Choosing a Leader

KEY VERSE: “Samuel said to all the people, See ye him whom the LORD hath chosen, that there is none like him among all the people? And all the people shouted, and said, God save the king.” —I Samuel 10:24


SAMUEL’S JUDGESHIP WAS terminated before his death by the demand of the Israelites that they have a king to rule over them. While, in reality, the nation, in making this demand, had rejected both Samuel and the Lord, the people did not go so far in their rebellion as to select and anoint their own king. Superficially, at least, they looked to the Lord and to Samuel to cooperate in their demand. “The Lord said to Samuel, Hearken unto their voice, and make them a king”—I Sam. 8:22

Saul was presented to the people as king. When it became known that this son of a Benjamite family was the Lord’s choice for king, he was nowhere to be found. “Therefore they inquired of the Lord further, if the man should yet come thither. And the Lord answered, Behold, he hath hid himself among the stuff.” (vs. 22) The fact that Saul kept out of sight on such an important occasion suggests that he felt insufficient for the task assigned to him. However, since the Spirit of God had come upon him, and he had received various evidences of God’s direction in his choice, it may be that his hiding revealed a lack of faith in God and in the Lord’s ability to help him.

The people showed no hesitancy. Presenting Saul to them as their king, Samuel spoke the words: “See ye him whom the Lord hath chosen, that there is none like him among all the people? And all the people shouted, and said, God save the king.” Then “Samuel sent all the people away, every man to his house. And Saul also went home to Gibeah; and there went with him a band of men, whose hearts God had touched.”—vss. 25,26

Saul was a humble man, but the Scriptures reveal that when he began to assert himself as king he became proud and defiant of God’s instructions. Throughout the ages, many who have begun humbly in the service of the Lord have similarly been affected by a measure of prominence with which they may have been favored by the Lord. Such pride of heart manifests itself in various ways and not infrequently by a tendency to be overcritical of others, and by assuming superior judgment in matters pertaining to the service of the Lord and his people. Saul thought that his way of serving God was superior to Samuel’s.

Samuel said to him: “Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the Word of the Lord, he hath also rejected thee from being king.”—vss. 22,23

By way of contrast in this episode, we discover the real stature of Samuel as a servant and prophet of the Lord. He had yielded obediently to the instruction of God to anoint a king over Israel, knowing that their demand for a king was a rejection of God and of himself as a representative of the Lord. Then he presented himself to the people and asked them to bear witness if he had at any time in his lifetime of service to the nation, ever defrauded or oppressed them in any way. They replied, “Thou hast not defrauded us, nor oppressed us, neither hast thou taken ought of any man’s hand.”—I Sam. 12:4

Dawn Bible Students Association
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