Israel’s First King – 1 Samuel 8-9

17 So when Samuel saw Saul, the Lord said to him, “There he is, the man of whom I spoke to you. This one shall reign over My people.”  1 Samuel 9:17 NKJV

Out of all Israel, God selected Saul, from the tribe of Benjamin, to be their first king.

It was known from earliest prophecy that the scepter of the heavenly King would be in the line of Judah, not from Benjamin.  Judah’s line would not be installed until Israel’s second king, David. 

Why did God start with Saul, who would turn out to be a failed king?

For many years before this, the prophet and head priest Samuel had acted as a leader and a judge over Israel.  They were enjoying a time of peace and prosperity after the Lord had thundered and sent the Philistines back to their own land.  But since their deliverance, the hearts of the people once again began to wander away from God.

At this point, Samuel was getting old and appointed his two sons to be his successors.  But this was a poor choice.  Like Eli’s sons before him, Samuel’s two sons were corrupt.  Instead of seeking a godly successor to Samuel, the people clamored for a secular king, one like the strong nations around them.  This troubled Samuel, but the Lord told him to give the people what they wanted.

 And the Lord said to Samuel, “Heed the voice of the people in all that they say to you; for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me, that I should not reign over them. 1 Samuel 8:7 NKJV

God did tell Samuel to warn the people of the consequence of installing their own king.  This king would take many things from them for his own purposes, including their sons and daughters as soldiers and laborers, their fields, vineyards, and olive groves for his supply, and he will collect a tax on everything they produce.  Lastly, they would surrender their independence and become the king’s servants.

But the people wanted a leader after their own hearts, one who would fight for them against their enemies, so the Lord gave them Saul.


Sometimes we want something so much that we ignore the warnings that God is trying to send us. and pursue it anyway.

As a good friend once asked me after I did that, “How did that work out?”  I had to admit, it worked out quite poorly.

But God is so good to us that He does not say, “I told you so”.  Instead, He begins working to bring about plan B, one that is more centered on God and His purpose for our lives.

May God help us to focus our motives on Him and not on our own selfish, and sometimes ungodly, desires.  We can enjoy peace, serenity, and a release from fear when He takes His rightful place in the center of our lives and our desires.

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