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  • Joseph Durso

Saul: The Judas King - Part One, A Matter of Perspective

In my last article, we saw that Israel rejected God as being king over them when they chose to have a man rule over them in His place. The first king selected to rule over Israel was Saul.

Concerning Saul, the Bible says, A choice and handsome man, and there was not a more handsome person than he among the sons of Israel; from his shoulders and up, he was taller than any of the people." (1 Samuel 9:2) There is a perspective based upon appearance, Saul looked good outwardly, but time revealed that Saul was not what he appeared to be.

"Am I not a Benjamite, of the smallest of the tribes of Israel, and my family the least of all the families of the tribe of Benjamin? Why then, do you speak to me in this way?" (1 Samuel 9:19) A statement like Saul made would make anyone think to themself, what a humble man.

Twice a description is given to us about Saul's appearance in chapters nine and ten. In chapter ten, Samuel said to the people, "Do you see him whom the LORD has chosen? Surely there is no one like him among all the people." Then we are given the response of the people. "So 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. So all the people shouted and said, "Long live the king!"

A discerning man does not judge by outward appearance but by the fruit that a man produces through the choices he makes. When God chose David to be king, he paraded all his brothers before Samuel first; then, God taught a great prophet in Israel a vital reality. "Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart." (1 Samuel 16:7) The real Saul was the son of a mighty man of valor, but in the setting of chapter ten, he was found hiding among the baggage.

An exciting twist took place after his anointing, by which a discerning man will not be confused. A prophecy was given concerning Saul, that he would become a different man. God's prophecies always come true, but what kind of a man would Saul become? "Then it happened when he turned his back to leave Samuel, God changed his heart; and all those signs came about on that day. When they came to the hill there, behold, a group of prophets met him; and the Spirit of God came upon him mightily, so that he prophesied among them. It came about when all who knew him previously saw that he prophesied now with the prophets, that the people said to one another, "What has happened to the son of Kish? Is Saul also among the prophets?" (1 Samuel 10: 6, 9, 10)

In his first letter, John tells us that many false prophets have gone out and into the world. A wise man knows how to judge the false from the true. On the day Saul became king, the Bible says, "But certain worthless men said, "How can this one deliver us?" And they despised him and did not bring him any presents. But he kept silent." (1 Sam 10:27)

The question they raised is two-fold. First, how could a man like Saul deliver Israel? They probably viewed Saul as a coward because he was hiding by the baggage. Second, their statement was, "How can this one..." meaning how one man can deliver a nation from an invading army? Even a worthless man can impart wisdom sometimes. Look up, Balaam!

Some will say to me, but God changed His heart. His heart was changed, but the same sun that softens the wax hardens the clay. God made Saul prophesy, just as He imparted anger, but what did Saul do with the prophecy and the anger? Did Saul know God or merely prophetic truths? Many a person goes to hell from the pew and even the pulpit. Many are called, but few chosen, Jesus said. Broad is the way that leads to destruction, Jesus said, and it is labeled, this way to heaven.

The Ammonites threatened Israel, and Saul became angry, then the Spirit of God came upon him, and he threatened Israel into action. Never do we read of David threatening his men, but they voluntarily offered their lives to get him a drink of water. God gave Israel victory over the Ammonites. Then we read of a response by the people, "Who is he that said, 'Shall Saul reign over us?' Bring the men that we may put them to death." But Saul said, "Not a man shall be put to death this day, for today the LORD has accomplished deliverance in Israel ...and there Saul and all the men of Israel rejoiced greatly." (1 Samuel 11:12-13, 15)

So why were all the people rejoicing greatly? Was it because there was no king in Israel other than God Himself? No! Had God chosen a man that should have aroused questions in the minds of discerning people? Yes! When we consider these questions, the people's rejoicing was premature. Furthermore, they were rejoicing over something that should have made them weep.

Lessons to Consider

  1. Jesus said I will build My Church; therefore, leadership is never meant to replace God (Jesus) as head of the Church. Things are either done according to scripture and not assumed because leaders appear to be trustworthy, but as good Barean's because all are responsible for searching the word, they are given a voice.

  2. What was true of Israel is also true of some Churches today. Leaders are chosen based upon all kinds of external qualifications without correctly discerning godliness.

  3. Coercing people by fear-mongering is true of leadership globally, but it should never happen in the Church.

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