What does it say?
From the tribe of Benjamin Saul is chosen to be the first king over a united Israel (1Sam 9). This is perhaps the first time since Joshua that the nation has been united. Saul is anointed first in a private ceremony and then publically (1Sam 10).
The first challenge to Saul’s reign is the Ammonites. Saul leads Israel to defeat them decisively and the people are energized in their support of their new king (1Sam 11). Saul’s kingdom begins well.
Samuel is well advanced in years and gathers the people together to warn them of the dangers of following man instead of God (1Sam 12). He reminds them of the true mission and exhorts them to follow God and serve him wholeheartedly.
What does it mean?
To choose a king for Israel was a good political and social move. Spiritually, it was a step in the wrong direction. God was to be the Ruler of Israel. God has a monarchy in mind and David was the man that was in God’s heart to become king that would begin the monarchy that would lead to Jesus Christ. The people are running ahead of God.
Samuel never felt good about the monarchy and his speech to the nation is one that urges them to remember why God chose them to be his people. It was not to have a king and live the good life; it was to be blessed by God to be a blessing to all the families of the earth. He warns them of the consequences of disobedience and promises to pray for them.
How will I respond?
Am I running ahead of God in some area of my life? Is there something I so desperately want that I have impatiently tried to bring it to pass in my own strength alone?
Have I forgotten God’s mission? Am I purely focused on my comfort and benefit alone? I too, am blessed to be a blessing. What does that look like for me? Can I think of an individual or two in close proximity to me that God might want to bless through me? Will I pray for them right now?