Summary: Your image may allow you to start well, but only your integrity will allow you to finish well.

Some years ago a remarkable picture was exhibited in London. As you looked at it from a distance, you seemed to see a monk engaged in prayer, his hands clasped, his head bowed. As you came nearer, however, and examined the painting more closely, you saw that in reality he was squeezing a lemon into a punch bowl!

What a picture that is of the human heart! Superficially examined, it is thought to be the seat of all that is good and noble and pleasing in a man; whereas in reality, until regenerated by the Holy Ghost, it is the seat of all corruption. Moody’s Anecdotes, p. 69.

A rather pompous-looking Sunday School teacher was endeavoring to impress upon a class of boys the importance of living the Christian life. "Why do people call me a Christian?" the man asked. After a moment’s pause, one youngster said, "Maybe it’s because they don’t know you."

No man, for any considerable period, can wear one face to himself, and another to the multitude, without finally getting bewildered as to which may be the true.

Nathaniel Hawthorne

What matters more, your image or your integrity?

Today, I want to look at the beginning and the end of the careers of two kings. One was anointed because of his image. The other was anointed because of his integrity. One ended in suicide. The other established a great Kingdom, a dynasty, a lineage, and an empire before he died peacefully.

In the latter days in the life of Samuel the prophet, his sons were appointed to leadership. While Samuel waned in strength, his sons walked in sin. So all the elders of the people of Israel gathered and said to Samuel, “You are old and your sons do not walk in your ways; now appoint a king to lead us such as all the nations have” (1 Samuel 8:4)

From the very beginning of their search it was apparent that the children of Israel were concerned about their appearance. They were different than the other nations. The Israelites were

• Disgruntled

• Disappointed

• Disillusioned

• All because they were Different

They did not like their image. When foreign traders would come to the marketplace in Jerusalem, they would ask the merchants selling their wares, “Where is your King? Who is your leader? What does he look like?” The Israelites were sick of saying ,

“Our king is no-other than the One True God.”

“Where is he?”

“He invisible.”

“Where is his statue?”

“We are forbidden from making an image of Him.”

Tired of the relentless queries, the Israelites wanted to change their image. They wanted someone they could brag about. They wanted a face they could imprint upon their currency. They wanted statues to be carved in his image. And God gave them someone who would fit their profile.

1 Samuel 9:1-3 says, 9:1 There was a man of Benjamin whose name was Kish, the son of Abiel, son of Zeror, son of Becorath, son of Aphiah, a Benjaminite, a man of wealth. 2 And he had a son whose name was Saul, a handsome young man. There was not a man among the people of Israel more handsome than he. From his shoulders upward he was taller than any of the people.

The people wanted a particular image to be fulfilled, and God granted them their wish.

But look what happens when it came time to anoint the new king (1 Samuel 10:

17 Now Samuel called the people together to the LORD at Mizpah. 18 And he said to the people of Israel, “Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel, ‘I brought up Israel out of Egypt, and I delivered you from the hand of the Egyptians and from the hand of all the kingdoms that were oppressing you.’ 19 But today you have rejected your God, who saves you from all your calamities and your distresses, and you have said to him, ‘Set a king over us.’ Now therefore present yourselves before the LORD by your tribes and by your thousands.”

20 Then Samuel brought all the tribes of Israel near, and the tribe of Benjamin was taken by lot. 21 He brought the tribe of Benjamin near by its clans, and the clan of the Matrites was taken by lot; [4] and Saul the son of Kish was taken by lot. But when they sought him, he could not be found. 22 So they inquired again of the LORD, “Is there a man still to come?” and the LORD said, “Behold, he has hidden himself among the baggage.” 23 Then they ran and took 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? There is none like him among all the people.” And all the people shouted, “Long live the king!”

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