Monday, May 23, 2011

getting what you want

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!"
1 Samuel 10:24

Although this was a new and joyous celebration in Israel, it was not necessarily a good thing. Israel has rejected God in favor of a human king to govern them (1 Samuel 10:18-19). God makes it clear through Samuel that this new king, Saul, though God's "choice" would be less than an ideal leader. Part of me wonders if these words made Saul so shy about the kingship. When his name is chosen in the convocation, he is so reluctant to come forward that they find him hiding "among the baggage" (1 Samuel 10:22).

The early account of Saul is interesting. He has a strong commitment to family when he meets Samuel and is anointed king. Once anointed by the priest/prophet, he does not tell anyone. He even hides the fact from his own family. And once he is brought before the nation, he is again quite shy. He is received enthusiastically, yet even at the end of the chapter, we are aware that there is already a coalition of "worthless fellows" who doubt his ability to lead the nation.

I believe the story told here is so full of contrast because of the warning that God gave to the nation. He told them that a king would be a burden to them, as well as a leader. He told them that the establishment of a monarchy at this time was a direct rejection of God as their true King. And yet the people persisted. Eventually God would give them what they wanted, and Saul, the ambivalent Benjamite would be their king. Getting what we want is not always a great thing, as evidenced in this story.

- Prepare your minds for action.
1 Peter 1:13

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