1 Samuel 9:9
(Formerly in Israel, a man on his way to inquire of God would say, "Come, let us go to the seer," for the prophet of today was formerly called the seer.)
Sermons
A Choice Young ManWayland Hoyt.1 Samuel 9:9
Men of Great StatureRaymond's Lincoln.1 Samuel 9:9
PerplexityB. Dale 1 Samuel 9:9
Saul: a ShipwreckA. Whyte, D. D.1 Samuel 9:9
The Choice Young ManF. A. Forrest, M. A.1 Samuel 9:9
The Choice Young ManPhillip Brooks.1 Samuel 9:9
The Ruin of a Choice Young ManW. Williams.1 Samuel 9:9
The King Desired by the PeopleB. Dale 1 Samuel 9:1-25
Saul Among the ProphetsJ. Parker, D. D.1 Samuel 9:6-10
Saul Brought to SamuelW. G. Blaikie, D. D.1 Samuel 9:6-10
1 Samuel 9:9. (RAMAH.)
Peradventure he can show us our way. Here is a picture of a young man perplexed about his way. Consider -

I. THE OBJECT OF HIS PERPLEXITY. It is a common thing for a young man to be uncertain and anxious with reference to -

1. The ordinary business of life. He knows not, it may be, the particular vocation for which he is most fitted, or which affords the best prospect of success. Leaving his father's house,

"The world is all before him, where to choose
His place of rest, and Providence his guide."

But he is doubtful whither to direct his steps. He meets with disappointment in his endeavours. "The bread is spent" (ver. 7), and he has no money in his purse. Under such circumstances many a one has first awoke to a sense of his dependence on God, and his need of his guidance, or has sought him with a fervour he has never displayed before. His loneliness and distress have been the occasion of spiritual thought and high resolve (Genesis 28:16, 20; Luke 15:18).

2. The chief purpose of life. As each vocation has its proper end, so has life generally. It is something higher than the finding of strayed asses, the recovery of lost property, or "buying and selling and getting gain." Even the dullest soul has often a feeling that it was made for a nobler end than the gratification of bodily appetites, or the supply of earthly needs. But "what is the chief end of man?" Alas, how many know not what it is, nor the means of attaining it; miss their way, and wander on "in endless mazes lost!"

3. The true Guide of life. Who shall tell thee "all that is in thine heart" (ver. 19) - declare its aspirations, and direct them to their goal? Where is he to be found, and by what means may his favour be obtained? Books and teachers abound, and to them the young man naturally turns for instruction; but how often do they leave him in greater perplexity than ever. "Where shall wisdom be found?" (Job 28:12). "To whom should we go?" "We must wait patiently [said Socrates] until some one, either a god or some inspired man, teach us our moral and religious duties, and, as Pallas in Homer did to Diomede, remove the darkness from our eyes" (Plato). "I know that Messias cometh, which is called Christ: when he is come, he will tell us all things" (John 4:25). "Sir, we would see Jesus" (John 12:21).

II. THE METHOD OF HIS PROCEDURE. The course which it behoves him to take is that of -

1. Diligent inquiry concerning the object of his desire. It exists, and a firm belief in its existence is the first condition of such inquiry. There may be healthy doubt about its nature, but absolute scepticism is destruction. Inquiry is the way to truth. It must be pursued with quenchless zeal and ceaseless perseverance. And if so pursued it will not be vain (Proverbs 2:4, 5).

2. Ready reception of light, from whatever quarter it may come. Truth often comes from unexpected sources. The true inquirer is reverent and humble, and willing to receive information from the most despised (vers. 10, 11).

"Seize upon truth, where'er tis found,
Amongst your friends, amongst your foes,
On Christian or on heathen ground;
The flower's Divine, where'er it grows."

3. Faithfully acting up to the light he possesses. "Well said; come, let us go." Inquiry alone is insufficient. The duty that lies plainly and immediately before us must be performed.

III. THE SUCCESS OF HIS ENDEAVOUR.

1. He is brought face to face with the best Guide. "I am the seer" (ver. 19). The best service that men and books, including the Scriptures themselves (John 5:39, 40), can render is to bring us into direct communion with the Prophet of Nazareth, "the Way, the Truth, and the Life." Our perplexity ends only when he manifests himself to us and says, "I that speak unto thee am he." "Master, where dwellest thou? Come and see" (John 1:38).

