Lessons from the Life of King Saul
“Then Samuel took a flask of oil and poured it on his head, and kissed him and said: ‘Is it not because the Lord has anointed you commander over His inheritance?’” (1 Sam. 10:1).
I feel that many of us are in the midst of a great shifting and promotion to a higher level and increased responsibility. The Lord has prepared us and wants us to be more effective and to have greater impact. I think this is happening to many people in many countries. I also feel that God is releasing this during times of celebration. So, if you feel extra joy, or a “pull” into celebration, it’s because God is getting ready to promote you.
I recently did some meetings in a certain place and knew I had to get the people to celebrate. In the end, there was huge breakthrough with joyous celebration. It was later when I began to teach that the Lord showed me He was releasing many into new callings and new assignments. I also saw clearly how important apostles are in all of this.
Apostles are “fathers.” When “fathers” are in place, then the sons/daughters can be launched into their callings. Not having fathers in place can result in missteps at the beginning and fatal errors at critical moments. Actually, we can see all this from the life of King Saul (1 Sam. 9–10,13). A few observations are as follows:
1. Celebration Often Precedes Shifting into Promotion
Saul and his servant went to the prophet Samuel because a) they happened to be in his vicinity, and b) they needed help finding the missing donkeys. Samuel met them and invited them to a feast and gave Saul a seat of honor (1 Sam. 9:22). So, somewhat by accident, Saul found himself celebrating at a feast. As I said earlier, there are very important reasons why God is insisting on joy and celebration. He wants to promote us. Do not resist!
The next day Samuel anointed Saul to be king. He not only prophesied three dramatic signs that would confirm this to Saul, but he also told him there would come a critical time when he was king where he would be tempted to make a sacrifice. Saul was warned not to make the sacrifice and to be sure to wait seven days for Samuel to arrive. Samuel prophetically told Saul the place this would happen and how long he should wait. We read, “You shall go down before me to Gilgal; and surely I will come down to you to … make sacrifices. Seven days you shall wait, till I come to you and show you what you should do” (1 Sam. 10:8).
Unfortunately, Saul did not pass the test. In fact, we can see harbingers of failure as soon as he returned home.
2. Ignoring His Father and Uncle Led to a Bad Start
When Saul returned home, the Bible notes that even though asked by his uncle what Samuel said, Saul only spoke about the donkeys being found. “But about the matter of the kingdom, he did not tell him what Samuel said” (10:16). He chose to be silent and handle it himself. It may have been because of an orphan spirit, or because of a sense of rejection—or even just pride—but he shared nothing. He discussed nothing. There was no discussion about how he should act or what he should say. Thus on the day he was chosen king, he succumbed to a bad case of nerves. Neither his father nor uncle was able to support/encourage him, so he was hiding when his name was called. Eventually they located him and installed him as king, but others noted his strange behavior and reacted negatively. “‘How can this man save us?’ So they despised him” (1 Sam. 10:27).
This is one of the reasons why we need apostles. As fathers, they will stand behind—mentoring, counseling, and advising—so the newly promoted one can avoid needless mistakes and can launch properly.
3. Saul’s Critical Failure Can Be Traced to an Improper Father Relationship!
After a rocky start, Saul began to develop well as a leader and king. But then came the time of testing that Samuel had warned him about (1 Sam. 13:1–15). The Philistines invaded, so the men of Israel gathered to Saul at Gilgal. This had been foretold in Samuel’s prophesy to him. Also foretold was that he should wait seven days for Samuel.
It wasn’t easy—each day he waited, more and more men went home. Rather than lose even more, Saul caved in to the internal pressure and foolishly went ahead and made the sacrifice himself. Samuel arrived just as he finished, on time as the prophecy had indicated. But it was too late! Instead of being “established forever” (13:13), he heard the chilling words that God would give the kingdom to someone else.
Here again, we see the need for apostolic fathers. If Saul had shared with his father and uncle from the beginning, it’s easy to surmise how things might have been different. Surely they would have discussed the prophesy about Gilgal and the seven days. Perhaps they would have reminded him to be resolute as he waited. At the very least, their discussions would have prepared Saul emotionally and he might not have given in to his fears and insecurities.
The point is this: God will—both now and in the future—release many into new assignments and callings. He doesn’t want any to fail. This is one of the main reasons God has raised and released apostles. They are there to be fathers and mothers to those whom God is calling and promoting. They will stand behind them, and will mentor and advise them to keep them from making needless mistakes and will enable them to pass the times of testing.
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