King Making
1 Samuel 10:1-13
Then Samuel took a vial of oil, and poured it on his head, and kissed him, and said…

1. The lines of Providence are convergent and divergent. They come from different points of the compass towards one centre, and radiate outwards from unity into diversity. The chief events of four thousand years of human history all tended to one grand consummation, and when God became incarnate realised their end. From that event the lines of Providence have been diverging ever since, and are designed to embrace in their benignant influences the wide world and the various races of men. The Old Testament history all coiled into Jesus of Nazareth; the New Testament history unrolls from him. Chronology is all comprised in Before Christ and After Christ. This arrangement is common to the providence of God. One series of events conspires to develop another. The same Providence is seen in many periods of Hebrew history, and in none more strikingly than in the influences which brought Saul and Samuel together, and the issues that resulted from a monarchy in Israel. The outward circumstance was striking, but the diversified providences had been divinely arranged to further it. Infallible wisdom had guided these two men, and in their meeting prepared for kingly rule in Israel. In the appearance of Saul at the time appointed, Samuel had full testimony to the word of God. The event proved the prediction and strengthened his faith in God. Every new evidence works conviction in the believer, and does much to conform his mind to God. But there was another person to be convinced of the Divine arrangement — Saul. The evidence was vouchsafed in a manner fitted to impress, and so cumulative and varied as to work conviction. Samuel's conduct towards him, and the circumstances that transpired on his way home, after he left the prophet, were unmistakable signs that God was preparing some dignity for him among his people. These three signs were designed to warrant his faith in the announcement, to encourage his hope, and to prepare him to conform to the arrangement of God for the government of His people, and to certain special directions given by Samuel with reference to his coronation.

2. Whom God calls to any service He will make fit for it. If He advance to another station, He will give another heart to those who sincerely desire to serve Him with their power. Just as of old God endowed Bezaleel and Aholiab with skill to design, and build, and carve the work of the tabernacle of the wilderness, so did he endow Saul with the qualities of a kingly mind. These were apart from the moral qualities that relate to the right service of God. The latter are not so much endowments attached to a man, as the necessary fruits of a thorough conversion and a new heart. Saul had the one, but he had not the other. He had another heart, but, not a new heart. He gave evidence of possessing the gifts of kingship, but none of the grace of holy living. While he could henceforth command armies and practice diplomacy, he cared not for keeping a conscience void of offence toward God and man. His heart was not right with God. It is not enough to have natural endowments, or learned attainments of skill or wisdom. What are the wit of Voltaire, the poetry of Byron, the science of Halley, the philosophy of Hobbes, the command of Napoleon, the statesmanship of Pitt, the eloquence of Sheridan, the taste of Beckford, the learning of Michaelis, the common sense of Franklin, the mechanical skill of Stephenson, the business talents of a Rothschild, if you have not the grace of God to transform your heart and to make you holy? Gifts may make you illustrious, and useful, and powerful among men, but they do not make you fit for the fellowship of God, or prepare you for the holiness of heaven. They are of value. Sanctified by grace, the highest gifts have their place and their usefulness in the Church, Saul had striking evidences presented to his mind of the prospect which Samuel opened up to his hope. The clear fulfilment of all that had been foretold must have convinced him that he was designed for dignity. He weighed it well, was persuaded of it, and waited for its accomplishment.

3. The manner of the kingdom was written in a book for his study and observance (ver. 25). This was their constitution — the covenant between monarch and subjects. The rights of the king were specified therein, and so were the rights of the people. The government of Israel was to be no absolute monarchy, nor was it to be a democracy. This was also the case when David was made king of Israel (2 Samuel 5:3), and when Joash was proclaimed in Judah, after the despotic usurpation of Athaliah (2 Kings 11:17). It was as sinful in the one to break the covenant as in the other. In the word of God there is a clear recognition of the rights of the ruled as well as of the ruler. No man is at liberty to tyrannise over another. The model people of the ancient world had rules for kings such as no constitution has ever yet continued. The engagement between God, king, and people, was laid up before the Lord, to be kept under his eye, and to be a witness against monarch and subject should they break their engagements. It is a solemn thought that all our engagements are laid up before the Lord. They are held in all their integrity by him, and be never fails to fulfil his part. Once entered into by us, we become bound, and are responsible, and must render an account for the manner in which we bays kept them. Your signature to a bill, given by impulse, cannot be nullified before a court of law, it is binding, and you can be distrained for payment. In like manner all solemn resolutions and spiritual pledges are binding, and are laid up before the Lord. Under these mutual obligations Samuel sent king and people to their several homes.

4. That was a happy day in Israel. Samuel had reason to be glad, and king and people had abundant cause for joy. The monarchy had been established. God had smiled on the first royal act of Saul. The nation had united in a public service of gratitude. On a theatre so full of historic interest, they all rejoiced greatly. Their difficulties now seemed ended, and their hearts flowed over in exuberant joy. If they abode in the love and obedience of God, joy would possess their souls.

(R. Steel.)

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?

Samuel and the Young Man Saul
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