"And what delights can equal those
That stir the spirit's inner deeps,
When one that loves, but knows not, reaps
A truth from one that loves and knows?"


(Tennyson)

2. He rises into a higher region of thought and feeling, and receives all the direction that he really needs. His anxiety about earthly affairs is relieved (Matthew 6:32). The true purpose of life is shown him (Matthew 6:33). He has "an unction from the Holy One, and knows all things" (1 John 2:20). He is "turned into another man," and "God is with him" (1 Samuel 10:6, 7).

3. He attains great honour and power. Saul is not the only one who has gone forth in the performance of lowly duty and found a kingdom, or to whom a temporary loss has been an occasion of permanent and invaluable gain. "Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life." - D. (A SACRAMENTAL ADDRESS.)







Saul, a choice young man.
1. The first thing to notice about young Saul is his fine physique. Do not despise a fine physique. Plato calls it "a privilege of nature"; Homer, "a glorious gift of the Deity"; and Ovid, "a favour bestowed by the gods." Has it never struck you how frequently the sacred writers allude to this quality? It would be easy to find a score of Bible characters who are spoken of as "comely," or "goodly," or of "great beauty." In comparison to the soul the body is not of great account; but still it must not be treated with neglect. The soul's lodgment should be kept in the best and most beautiful condition. "It is a great mistake," says Cobbet, in his essays to young men, "to suppose that you derive any advantage from exterior decoration. Though with the foolish and vain part of women fine clothes frequently do something; yet the greater part of the sex are much too penetrating to draw their conclusions solely from the outside shew of a man. They look deeper, and find other criteria whereby to judge." The piece is not very classical; but, as expressing the common feeling of the best part of women towards the dandy or coxcomb, I believe it is almost perfection. Physical beauty alone is a poor thing. Talleyrand said of a lovely woman that "beauty was her least charm." An intelligent mind and a kindly heart are as necessary almost to make a face truly beautiful as form and complexion. Physical beauty is often seen apart from spiritual beauty — "a gold ring in a swine's snout."

2. The second thing to notice about young Saul is his filial piety, There is no duty more plainly or strongly enforced in the Scriptures than the duty of obeying parents. And with it are associated the highest rewards and the severest punishments; and these rewards and punishments pertain not only to the future, but to the present life. The late William E. Forster, while still a youth, was ambitious of a political career. His own notion was to study for the law, as the likeliest means by which a poor man's son could enter Parliament. But his father insisted on his going into business. And the son did as his father wished without demur, although not without keen disappointment and pain. He fancied that his chances of Parliament were at an end. In this connection his biographer says: "The boy acted invariably in such a manner as to prove that the reverential regard he professed for his father was really felt, and that he was at all times ready to submit his own inclinations to meet the wishes of the latter." Did William Forster suffer ultimately by his filial submission? Most people will say that the father was wrong, and that his action was fitted to thwart the hopes of his boy. And that is true. But Forster, by his filial honour, had secured the interposition and influence of Heaven on his behalf. And so, unlikely as it looked, he got into Parliament, and made a name for himself there by noble and valuable services to his country — a name which will not soon be dropped from our nation's story. We must not omit to notice here additionally the affectionate consideration young Saul had for his father.

