1 Samuel 9:9
(Beforetime in Israel, when a man went to inquire of God, thus he spoke, Come, and let us go to the seer…
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?
Parallel VersesKJV: (Beforetime in Israel, when a man went to inquire of God, thus he spake, Come, and let us go to the seer: for he that is now called a Prophet was beforetime called a Seer.)