1 Samuel 9 "The Portrait Hall": Portrait of the Wandering Cowboy

The story of the beginnings of the first King of Israel should be thrilling, as God brought Israel what they were asking for. Yet, the tale is one of a wandering man searching for his father’s donkeys. How prophetic! Saul was about to embark on a career with a people that would be as stubborn and wayward as the donkeys he set out to see. How did God launch Saul’s career as king? What does the story tell us about the way God brings together people and resources to make a vision become reality?

Key Principle: God knows how to draw us in and change us, even when we don’t know He is at work. He uses an array of tools!

Five Ways God Draws us into Change:

1. God works preparations for needs before those who will be used to care for the need are even aware of the need (9:1-3). Note three ways God was preparing the scene:

  • Generations of preparation: God may have you here for your great grandchild’s contribution to the Kingdom. Faithful transmission of the Word may be your greatest legacy! (9:1a).
  • Pedigree of training: His dad was a “Mighty man of valor” (ish gibbor / chayil: from a dance term to twist; i.e. adept at making adjustment – 9:1b).
  • Physical characteristics helpful to task: (“choice” man is “bawchur” – an outstandingly vigorous youth).

2. God orchestrates problems to bring people to the right place and time to meet His purposes (9:3).

 3. God uses a process that may well be a test to our character. The tests help us build stamina for the drudgery assignments of our coming position! (9:4-5)

 4. God plants people in our path to direct us to His Him when we are ready to fail (9:6-10). Note how this worked. People offered:

  • Encouragement: When Saul was ready to give up on the task that would lead him to his appointment with God’s purposes, the servant called him to seek God’s message (9:6).
  • Resources: God places us in a place of need to depend on others, and not our own abilities. (9:7-8).
  • Opportunities to stretch: Asking directions has never been a male strength, but God gives us opportunities to move beyond ego. (9:9-14)

 5. God give prophetic truth to light the path of our lives. We don’t have to know how everything is going to work out. We need to know how to hear God’s Word and obey it (9:15-24). Note how God prepared the scene by His Word. The Word:

  • Offered Forecasting: God gives us pictures of what will happen before it happens (9:15).
  • Required Participation: God allows us to participate in the deliverance of people if we obey His commands and share what He has told us to! (9:16-17).
  • Demonstrated Initiation: God doesn’t wait until the “lost one” sees what godliness looks like, but moves in while they are not aware of His love and promise for them (9:18-22).
  • Exposed Revelation: God reveals how prepared He is for each of us, as we follow Him (9:23-24).