3. The third thing to notice about young Saul is his modest disposition. It is told of an old Scotch weaver that he was wont to pray every morning that the Lord would give him "a guid opeenion o' himsel'." I cannot conceive a less needed petition. The great fault with people nowadays is that they have too good an opinion of themselves — see themselves bigger and better a great deal than the reality. While pride makes men ridiculous, humility commands admiration and love. Sir Joshua Reynolds was never satisfied with his work. He said once to a friend, who was praising his pictures very highly: "Sketches, sketches, only sketches!" When George Washington rose to reply to an eloquent and flattering speech, expressive of the thanks of his country for his services in the French and Indian Wars, he blushed, stammered, and then sat down in utter confusion, drawing from the speaker the further compliment that his modesty was equal to his valour. Virgil, the "Prince of Latin Poets," could not bear to be stared at in the street: and would sometimes seek shelter in shops from the demonstrations of his admirers. But modesty may degenerate into a vice. Men suffer, and the world suffers, by an excess of modesty. Milton attributes to the just and pious honouring of ourselves every laudable endeavour and worthy achievement. And so said to his pupil: "Reverence thyself." I would rather have a man over-estimate than underestimate his powers. While the first mistake may stimulate small talents to the performance of great deeds, the last may prevent great talents from achieving half their possibilities. We are familiar with the grumblings of (so-called) "modest merit." It complains of neglect and unfair treatment. Nincompoops and nobodies are getting on, and even loaded with rewards and honours, while it is left without notice and without pay. But well has Washington Irving said of these complaints: "They are often the cant by which indolent and irresolute men seek to lay their want of success at the door of the public. Modest merit is too apt to be inactive, or negligent, or uninstructed merit. Well-matured and well-disciplined talent is always sure of a market, provided it exerts itself; but it must not cower at home, and expect to be sought for."

4. The fourth thing to notice about young Saul is his independent and generous spirit. In search of the asses, he came near to the town where resided the prophet Samuel. The servant suggested to him that he should consult the seer about the strayed herd. The idea was good — capital — here was a way out of his difficulty. "But," said Saul, "behold, if we go, what shall we bring the man? for the bread is spent in our vessels, and there is not a present to bring to the man of God: what have we?" Saul was a gentleman! Do not say that this was an Eastern custom. It was, and the plate at the church door is a Western custom. But Saul might have neglected the custom, as some among us — I do not say in this audience — may neglect the plate. He respected the religion of his fathers. To all outward seeming he walked in the commandments of Jehovah. God complains through Samuel, at a later stage of the king's history, that he had turned back from following Him, so that at one time Samuel had evidently been controlled, at least to some extent, by the Divine Will. But there was no depth in his religion. It was a superficial growth — its roots did not go down into the heart. And so the disappointment of his later history. Giving so much promise at the start, his life closed in midnight blackness and horror.

(F. A. Forrest, M. A.)

