1 Samuel 10:26-27
And Saul also went home to Gibeah; and there went with him a band of men, whose hearts God had touched.…
Saul went home to Gibeah, but not alone, for "there went with him a band of men, whose hearts God had touched." Perhaps this Divine touch involved much more than some of us may have supposed. The heart, in Holy Scripture, frequently means the whole spiritual nature, including the understanding, the affections, the conscience, and the will. Their understanding was touched, enabling them to discern their own duty and the true interest of Israel. Their affections were touched, powerfully attracting them to "him whom the Lord had appointed to be captain of their inheritance," and inspiring them with due respect and confidence Their conscience was touched, compelling them to acknowledge the Divine hand in the whole matter, and their own obligation to acquiesce in the appointment of the Most High, and to sustain with all their force the man who had been set over them. Their will was touched, re-enforcing with Divine grace their purpose practically to carry out the resolution they had formed; so that, whatever others might do, they would adhere to the king, and go with him to Gibeah, ready to protect his person, support his prerogatives, avenge all insults offered to him, and serve him in any emergency that might arise, in any capacity that might be required. True, there was much in Saul to attract. All this had its effect in winning their love and confidence; yet there was also a manifest supernatural power working within them. And still, by His Holy Spirit, through His gospel, His sacraments, and His providences, God graciously touches the hearts of men. Without this Divine agency, none would ever be saved. True, there are means and ministries employed, but these without God were fruitless and inefficient. This Divine touch — what is its nature? and what are its effects?
1. It is the touch of a light that illumines. Here begins all true conversion. It may be as the morning dawn, shining more and more unto the perfect day; or as the lightning flash, smiting the sinner blind till some Ananias comes to open his eyes; but in either case, it is God that toucheth the heart with the living light of His grace.
2. It is the touch of an owner that claims. As a man lays his hand upon his lost or stolen property, saying, "This is mine;" so God lays His hand upon the human heart, alienated from Him by sin, and demands it as His own. It has been captured and kept from Him, but He will not relinquish His claim.
3. It is the touch of a weapon that wounds. The heart is in rebellion, and must be conquered. The two-edged sword of the Spirit must pierce and cleave it, before it can be cleansed and cured.
4. It is the touch of a hammer that breaks. Edward the First was called "the Hammer of the Scots." God saith, by His prophet — "Is not my word a hammer, that breaketh the flinty rock in pieces?" What is that flinty rock, but the obdurate heart of His people, hardened through the deceitfulness of sin, harder than adamant, or the nether millstone? Oh! the flinty heart, that cannot feel, and will not relent! What hope can we have of its improvement? God has graciously smitten the stone, and turned it to flesh; and now He binds up the broken heart, and heals the contrite spirit.
5. It is the touch of a fire that dissolves. "God maketh my heart soft," saith Job, "and the Almighty troubleth me." How dreary is the Northern world in winter, the fountains frozen up, and the mountains wrapped in their robes of snow! But when the vernal sun shines forth in his strength, the fetters of ice are dissolved, the streams released flow through the valleys, and all nature puts on its gay and festive attire. Still greater is the change wrought in the heart by the Sun of righteousness. A rough and shapeless lump of gold is cast into the furnace, and soon it becomes a beautiful ornament, fit for the brow of a king. So the touch of God can melt the hardest heart, and change it into a crown jewel for the King of kings.
6. It is the touch of a key that opens. Was it not the Lord that "opened the heart of Lydia to receive the things spoken of Paul?" The heart is closed against Him by sin and selfishness.
7. It is the touch of a spirit that quickens. "And you hath He quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins." And dead in trespasses and sins are we all, till touched by the quickening Spirit of God. The affections are dead, the conscience is dead, and the will is dead; and none but He who breathed into the first human form the breath of life, can make man once more "a living soul" — "alive to God through our Lord Jesus Christ."
8. It is the touch of a Healer that restores.
9. It is the touch of a Fountain that cleanses.
10. It is the touch of a magnet that attracts. God is love, and the heart He touches must gravitate towards Him. When Elijah passed Elisha ploughing in the field, and threw his mantle over the ploughman's shoulders, the latter instantly left his oxen standing in the furrow, and hastened after the prophet, and never left him till a chariot of fire took him up from his side to heaven. So the touch of the Divine Galilean drew the fisherman from his nets and boats, the publican from the receipt of custom, etc.
(J. Cross, D. D)
Parallel VersesKJV: And Saul also went home to Gibeah; and there went with him a band of men, whose hearts God had touched.