Summary: Saul's reign will be marked with insecurity and fear. From the begining he was reluctant to rule God's people and his fear defined his reign.
TEXT: I Samuel 10
Review of chapter 9:
Saul was out looking for donkeys, not a throne, when he meets Samuel and is overwhelmed by the news that he, himself, is to be the king. He protests that he is unworthy, from an insignificant tribe and family. Samuel and Saul sat up all night talking about God’s plans for him and at the beginning of chapter 10 - Samuel privately anoints Saul as King of Israel. (Later when he anoints David it appears to be a private anointing as well.
After anointing Saul and sending him on his way with a prophetic word, Saul meets the prophets that Samuel told him he would meet and the Holy Spirit comes UPON (not within) Saul and he prophesies with these prophets.
Returning home, however, when his uncle asks him about his adventures (verses 14-16) Saul says NOTHING about the REAL reason for his encounter with Samuel. He conceals his calling to be king.
Why? He has been confirmed as King by the man of God, he has experienced the presence of God along with the prophets, indicating that he is not just physically prepared to be king, but also spiritually. He has been involved with miraculous revelations to prove that Samuel isn’t a phony baloney prophet. Yet, when it comes time to share with those closest to him, he doesn’t report to them that Samuel has told him that God wants him as king. Why?
Samuel summons the people of Israel to Mizpah. This is the place where the children of Israel first joined Samuel in a revival that consisted of rejection of idolatry and provided a great defeat for the Philistines who thought that they had them cornered there. (See Chapter 7). The people meet Samuel and Samuel tells them that God, in His grace is giving them a king and they are going to draw by lot. First they choose by tribe, then b y clan, and eventually, Saul is chosen… but, where is Saul? He is nowhere to be found, and the Lord reveals to them that Saul is hiding in the baggage.
Another thing to make us ask WHY? Why was Saul hiding when he should have been pleased to step out onto the platform and receive the crown? Is this humility?
This is a clear example of Saul’s main problem-- he is driven by his emotions. In this case (and several others) FEAR is the issue. He is afraid. Why should Saul be afraid of being King? It would seem to be a nice position, don’t you think?
First, as King he would be required to lead the people into battle. Saul was not prepared to fight-- yet! The calling of God is not enough for Saul to overcome his fear. The miracles that Samuel has shown him to demonstrate that GOD is the one calling him to serve have not overcome his fear. Saul has allowed fear to rule over him. This becomes a pattern in Saul’s life. Where was he when Goliath came and challenged him? In his tent-- shaking in his sandals.
Second, he knew that if Israel chose a king that the newly chosen leader would certainly anger the Philistines who were seeking to rule over Israel. His promotion to king would certainly start a new campaign of Philistine raids and the Philistines would consider this a provocation to war. He might even be the target of paid assassins.
Samuel spends some time explaining rules for a king. Where did these rules come from? Surprise! Even before a king came along, God provided rules and regulations for the kingship.
While one group shouted long live the king, Saul’s lack of boldness-- no- his fear caused one group of people to sit back and not respect Saul. Who were these men? They are called the the worthless sons of belial (a term for ne’er-do-wells in the Old Test)-- the NIV calls them “troublemakers”-- I think “rebels” is a better term.
The Hebrew word 'Belial' means literally 'without a yoke' or in other words 'without something above you', in the sense of authority. It is an expression that is used to describe something that is completely useless, Why are they useless? Because they have rejected all authority. Even though we know, via hindsight, that Saul was a poor king, he was the man God chose and he had the opportunity to truly serve God.. but he kept giving in to his emotions.
These trouble-making rebels wouldn’t have respected anybody as king. They were in the habit of rejecting authority. They did not bring gifts. They offered criticism that was not constructive or helpful. The problem with being a rebel like these men is that they missed out on being a part of what God was doing.