Let us ask ourselves what are the characteristics of the choice young man. The "choice" of anything signifies the best example of that thing. The word involves the idea not of exceptionalness but of representativeness. The choice fruit of the tree is the tree's best fruit; it is that in which the tree's juices have had their most unhindered way, and made the best which that tree was capable of making. The choice work of art is the freest embodiment of the artistic spirit, the thing in which beautiful thought and beautiful work and beautiful material have done their best. The choice man is the best specimen of humanity, the human being in whom there is least that is inhuman or unhuman, and in whom the truly human qualities are most complete. So is it with the choice young man. He is the true young man. The great point of the phrase is this — that it denotes not an exception but a true condition of human life. When, however, we go on to ask, beyond this generous consciousness of admiration, what it is which we admire in young manhood, our answer must be found, I think, in the way in which the true human life always begins with its circumference, as it were, complete, and then fills in its space with its details. It might have been just the opposite. Life might have been made to begin with some one point and slowly widen out from that point until its completeness were attained. As it is, it leaps at once to this completeness of itself; it is exuberant at the beginning; it does not distrust the world and only gradually learn that the world is worthy of its trust; it trusts the world outright, and lets all stingy questionings come afterward. Life seems so good that it is satisfied with its own normal exercises and emotions, and does not seek additions in artificial stimulants. Now here is a distinct quality in human youth, belonging to a distinct truth concerning the life of man. If it is so, then we have reached our first idea about the choice young man. In him this quality of human youth will be most bright and clear He will be most possessed with the sense of the sufficiency of life, and most eager to preserve its purity because of the completeness which he feels in it. This is the true motive of the best young man's desire for purity. It is not fear. Life, the true life, the choice life, begins upon the mountains. As the morning mists scatter, it sees the gulfs it did not see at first; but it has no natural necessity to plunge into them when they are seen. And the true power of its continence is not the horror of the gulf, but the abundance and glory of the pure hill top where the young feet stand. All this does not apply only to those things which are absolutely and manifestly vicious, to wanton licentiousness add reckless sin; it applies to all the accidents of life. It is a bad sight for the eyes to see when a young man has come prematurely into the power of those accidents, when he cannot find life abundant without what we call the "comforts of life," even those which have no vicious element about them. What business has the young vigour of twenty to demand that the fire shall be warm and the seat cushioned and the road smooth? Let him not parade his incompetence for life by insisting that life is not worth living unless a man is rich — unless, that is. the abundance of life should be eked out with wealth, which is an accident of life, not of its essence. Sad is it when a community grows more and more to abound in young men who worship wealth and think they cannot live without luxury and physical comfort. The choicest of its strength is gone. The same principle, that life in the young man should be abundant in itself, would find still broader application in every relation of human action. It would bring simplicity and healthiness in every standard. It would rule out and cast aside as impertinent and offensive all that was artificial and untrue. How clear it makes the whole question of the way in which money is to be gained or given! And so it brings us at once to another practical question of young men's life. Money to the simple healthy human sense is but the representative of energy and power. It is to pass from man to man only as the symbol of some exertion, some worthy outputting of strength and life. In social life, in club, in college, on the street, the willingness of young men to give or to receive money on the mere turn of chance is a token of the decay of manliness and self-respect which is more alarming than almost anything besides. It has an inherent baseness about it which not to feel shows a base soul. To carry in your pocket money which has become yours by no use of your manly powers, which has ceased to be another man's by no willing acceptance on his part of its equivalent — that is a degrading thing. Will it not burn the purse in which you hold it? Will it not blight the luxury for which you spend it? So I rank high among the signs of a choice human youth the clearness of sight and the healthiness of soul which make a man refuse to have anything to do with the transference of property by chance, which make him hate and despise betting and gambling under their most approved and fashionable and accepted forms. Plentiful as those vices are among us, they still in some degree have the grace to recognise their own disgracefulness by the way in which they conceal themselves. It is an awful hour when the first necessity of hiding anything comes. The whole life is different thenceforth. When there are questions to be feared and eyes to be avoided and subjects which must not be touched, then the bloom of life is gone. Put off that day as long as possible. It is no drawback from the truth or power of all this that it involves the appeal to sentiment, for the presence and the power of healthy sentiment is another token of the choice young humanity. Sentiment is the finest essence of the human life. It is, like all the finest things, the easiest to spoil. It bears testimony of itself that it is finer than judgment, because a thousand times when judgment is all clear and right, sentiment is tainted and all wrong. And hosts of men, feeling the mysterious dangers which beset sentiment, would fain banish it altogether. They do not know how to use it, and so they will not try. It is explosive and dangerous, and so it shall be watched and made contraband, like dynamite. How many men do you know who can frankly look you in the face and say a piece of sentiment, and make it seem perfectly real and true, and not make either you or themselves, or both, feel silly and embarrassed by their saying it? Now if men must come to that, the longer it can be before they come to it the better! Let the sentiments have their true, unquestioned power in the young man's life. Let him glow with admiration, let him burn with indignation, let him believe with intensity, let him trust unquestioningly, let