The rise and fall of King Saul – part 2 (1 Sam 9-15)

Today is part two of a three-part look at the rise and fall of King Saul. If you’re joining us now, you’d be best starting with yesterday’s post. Because we left Saul, the reluctant king, victorious in war against the Ammonites; and the people of Israel being graciously given a second chance by God, despite their choosing a human king over God.

The next scene is pivotal (Read 1 Sam 13, or follow the highlights below). The Israelite army assembles at Gilgal to offer a sacrifice. They want to do this in order to gain God’s favour before they went out to battle the Philistines. Verse 7 tells us that the men were ‘quaking in fear’ at the Philistines,  so they needed reassurance that God would be with them:

13:7b Saul remained at Gilgal, and all the troops with him were quaking with fear.

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The rise and fall of King Saul – part 1 (1 Sam 9-15)

Having spent three days looking at 1 Samuel 8 (on how Israel wanted a king like the nations around them), we’ll speed up a bit as we see how having a king like the nations around played out in the life of Saul. You can read all of 1 Sam 9-12 if you like, or follow my edited highlights, below.

In chapter 9 we’re introduced to a man named Kish, who had a son, who was Israel’s future king. He just didn’t know it yet:

9:2 He had a son named Saul, an impressive young man without equal among the Israelites—a head taller than any of the others.

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A king like the nations – part 3 (1 Sam 8)

The desire to be like everyone else will enslave us, but God will let it if that’s what we really want.

That’s what we’ve learned so far in 1 Samuel 8. Israel wanted a king like the nations around her, despite God’s warning that it would enslave them. But as we saw in Solomon’s lifetime (1 Kings 4, 10), that’s what happened. God had something far better on offer – himself as their king – but Israel chose to be like the other nations instead.

In our final look at this chapter, we look at the final part of the sentence: God will let it enslave us, if that’s what we really want.

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A king like the nations – part 2 (1 Sam 8)

Yesterday, we began a series in 1 Samuel. We saw that our three day journey through 1 Sam 8 can be summarised in one sentence: The desire to be like everyone else will enslave us, but God will let it if that’s what we really want.

Yesterday we looked at the first part of this sentence, starting with Israel’s desire for a king like all the other nations had. It was a slap in the face to God’s kingship, and tragic, since they had something far better on offer than a human king like everyone else. But Israel, like we often are, was ruled by her desire to be like everyone else.

Today, we look at how that desire can enslave us.

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A king like the nations – part 1 (1 Sam 8)

Today, we begin a new series through 1 Samuel 8-17, looking at the beginning of the monarchy in Israel: the rise and fall of Saul, and the start of David’s ascendancy. Although it may seem like a world far removed from our own, you might be surprised at some of the similarities. C.S. Lewis’s incisive comment on the human condition is as applicable now as it was in his day, and even back in ancient Israel:

‘We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in the slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at  the sea. We are far too easily pleased.’

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