Summary: When God sends us on a donkey chase, sovereignty prevails.

1 Samuel 9:1-5 KJV Now there was a man of Benjamin, whose name was Kish, the son of Abiel, the son of Zeror, the son of Bechorath, the son of Aphiah, a Benjamite, a mighty man of power. [2] And he had a son, whose name was Saul, a choice young man, and a goodly: and there was not among the children of Israel a goodlier person than he: from his shoulders and upward he was higher than any of the people. [3] And the asses of Kish Saul’s father were lost. And Kish said to Saul his son, Take now one of the servants with thee, and arise, go seek the asses. [4] And he passed through mount Ephraim, and passed through the land of Shalisha, but they found them not: then they passed through the land of Shalim, and there they were not: and he passed through the land of the Benjamites, but they found them not. [5] And when they were come to the land of Zuph, Saul said to his servant that was with him, Come, and let us return; lest my father leave caring for the asses, and take thought for us.


-Saul in 1st Samuel 9 is a man wrapped in a great heritage. His kinfolks were a hearty band to whom much success had been achieved. Seven generations of Saul can be traced back. If we were able to do this with our own generations it would be a reach all the way back to the Colonial days.

-Because of this success in Saul’s family, he grew up with much pressure riding on his shoulders. The two Hebrew words that describe his father indicate that he was a mighty warrior with much valor and he also was a very wealthy man. So Saul grew up with all of the advantages and pressure that comes from this kind of heritage.

-In addition to this, the Bible declares that he stood head and shoulders above all of Israel and that his looks had the ability to steal the hearts of the girls.

• If Saul would have been an athlete in our day, he would have been the MVP, the man who would be the Sport’s Illustrated Sportsmen of the Year.

• If Saul would have been a businessman in our day, he would have been a blue-chip investor, with deference given to him from those on Wall Street.

• If Saul would have been an author in our day, his books would live at the top of the New York Bestseller List.

-Saul already had the makings of a great man even though he had not yet proved himself on the stage of life. The weight of his pedigree held much potential for him.

-Yet nothing prepares us for Saul’s first assignment. Imagine how that all of his life that people had been telling him that he was on track for greatness, there will come a day when you will succeed, even words like awesome, fantastic, great, and talented were constantly being used to describe him.

-So with all of this riding on him, we are completely shocked to read that his first assignment would send him on such a demeaning task. “Saul, you’re a great man! Why don’t’ you go and find those donkeys that are lost?”

• All of the heritage is being wasted chasing donkeys.

• All of this presence is destined to pursue grasshoppers.

• All of this potential is deemed necessary to chase down some fence-jumpers.

• All of the great qualifications are going to seed on finding dingbats.

• It is about like asking a heart-surgeon to operate on in-grown toe-nails.

• It is about like telling a rocket scientist that he will have to design toys for children.

• It is about like telling a Harvard Business School graduate to run a pawn shop.

-There suddenly comes this huge canyon between Saul’s preparation and his assignment. It is sort of like asking a home-run hitter to bunt even though the bases are loaded and you have two outs and are two runs down.

-With his pedigree, we would have expected him to go out and kill lions or fight with the enemies of Israel. Instead he is sent out on the great donkey chase caper.

-1 Samuel 9:1-2 seemingly starts a huge lead-in of a story but quickly jerks the rug out from under the reader because in verse 3, the let-down comes and Saul is sent out on the unexpected.

A. The Characteristics of Donkeys

-In the Bible when you begin to look for what donkeys were associated with it sheds light on the picture.

• Donkeys were a means by which heavy burdens were carried around.

-Saul was sent to pursue something that carried burdens for others. Sometimes the destiny of our lives can be determined by the burdens that we find ourselves in pursuit of.

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