READ: I Samuel 11 and 12
BACKGROUND: Saul’s first act as the newly anointed king proves God’s power is with him. Saul acts quickly and powerfully, completely decimating the Ammonites who had besieged Jabesh Gilead. In this beginning stage of Saul’s reign, he is humble, teachable, and obedient. God’s Spirit indwells Saul and the result, on both a personal and national level, is success.
I Samuel 11: 1 – The Ammonites were descendants of Lot and his daughter (ick!)
11:2 – Without their right eyes, the Israelites would be powerless in combat.
11:6 – God’s power is with Saul and the Ammonites are decimated!
11:12 – Hey, who said Saul wasn’t fit to be a king? Not me….not me!
11:13 – Saul gives GOD all the credit for the victory!
12 – This chapter is Samuel’s farewell speech to Israel; Saul will now rule. Samuel gives a great history lesson reminding Israel of all God has done for his people! He reminds Israel to fear the LORD, to serve him faithfully, and to remember all that GOD has done!
THINK: Perhaps you’ve had the opportunity to see the movie Argo, the true story of the 1980 American hostage crisis in Iran and the dramatic rescue of six US diplomats. The incredibly courageous actions of CIA agent Tony Mendez saved the diplomats’ lives, but Mendez mission was top secret! No hero’s welcome awaited Mendez, no headlines, no fanfare. While newspaper and television programs across the world ran the story, Mendez sat silently on the sidelines. Not until the mission was declassified years later, was his part in the story revealed.
Like the hostages in Iran, the people of Jabesh Gilead needed help! They sent an SOS message, but had no idea if help would come….they were a desperate people about to be either annihilated or enslaved by their enemies. When King Saul and the troops broke into camp and began slaughtering the enemy, the captives were surely ecstatic with joy and relief. Those who formerly doubted the young king’s ability were now his biggest fans, “Who were those doubters, anyway?” King Saul is showered with praise!
How easy it would have been for Saul to bask in the glory, to gloat, to brag, to enjoy the moment. But a Spirit-filled Saul does nothing of the sort. Instead, he points these people right back to the true King – the King of Kings: “No one shall be put to death today, for this day the LORD rescued Israel!”
ASK: When things go really well for us, do we want to take the credit? Do we crave the admiration of others? King Saul got it right when he gave God all the glory – and so will we! Remember: I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me……and I can do nothing without him!
Written By: Deb Howard