The wise God serves very great and certain purposes by seemingly small and casual affairs.
Let us therefore remember that promotions come not by chance and that faithfulness and humility on the path of present duty are the key to exaltation at the hands of God.
I Samuel 1
1 Now there was a man of Benjamin, whose name was Kish, the son of Abiel, the son of Zeror, the son of Bechorath, the son of Aphiah, a Benjamite, a mighty man of power.
2 And he had a son, whose name was Saul, a choice young man, and a goodly: and there was not among the children of Israel a goodlier person than he: from his shoulders and upward he was higher than any of the people.
3 And the asses of Kish Saul’s father were lost. And Kish said to Saul his son, Take now one of the servants with thee, and arise, go seek the asses.
4 And he passed through mount Ephraim, and passed through the land of Shalisha, but they found them not: then they passed through the land of Shalim, and there they were not: and he passed through the land of the Benjamites, but they found them not.
5 And when they were come to the land of Zuph, Saul said to his servant that was with him, Come, and let us return; lest my father leave caring for the asses, and take thought for us.
6 And he said unto him, Behold now, there is in this city a man of God, and he is an honourable man; all that he saith cometh surely to pass: now let us go thither; peradventure he can shew us our way that we should go.
7 Then said Saul to his servant, But, behold, if we go, what shall we bring the man? for the bread is spent in our vessels, and there is not a present to bring to the man of God: what have we?
8 And the servant answered Saul again, and said, Behold, I have here at hand the fourth part of a shekel of silver: that will I give to the man of God, to tell us our way.
9 (Beforetime in Israel, when a man went to enquire of God, thus he spake, Come, and let us go to the seer: for he that is now called a Prophet was beforetime called a Seer.)
10 Then said Saul to his servant, Well said; come, let us go. So they went unto the city where the man of God was.
11 ¶ And as they went up the hill to the city, they found young maidens going out to draw water, and said unto them, Is the seer here?
12 And they answered them, and said, He is; behold, he is before you: make haste now, for he came to day to the city; for there is a sacrifice of the people to day in the high place:
13 As soon as ye be come into the city, ye shall straightway find him, before he go up to the high place to eat: for the people will not eat until he come, because he doth bless the sacrifice; and afterwards they eat that be bidden. Now therefore get you up; for about this time ye shall find him.
14 And they went up into the city: and when they were come into the city, behold, Samuel came out against them, for to go up to the high place.
15 ¶ Now the LORD had told Samuel in his ear a day before Saul came, saying,
16 To morrow about this time I will send thee a man out of the land of Benjamin, and thou shalt anoint him to be captain over my people Israel, that he may save my people out of the hand of the Philistines: for I have looked upon my people, because their cry is come unto me.
17 And when Samuel saw Saul, the LORD said unto him, Behold the man whom I spake to thee of! this same shall reign over my people.
18 Then Saul drew near to Samuel in the gate, and said, Tell me, I pray thee, where the seer’s house is.
19 And Samuel answered Saul, and said, I am the seer: go up before me unto the high place; for ye shall eat with me to day, and to morrow I will let thee go, and will tell thee all that is in thine heart.
20 And as for thine asses that were lost three days ago, set not thy mind on them; for they are found. And on whom is all the desire of Israel? Is it not on thee, and on all thy father’s house?
21 And Saul answered and said, Am not I a Benjamite, of the smallest of the tribes of Israel? and my family the least of all the families of the tribe of Benjamin? wherefore then speakest thou so to me?
22 And Samuel took Saul and his servant, and brought them into the parlour, and made them sit in the chiefest place among them that were bidden, which were about thirty persons.
23 And Samuel said unto the cook, Bring the portion which I gave thee, of which I said unto thee, Set it by thee.
24 And the cook took up the shoulder, and that which was upon it, and set it before Saul. And Samuel said, Behold that which is left! set it before thee, and eat: for unto this time hath it been kept for thee since I said, I have invited the people. So Saul did eat with Samuel that day.