him sympathise with all his soul. The hard young man is the most terrible of all. Do you remember the simpler, nobler story of the young Christ? "When He came near He beheld the city, and wept ever it." Tell me what becomes of the hard young man, proud of his unsensitiveness, even pretending to be more unsensitive than he is, incapable of enthusiasm, incapable of tears; what becomes of him beside the knightliness of a sorrow such as that? The little child is sensitive without a thought of effort. The old man often feels the joy and pain of men as if the long years had made it his own. But, in between, the young man is hardened by self-absorption. Be sure that there is no true escape from softness in making yourself hard. It is like freezing your arm to keep it from decay. Only by filling it with blood and giving it the true flexibility of health, so only is it to be preserved from the corruption which you fear. Be not afraid of sentiment, but only of untruth. Trust your sentiments, and so be a man. It would be strange indeed if our first truth did not apply to the whole methods of thought as well as to the actions and the feelings. That truth was, you remember, that youth began with the large circumference, and then filled in the circle gradually with the details of living. It does not start with the small detail, and only gradually build out to the large idea. Now, what will that truth mean as we apply it to the intellectual life? Will it not mean that the choicer a young mind is the more immediately it will begin with the perception of great truths, which then its thought and study and experience will fill out and confirm? It is the place and privilege of the young man to know immediately that God is good, that the world is hopeful, that spirit is real. These great ideas are his ideas. He does not prove God's existence, building it up out of his own sight of the things God does. He sees God. He. the pure in heart, sees God; and then all his life is occupied in gathering into the substance of the faith which he has won by direct vision, the vividness and definiteness which separate successive experiences of God have to give. Not that your young man will not make a thousand blunders, not that he will not sometimes seem to lose his sight of truth, but that the method of his mental life is right, and so that in the end he must stand clear under a cloudless sky. The world's strength has been built up thus, by young men believing and uttering the truth they saw — the greatest, largest truth — and then their experience filling that truth with solidity until it became a foundation on which yet greater truth might rest. Begin with largeness of thought, and with positiveness of thought. The way in which a man begins to think influences all his thinking to the end of his life. Begin by seeking for what is true, not for what is false, in the thought and belief which you find about you. Scepticism is not merely the disbelief of some propositions. If it were that, there is not one of us but would be a sceptic. It is the habit and the preference of disbelieving. God save us all from that scepticism! God save especially our young men from it, for a sceptical young man is a monstrosity. What shall we say about this whole last matter, the matter of belief, except that the true young man's life, the choice young man's life, is bound to be a life of vision. To see the large things in their largeness — that is his privilege; and there is no privilege which is not a duty too. And now I do not know whether there has come at all out of What I have said anything like a clear image of the choice young man. As I said when I began, I should care little to try to create that image if it were some strange, exceptional creature that I was trying to carve. But it is not that; it is the true young human being, the type and flower of the first vigour of humanity. And these are the qualities which we have seen in him — purity of body, mind, and soul; simple integrity, and a dignity which will not have what is not his, no matter under what specious form of game or wager it has come into his hands; tenderness, sympathy, sentiment — call it what name you will, a soul that is not cynical or cruel; and positive, broad thought and conviction. Do these things, as I name them, blend with one another? Does there stand out as their result a figure recognisable and clear, well-knit and strong, brave, generous, and true, but very little conscious of itself, dimming the love and honour of the human heart. For men do love the type and flower of their own young manhood. Little children and young boys look up to it with touching reverence. Old men look back to it with wistful longing, often with a perplexed wonder how they ever passed themselves through a land which they see now to be so rich and kept so little of its richness. Only once in this sermon have! spoken of Jesus as the specimen of human youth. But He is such a specimen always. And I appeal to all of you who have sympathetically read" the Gospels to say whether you do not feel through all His life of sorrow the subtle, certain presence of this joy of which I speak. It is the ideal joy of life, burning through all the hardest and cruellest circumstances of life, and asserting, in spite of everything, the true condition of the Son of God and the Son of Man. I have spoken of the young man's character and life, and I have seemed to say nothing at all of his religion. Is it because I have forgotten his religion or thought it of small consequence? God forbid! It is because one of the most effectual and convincing ways to reach religion is to make life seem so noble and exacting that it shall itself seem to demand religion with the great cry, "Who is sufficient for these things?" When not yet driven by the stress of sin and sorrow, but exalted by the revelation of what life might be, and eager with the witness of the truth of that revelation which fills his own self-consciousness, the young man looks abroad for help that he may realise it. then he finds Christ. And he finds Christ in the way that belongs to him just then and there, just in the time and place where be is standing. He finds Christ the model and the master. It is the personal Christ that makes the young man's religion. "Behold this Christ standing before me, pointing to the heights of the completed human life, and saying not, 'Go there,' but saying, 'Follow me' — going before us into the land our souls desire!" When religion comes to mean simply following Christ, when the young man gives himself to Christ as his Leader and his Lord, when he prays to Christ with the entire sense that he is laying hold of the perfect strength for the perfect work — then the whole circle is complete. Power and purpose, purpose and power, both are there; and only the eternal growth is needed for the infinite result.

