The People’s Choice

From the Hebron Herald. 924 BC
(a fictitious article based on the Biblical accounts of Saul’s life)

King Saul and his armor bearer were just two of the many fatalities found after the Philistines clinched their victory over the Israelites today.  Both were found impaled on their own swords like pieces of barbecue meat ready for the grill.  Obviously both deaths were suicides prompted by the Philistine victory.  Rather than being taken by the enemy or trusting the Lord with their dire circumstances, they fell on their own swords.  This death brings an ignominious end to Saul who began his reign as the popular choice of the people of Israel.  The Hebron Herald asked a couple of men most familiar with Saul’s reign to discuss his accomplishments.

Nanub, interviewed today after the battle, recalled Saul’s beginning.  “We had such high hopes for him.  He was our first king.  His stature was so impressive!  We, the Israelite people, had pleaded with the Lord to give us a human king.  Up to that time, the Lord had been our leader, but we felt safer with a human king since all the surrounding kingdoms had one.  The Lord tried to discourage us from such a choice, but the people’s wishes prevailed, and Samuel, the prophet, relented.  Saul was anointed king.”

“The trouble began at the battle of  Gilgal (I Samuel 13) several years ago,” continued Azar, a soldier in the Israeli army.  “Saul was afraid of the Philistines when the prophet, Samuel, was late in arriving to perform the sacrifice.  So Saul performed the sacrifice himself in direct contradiction to the Lord’s Word.”

“Another time Saul was told by the Lord to completely destroy Amalek.  ( I Samuel 15)  God gave victory, but rather than destroy the Amalek and their possessions, the Israelite people wanted to keep some of the best sheep for themselves.  Saul wanted the good will of the people so he let the people keep some of the spoils of the battle.  When Samuel came on the scene, there was the Devil to pay.  The prophet was furious.  Saul tried to convince Samuel that the remaining sheep were for the sacrifices to the Lord, but Samuel didn’t buy it. ”

“I remember that well.  Not long after that Samuel anointed David to be Saul’s successor.  It was plain to see the Lord’s blessing had departed from Saul and was now on David from the time that David beheaded Goliath ( I Samuel 16) to the time that he retook the spoils from the battle at Ziklag (I Samuel 30).  It is clear that any man who has the Lord on his side is going to be a formidable enemy.  When God’s blessing left Saul, his goose was cooked.  It just took a while to play out.  The end surely came today to the so-called “People’s Choice!”


God’s Choice


Based on I Samuel 16 and I Chronicles 2:9-15

Samuel looked at the line-up of six young men standing before him.  God had assured him that one of these young men, the sons of Jesse, would be the next king of Israel.  In fact, Samuel was on a secret mission this very day to anoint one of these young men.  He had come to Bethlehem on the ruse of offering a sacrifice to God so that the present king, Saul, would not be aware of his real purpose there–that of selecting Saul’s successor.

“Well, might as well get on with it before Saul or one of his henchmen comes on the scene.”  Samuel looked carefully at Eliab, Jesse’s oldest.  He was tall and carried himself well, like the captain of an army.  He seemed confident and self-assured.  His name, Eliab, meant “God is my father.”  Surely, there were many things to commend this candidate for king.  Still Samuel hesitated.  He did not feel a quickening of his spirit that would indicate that Eliab was God’s choice.  So he moved on.

The second oldest son was Abinadab, (Father of Nobleness). “That is a fine name,” Samuel murmured under his breath.  Abinadab had an aloof carriage of his head as if he was better than others and he knew it.  Certainly he had excelled academically, and so he had much to commend him. However, He did not seem to be God’s choice either.

Shammah was the third son.  His name meant “appalling destruction.”   He stood head down and shame-faced causing Samuel to move quickly to the fourth son.

Nathanel’s name meant “God has Given!”  Good name, thought Samuel. Nathanel seemed especially athletically fit.  Still Samuel had not heard God’s voice in the matter.

Raddai, son number five’s name meant “Go Down” a bad omen for a future king.

Ozem, son number six, had a name that meant “To be angry.”  Hmm!  thought Samuel.  A king should be level-headed in a time of crisis, not disposed to anger.  He noticed that Ozem’s face flushed with rage when Samuel passed him by.

Samuel looked to Jesse.  “Are these all your boys?  Don’t you have any others.  None of these seem to be God’s choice.”

Jesse replied, “There is one more.  He is out taking care of the sheep.”

“Bring him in,” directed Samuel as Nathanel ran to get David.

Within the hour, David had his turn at standing before the aged prophet.  Several of the older brothers sneered when David was brought from the fields. They knew that their talents and abilities far exceeded those of David.  Surely David had NO chance to be selected to be king.

Samuel looked intently at David as he had at all the other sons. This young man had already been out on his own with the sheep. He had bravely faced life-threatening dangers.  He had experienced first hand, the victory that only God can give.  He had learned to trust, not in his own strength, intelligence, or cunning, but in the Lord’s strength and cunning working through him.

God enabled Samuel to see in the spirit the hours that David had spent worshiping God, playing on his harp, and writing worship and praise psalms.  David’s name meant “Beloved!”  Instantly Samuel knew that David was God’s choice because he had developed a love-relationship with the Lord.

“Bring the anointing oil,” he exclaimed!  “Let’s get on with this!”  And to his astonished audience including the six brothers, he explained.  “People look at the outward appearance, but God looks at the heart.”  Then he poured the anointing oil on David’s head.

“The Lord has sought for Himself a man after His own heart and apppointed him ruler of his people.” I Samuel 13:14

“Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord Almighty.”  Zechariah 4:6 NIV




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