25 ¶ And when they were come down from the high place into the city, Samuel communed with Saul upon the top of the house.
26 And they arose early: and it came to pass about the spring of the day, that Samuel called Saul to the top of the house, saying, Up, that I may send thee away. And Saul arose, and they went out both of them, he and Samuel, abroad.
27 And as they were going down to the end of the city, Samuel said to Saul, Bid the servant pass on before us, (and he passed on,) but stand thou still a while, that I may shew thee the word of God.
I Samuel 1 – J. Vernon McGee
1 Samuel 9:1-14 – Saul Is Led to Find Samuel
As a king was demanded by the people, one was selected to suit their taste—“a choice young man, and a goodly” (1 Samuel 9:2)! But the king after God’s own heart was selected for other qualities, I Samuel 16:7. Saul’s character lacked important elements. His ignorance about Samuel was surprising; even his servant knew better. This did not promise well for a successful reign, Daniel 11:32.
But how should Saul and Samuel be brought together? A succession of trifling and ordinary events prove to be the links in the divinely constructed chain. The lost the prolonged search, the fear of the effect of anxiety upon Kish, the timely suggestion of the servant and his possession of a few coins which would serve as an introduction, the greeting of the young girls on their way to the well—what accidents they seem! Nay, but they are providences! All things work together to execute God’s purpose. Nothing is too trivial to be part of the divine plan. Let us follow the indications of God’s will—they lead to the waiting seat, the reserved portion, and the ultimate throne.
I Samuel 9:6—Behold now, there is in this city a man of God.
There is a street in London, near St. Paul’s, which I never traverse without very peculiar feelings. It is Godliman Street. Evidently the name is a corruption of godly man. Did some saint of God once live here, whose life was so holy as to give a sweet savor to the very street in which he dwelt? Were the neighbors who knew him best, the most sure of his godliness? Would that our piety might leave its mark on our neighborhoods, and the memory linger long after we have passed away!
A generation or two ago in the Highlands, there were earnest and holy men who were known by the significant title of the men. No great religious gathering was deemed complete without them. Their prayers and exhortations were accompanied by an especial unction.
In such manner Samuel’s godliness was recognized far and wide. The fragrance of his character could not be concealed. And this gave men confidence in him. They said, “He is an honorable man; all that he saith cometh surely to pass.” How much credit redounds to godliness, when it is combined with trustworthiness and high credit amongst our fellows!
Let us seek to be God’s men and women. Let us live not only soberly and righteously, but godly, in this present world. Let us remember that God hath set apart the godly for Himself. The godly are the godlike. They become so by cultivating the fellowship and friendship of God. Their faces become enlightened with his beauty; their words are weighty with his truth. After being for a little in their company, you detect the gravity, serenity, gentleness, beauty of holiness, which are the court manners of heaven.
1 Samuel 9:15-27 – The Prophet Meets the Coming King
There are some favored souls to whom God reveals His secrets, Psalm 25:14; John 15:15. Covet, above all things, that habitual nearness to God in which God may speak as a man to His friend. Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man conceived, what God has prepared for those who love Him; but He reveals them by His Spirit. Even when Samuel encountered Saul in the street, Samuel’s guidance by God continued, I Samuel 9:17. His fellowship with the Eternal was like a deep-flowing current; his meeting with Saul a leaf dropped on its surface.
The prophet did not meet the young man as a rival. The life which is lived in God’s presence is so filled with His light and His love that it is not disturbed by the fickle fancies of the crowd. Samuel was quite ready to be abased and to see another exalted, if God willed it, Philippians 4:12. It is good, when we are in partnership with God, to allow Him, at the critical moment, to send the man or woman whom He has selected. “Tomorrow… I will send thee a man” (1 Samuel 9:16). Such may come on quite another errand, but God will give us divine guidance and discernment, so that we may be ready to receive and welcome Him.