(Phillip Brooks.)

A great writer has said that it is possible for us to be good for nothing in history save as a warning. Saul stands in history as a warning.

I. OBSERVE, THAT PRAYER SHOULD BE SUBMISSIVE. I cannot think the Israelites were wrong in their wish for a king. There is a provision in the Book of Deuteronomy for a king. But mark, they were wrong in demanding a king.

1. So sometimes God listens to and allows the blinded prayers of our hearts, and they turn to curses. "Thine own wickedness shall reprove thee and thy backslidings," etc.; "I gave thee a king in my anger," etc.

2. God sometimes grants in the way of reproof. I have seen parents who prayed: "O, spare my sick child," mourn that their boy ever lived to grow to manhood. The shadow of death receded in answer to that dictating prayer, but a darker shadow took its place. I have heard young men pray" "O Lord, give me success in this life." I have heard them declare: "That success they would have." In pain. beyond expression poignant, they afterward found out that character, made strong and shining with virtues, is better than applause, than power, than riches.

3. Let us rather pray as did our great exampler in Gethsemane. Let us never forget that our blessing is wrapped up in God's will. and not in our own.

II. LET US LEARN THAT DIVINE PROVIDENCES DESCEND TO AND INCLUDE WHAT WE CALL THEIR TRIVIALITIES OF LIFE. Could there be anything more trivial than searching for runaway asses. Yet, on this trivial circumstance swung the door through which Saul passed to his throne. Long before Mohammed's power was settled, when pursued by his enemies, at one time, he pushed back a bough that was before a cave and entered the opening. A moment after a bird lit on the bough As the enemy came up the bird flew away. Said the enemy: "He could not have gone into that cave, or the bird would not have been on that bough," and they passed on, and Mohammed's life was saved. Tell your troubles in God's ear. Don't think them too trivial.

III. LEARN THAT THERE MAY BE A FAIR BEGINNING AND A DARK ENDING. Saul attributed his first great victory to God, and would not allow the needless shedding of blood. But the drawback was, Saul had not given himself to God. There was another Saul who, when smitten down by the blinding light, cried out: "What wilt Thou have me to do?" His life was henceforth a seeming failure. He loses all things, but Saul, the king, has all things — he has his crown. Saul of Tarsus, stripped of all earthly things, awaits his crown. "Henceforth," says he, "there is laid up for me a crown," etc. Saul, the king, lost his crown in death, etc. See the difference. The one gave himself to God, the other did not. Which choice is to be preferred? Which do you make?

(Wayland Hoyt.)

A life of bright promise may prove a life of disastrous failure.

I. THE BRIGHT PROSPECTS OF THIS CHOICE YOUNG MAN.

1. His natural endowments were such as admirably to fit him for the position it was the will of God he was to occupy, so that he entered upon his office with advantages from which the best auguries might have been formed. "See ye him," said Samuel, "whom the Lord hath chosen, that there is none like him?" I would here remark the advantages to us, as young men, of good health, and a strong, vigorous body.

2. Nor was Saul lacking in moral qualities. His occupation, his concern for his father, his obedience to the prophet, his respect for religious ordinances, clearly indicate him to have been a man of quiet, plodding, and God-fearing disposition. Yes, you may have all these, and be in the eyes of all "a choice young man, and goodly;" yet lacking one thing, as Saul did, when trial and temptation come, the fair promise of your youth may be blighted; and when you, and others interested in you, expected to be reaping a harvest of bliss, there will be nothing left but bitter disappointment and vain regret.

II. ABUSED PRIVILEGES. What God expected from the king of His people is clearly defined in Deuteronomy 17:14-20. Saul was no doubt made acquainted with these injunctions by Samuel, so that there was no excuse whatever for his failure. Indeed, it is clear that his failure came not as the result of ignorance, but of a stubborn, rebellious will, which set itself in opposition to the will of God; and also from want of obedient faith. The first indication of these signs of defection, we have in 1 Samuel ch. 13. This injunction was to be a test of Saul's faith, and it failed. Another test was given him. "Go," said Samuel, "and smite Amalek" In this test of obedience he again failed; for, contrary to his commission, he spares Agag, and also brings of the spoil of war to offer in sacrifice to God. In this his pride is manifest — he cares little for the approbation of God, but wants honour before the people. God requires of you heart allegiance. The only true safeguard you can have for this life is in giving yourselves up to Christ,. Without this you may, and some of you will, become moral wrecks like Saul.

