The Discipline of a Promoted Life
1 Samuel 10:1-13
Then Samuel took a vial of oil, and poured it on his head, and kissed him, and said…

Men are not usually taken from the valley of ordinary toil, and instantaneously placed, as by the flight of an angel, upon the cloud-wrapped peak of national greatness. There must be a climbing process; its accomplishment may be tedious, its progress slow, its experiences sorrowful, but such discipline is necessary. And as we climb the rugged path, exhilarating breezes refresh, sweeping prospects gladden; and the soul thrilled by such beauty, achieves fitness for the higher sphere of duty. Summer does not suddenly come around us with its grandeur, touching nature into fragrance, but advances gently through the frozen portals of winter and the uncalculated possibilities of spring. So with the promotions of human life. God descends unknown to the busy multitude, appropriates the Saul, and brings into contact with the spiritual, that under its tuition he may be fitted for kingship. This promoted life was —

I. UNOSTENTATIOUS IS ITS COMMENCEMENT. It might be accepted as an axiom that all great results issue from small beginnings. Throughout this coronation the greatest simplicity prevails. Only two are present — a ruddy youth, an aged man — both in the great temple of nature, with God for witness. Consider the disciplinary nature of this coronation.

1. Its simplicity would appear contradictory. It would seem unlikely that the highest office of life should be introduced in such poor attire.

2. It would appear unauthenticated. There was no human witness besides the two interested parties. They were alone. The only guarantee he had was the reputation of the prophet; and if that failed, he had no refuge, for his own word would not be sufficient to establish anything so unlikely. He would, like Joseph, have been designated the Dreamer. This consideration would impose silence even if disappointed.

3. Then the suggestion of promotion was interrogative. "Is it not because the Lord hath anointed thee to be captain over his inheritance?" (ver. 1). Thus we can easily imagine how this coronation scene would test the character, try the patience, exercise the thought, and discipline the soul of this incipient king. This promoted life was —

II. CONFIRMATORY IN ITS PROGRESS. Moral discipline does not retain its darkness. Night clears away, and in the bright shining of morning, fear is dispelled and hope realised. So with Saul, he has passed the midnight of preparation, and now departing from the prophet, his claim to kingship will be vindicated by foretold events. Confirmed: —

1. By the restoration of lost property. The most trivial incidents may prove confirmatory to the reality of Divine promotion. A shining star authenticates the power of God as much as the solar system. So the finding of asses on our homeward journey may stamp our elevation with truth, as much as the mightiest catastrophe of history. Here also is seen the beneficence and considerateness of the Divine plan. In that the missions of life are attested by measures adapted to condition and want. Saul had been in search of the asses; their restoration was used as the Divine indenture. Saul had to pass the sepulchre of Rachel on his way home. Why? Was it not to solemnise him in his transition to kingship? To remind him of his future destiny? The journey of life is full of tombs, to hush the mirth of the traveller by the reflections of another world. Here we see the wisdom of the Divine plan in that he makes the monitors of life confirm its elevation. He was confirmed: —

2. By the manifestation of hospitality. These people were no doubt going to worship, to sacrifice to God; and, being prompted by the Divine Spirit, paid homage to their unknown but future king. Men often unconsciously outstrip themselves. In ministering to the necessities of a man they sometimes minister to a king. This scene in connection with Rachel's tomb shows the contrasts of life; that, while death is near, there is sufficient to keep in life and comfort; that while there are tombs on our life road there is also a sanctuary. The former representing the power of evil, the latter the power of good. Past both the promoted one must walk, that, filled with sadness at the grave, joy may come with stronger impulse at the sanctuary. Lastly, he was confirmed: —

3. By the sympathetic power of prophecy. "And thou shalt prophesy with them" (ver. 6). The young king was now to meet a band of students from the college of the prophets. This is a typal of all life; it is full of the educational, and that educational is spiritual in its nature. This company of prophets had instruments of music. So a minister's life, like a peal of bells, should give forth the choicest music at the lightest touch. Who ought to carry the harp, the tabrets of life, if a teacher of the highest music, the divinest harmony, does not?

III. PREPARATORY IN ITS ISSUE. Saul seems now to have reached the level of prophetic character; from henceforth he is fit for the regal. He is prepared: —

1. By the impartation of a new nature. "God gave him another heart" (ver. 9). What does this mean, but that Saul was converted? Are we told that it was a mere external fitness; an intellectual foresight, or heroic courage, necessary for his office? Was it merely the creation of a taste for the new sphere of duty? If so, it should have said that God gave him another inclination. No! God gave him another heart, swept of the past, filled with the seeds of a larger manhood.

2. By the baptism of the Holy Spirit. "And the Spirit of God came upon him" (ver. 10). Surely no king commenced his rule with greater blessing or deeper fitness. But we shall yet have to witness the tempestuous sunset of this great life. If kings now were selected by God, and qualified by his Spirit, what a glory would enshrine our national constitution! Lessons: —

(1) Learn that the Spiritual ought to be the Supreme Power of national life.

(2) That when God calls to the higher duties of life he qualifies for them.

(3) That on the road to the sanctuary you are likely to meet the newly-made king.

(4) That life is capable of the highest development.

(Joseph S. Exell, M. A.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: Then Samuel took a vial of oil, and poured it upon his head, and kissed him, and said, Is it not because the LORD hath anointed thee to be captain over his inheritance?

WEB: Then Samuel took the vial of oil, and poured it on his head, and kissed him, and said, "Isn't it that Yahweh has anointed you to be prince over his inheritance?

The Appointment, of Saul
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