Sunday, June 10, 2012

Saul—truly changed

TODAY'S SPECIAL: 1 Samuel 11:1-15

TO CHEW ON: "Then the Spirit of God came upon Saul when he heard this news and his anger was greatly roused." 1 Samuel 11:6

It's curious to see the newly acclaimed king of Israel out in the field behind a herd of animals. He seems a reluctant king not eager to establish a capital city or consolidate his power.

But God's anointing has truly changed him. For when he hears that the Ammonites are threatening his people he becomes outraged with a righteous anger: "Then the Spirit of God came upon Saul when he heard this news and his anger was greatly roused." Mimicking the actions of another riled citizen, he summons the men to war with bloody pieces of oxen.

Here again the Bible speaks of supernatural intervention: "And the fear of the Lord fell on the people and they came out with one consent" (1 Samuel 11:7).

With soldiers assembling, Saul reassures the attacked people of Jabesh, they are able to stall the enemy for another day, Saul mounts a surprise attack, and wins a decisive victory. Now there is a groundswell of support for the new king. With Samuel at his side, he establishes his headquarters at Gilgal and officially begins his reign.

This story gives us a picture of how the Holy Spirit works in and around us still.
  • He empowers and equips us for His assignments. Even though in the natural we may feel inadequate, if God has given us a job to do, the Holy Spirit can anoint us with the drive and wherewithal to do it.
  • We can also trust God to work on, in, and through the people around us, just as He brought the "fear of the Lord:" on Israel to obey Saul's summons to war.

PRAYER: Dear God, thank You for this graphic picture of Your Spirit at work in the Old Testament. Help me to rely on the Holy Spirit's working, in me and others, to accomplish Your plans and purposes in my generation. Amen.

MORE: When the Spirit comes
"When the Spirit of the Lord comes upon men, it will make them expert even without experience. When zeal for the glory of God, and the love for the brethren urge men to earnest efforts, and when God is pleased to help, great effects may speedily be produced" - Matthew Henry.

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