III. BLIGHTED PURPOSES.

1. The Divine purposes cannot be frustrated by our unfaithfulness. Without any interference with their moral liberty, God, no doubt, fulfils His own designs even by wicked men. The counsel of the Lord, that shall stand. God makes all events and all lives subservient, to His wise and holy will. Yet this is no excuse for our lack of fidelity to duty.

2. Saul's own purposes were broken off. His heart must have been big with hope when he received the Divine anointing, and in pursuing his course of disobedience, he, no doubt thought to win renown for himself and Israel Self-aggrandisement was the secret purpose in much of his disobedience; and then as to his son Jonathan, whom he made a general in his army; as a father, he must have cherished purposes concerning him. But all were doomed to disappointment, and that by his own folly. He who serves God takes the best way to serve himself. It is a solemn truth, too, that when a man has begun to go wrong, he finds it harder every step he takes to retrace his course. Another startling truth, which it may be wise to mention, is given us in the ruined prospects of this virtually discrowned monarch.

3. He sins beyond the possibility of repentance. Awful capabilities of self-torture lie folded within every human soul. Youthful sins lay a foundation for aged sorrows HEART allegiance to Christ will be the only insurance you can have against becoming the victims of clans of evil forces now lying in ambush within the mysterious recesses of your soul. But in addition to the blighted purpose of Saul, there were others who suffered by his sin. No man liveth unto himself. What a blight did Saul's sin bring upon the hopes of Samuel. Saul, too, blasted the purposes of his family. His sin involved his sons in his misfortune; for the sceptre passed away from his house, and his family became extinct.

(W. Williams.)

