally, in verse 24, Saul confessed to Samuel, “I have sinned, for I have transgressed the commandment of the LORD and your words, because I feared the people and obeyed their voice.”
✞ As David increased in popularity among the people, it says in I Samuel 18:29, “…Saul was still more afraid of David, so Saul became David’s enemy continually.”
• Saul was also a jealous person!
✞ He was so jealous to protect his throne, especially after his disobedience, and Samuel’s confronting him. The prophet told the king, “…the LORD…has rejected you from being king….[He] has torn the kingdom of Israel from you…and has given it to a neighbor of yours, who is better than you.” (I Samuel 15:23 and 28). Over the next few years, the king’s jealousy burned greatly, and he hunted David, trying to kill him multiple times – wasting national resources on that fruitless pursuit!
✞ After David killed Goliath, the Israelites praised him: “…the women had come out…singing and dancing…‘Saul has slain his thousands, and David this ten thousands.’ (I Samuel 18:6 and 7). ” And King Saul, according to I Samuel 18:8 and 9…
…was very angry…and…said, “They have ascribed to David ten thou-
sands, and to me…but thousands. Now what more can he have but
the kingdom?” So Saul eyed David from that day forward.
• God rejected Saul – not only as king, but also as a person – and Saul always seemed to fight against the LORD!
✞ Samuel told Saul in I Samuel 15:26, “…you have rejected the word of the LORD….”
✞ In I Samuel 16:14 it is written: “…the Spirit of the LORD departed from Saul, and a distressing spirit from the LORD troubled him.”
✞ According to Deuteronomy 18:11 and 12, “…a spiritist, or a medium, or one who calls up the dead…are an abomination to the LORD….” But at the end of his days, Saul had to fight the Philistines – and he was scared! (See I Samuel 28:5). When God didn’t answer him, he turned to a forbidden medium who lived in Endor (see I Samuel 28:7). Although it does not happen so in any other known case, God actually allowed this ‘witch’ to call up Samuel! And Samuel told Saul that “…tomorrow you and your sons will be with me. The LORD will also deliver the army of Israel into the hands of the Philistines.” (II Samuel 28:19).
✞ Here is the sorry record of Saul – his epitaph, if you will – in I Chronicles 10:13 and 14:
So Saul died for his unfaithfulness which he had committed against
the LORD, because he did not keep the word of the LORD, and also
because he consulted a medium for guidance. But he did not inquire
of the LORD; therefore He killed him, and turned the kingdom over
to David the son of Jesse.
Be careful to personally obey and follow the LORD closely! And be careful also concerning whom you chose as your leader!