Saul was God’s selection for the first king of Israel. The people were demanding a king from the aging prophet Samuel, one who would compare favorably to those of the enemy nations around them. Their emphasis for a king was a desire for physical, not spiritual, power. God decided to give them what they wanted – the best-looking person from a wealthy and powerful family, one who stood taller than all his countrymen.
But Saul knew little about God. That was not a priority for the people of Israel. After being led by the prophet Samuel, Israel was ready for a secular king. God would still use Samuel to divinely anoint Saul as king, even though Saul was not of the prophesied kingly line of Israel, the tribe of Judah. Saul was a Benjaminite.
God gave Saul a present to begin his reign – He gave him a new spiritual heart. Saul had a spiritual experience as the Spirit of God came down upon him. This had a profound effect on him, at least for a while.
At God’s direction, Samuel took a flask of olive oil and poured it on Saul’s head, anointing him as king over Israel. He told Saul that he would encounter some other prophets, and to worship and praise God with them, using God’s own words. This is referred to as prophecy.
6 Then the Spirit of the Lord will come upon you, and you will prophesy with them and be turned into another man… 9 So it was, when he had turned his back to go from Samuel, that God gave him another heart. 1 Samuel 10:6,9 NKJV
10 When they came there to the hill, there was a group of prophets to meet him; then the Spirit of God came upon him, and he prophesied among them. 11 And it happened, when all who knew him formerly saw that he indeed prophesied among the prophets, that the people said to one another, “What is this that has come upon the son of Kish? Is Saul also among the prophets?” 1 Samuel 10:10-11 NKJV
Like other kings of Israel that came after him, Saul began his reign on a high note. He had been given every spiritual and physical advantage. Though he was not from the kingly line of Judah, God still gave Saul everything he needed to serve the people of Israel well.
Many of us have had a spiritual experience with God. For some, it is dramatic, like Saul’s. For others, it is more of a slow turning, like a large ship, and is more of the educational variety. It may manifest itself as an awareness of what God has been doing for us and within us.
Like Saul, our spiritual life must be maintained to last much beyond the original experience. We do this by reading God’s word, meditating with Him, and gathering with other believers to worship, study and pray to God. Our spiritual batteries tend to run low and must be recharged through daily contact with God and HIs Spirit.
It is also good to stay in contact with other believers, as the Holy Spirit living within them will rekindle the sometimes-wet wood of our own spiritual fire. Assembling and praying with others, even virtually, helps to keep the fire of the Holy Spirit going within our own hearts, no matter what trials or difficulties we find ourselves in.
It is good to remember those precious times in our past when we have sensed the presence of God. So many times, we cannot sense Him, but we do know that He is there and will never leave us nor forsake us. God allows these times to develop our faith in Him.
Some of us have forgotten these experiences and have turned to walk another path, away from God. If we have breath, it is never too late to rekindle our spiritual fire with God. He loves us deeply and without condition, and is always reaching out to bring us back to Him, no matter where we have been or what we have done. His forgiving love for us burns bright.
What steps do I take to stay close to God and grow in Him? How do I start my day? Keep in His word? Worship Him?
Who can we reach out to today to help rekindle their faith through the power and presence of God’s Spirit ?