Dr. Newman, after attempting three times to preach on Saul, is compelled to confess that Saul's character continues to be obscure to him and he warns us that we must be cautious while considering Saul's obscure character. But, unhappily, the obscurity begins further back than Saul. The obscurity begins with Saul's father and mother. We never hear of Saul's mother; but what kind of a father can Kish have been. We know all about Samuel. All Israel, from Dan even to Beersheba, knew that Samuel was established to be a prophet of the Lord; all Israel but Kish and his son Saul. Yes, there is some quite inexplicable obscurity about Kish as well as about Saul; an obscurity that perplexes us and throws us out at the very opening of the son's sad history. And yet, when we turn back and begin to read Saul's whole history over again with our eye on the object; when we stop and look round about us as we read, the ancient obscurity begins to pass off, but only to let alarm and apprehension for ourselves and for our own sons take its place. Saul staggers us and throws us out till we look at ourselves and at the men round about us, and then we soon see, what had before been obscure to us, that our inborn and indulged tastes, likings, dispositions, inclinations, and pursuits rule us also, shape us, occupy us, and decide for us the men we know and the life we lead. Josephus says that Samuel had an inborn love of justice. But Saul had inherited from Kish an inborn and an absorbing love of cattle and sheep; and, till they were lost, Saul had no errand to Samuel's city. Why hold up our hands at Saul's obscurity, and at Saul's ignorance of Samuel. We have it in ourselves. We also see what we bring, eyes to see, and ears to hear, and hearts to love if you have no more sense of religion and life than Saul and his father had, at least, like them, give the preference to a religious servant. Saul's servant knew Samuel. Saul was led up to the door of his earthly kingdom by the piety of his father's servant; and you may be led up some day to the door of the heavenly kingdom by one of your servants who has interests and acquaintances and experiences that up to tonight you know nothing about. Saul with another hearts Saul with the Spirit of God upon him! You cannot understand. Another heart has more meanings than one in Holy Scripture; and so has the Spirit of God; and so has prophecy. Isaiah prophesied of the atoning death of Christ, but so did Caiaphas. The Spirit of God came upon Jesus at the Jordan, but He came also on Samson at the camp of Dan and upon Balaam beside the altar of Baal. Matthew Henry in two or three words makes clear to us all the obscurity of Saul's other heart. "Saul," says the most sensible of commentators, "has no longer the heart of a husbandman, concerned only with corn and cattle; he has now the heart of a statesman, a general, a prince. When God calls to service He will make fit for it. If He advances to another station, He will give another heart; and will preserve that heart to those who sincerely desire to serve Him." So He will. But that is just what Saul, another heart, and all, did not sincerely desire to do. And here hangs the true key to the whole of Saul's sad history. He was elected and crowned king over Israel, but he was as ignorant all the time of the God of Israel as he was of Samuel, the great prophet of the God of Israel. The truth is, another heart, prophetical spirit, and all, Saul all along was little better than a heathen at heart. And hence it is that what has often been called the profanity of Saul's character scarcely rises to the dignity of profanity. Saul's most presumptuous sins scarcely attain to profaneness. You must have some sense of what is sacred before you can be really profane. But Saul has no such sense. In his youth he had not one spark of insight or interest in the religious life and worship of Israel. He had never heard of Samuel. At the same time, in giving Saul another heart, the God of Israel gave Saul the greatest opportunity of his life to make himself a new heart God suddenly made a break in the ungodly and heathenish life of the son of Kish. So much so that Saul for the moment was almost persuaded to become an Israelite indeed. No; there is no such obscurity about Saul getting another heart and yet that heart coming to nothing. We have all had the same thing in ourselves. We ourselves have gone out on an errand of duty or of pleasure and have come back with another heart. Sometimes it has been at a time of sorrow, and sometimes at a time of joy and gladness. At the death of a father or a mother, at the time of leaving home to take our place in a lonely world; or, again, at that happy time when our loneliness was so graciously dealt with by God. God, I feel sure, lets no man become a married man without giving him the great opportunity and the new start in religion He gave to Saul when He made him king of Israel. In the kingly heart that God gives to every bridegroom we are not far for the time from the kingdom of heaven. Had Saul's change of heart only held. had his conversion only become complete, Saul would have been one of the greatest of all the Old Testament men. Saul was not a common man. It would take a Shakespeare to put himself into Saul's place and let us see the obscure working of Saul's heart under all his temptations. But, unhappily, Shakespeare had so little interest in Divine things, at least as they are set forth in the word of God, that he has gone away and left us to deal with such characters as Esau, and Balaam, and Saul, and Judas for ourselves only, there is one dark passage toward the end of Saul's insane life that we need no Shakespeare nor Newman to open up to us, Saul's mad and murderous envy of David is as clear as day to every man who puts its proper name on what goes on every day in his own evil heart. Themistocles could not sleep for the victories of Miltiades, and no more could Manning sleep for the Sermons, and The Apologia, and the promotion of Newman. And I have my Miltiades and my Newman, and so have you. Between Saul and Themistocles and Manning, and you and me, there is no difference. In genius and in services there is an immeasurable difference; but there is no difference at all in our gnawing and sleepless envy of those who have the genius, and do the service, and enjoy the praises and the place.

(A. Whyte, D. D.)

Mr. Lincoln, as he shook hands with the judge [Kelley, of Pennsylvania], inquired, "What is your height?" "Six feet three. What is yours, Mr. Lincoln?" "Six feet four." "Then," said the judge, "Pennsylvania bows to Illinois. My dear man, for years my heart has been aching for a President that I could look up to, and I've found him at last in the land where we thought there were none but little giants." [The distinguished Stephen A. Douglas, of Illinois, was known as the "little giant."].

(Raymond's Lincoln.)

Links
1 Samuel 9:9 NIV
1 Samuel 9:9 NLT
1 Samuel 9:9 ESV
1 Samuel 9:9 NASB
1 Samuel 9:9 KJV

1 Samuel 9:9 Bible Apps
1 Samuel 9:9 Parallel
1 Samuel 9:9 Biblia Paralela
1 Samuel 9:9 Chinese Bible
1 Samuel 9:9 French Bible
1 Samuel 9:9 German Bible

1 Samuel 9:9 Commentaries

Bible Hub
1 Samuel 9:8
Top of Page
Top of Page