Saul was the first king of Israel. He was everything that the people had longed for in a king, and everything that God said a king would be. We know that God desired Israel to look to Him for guidance rather than a king. This is why Gideon refused to accept the throne of Israel (Judges 8:22-23). Itís also why Samuel felt so grieved when the people requested a king (1Sam. 8:6).
1. How did God view the peopleís request for a king? (1Sam. 8:7)
REQUIREMENTS FOR KINGS
There are certain things that are less than perfect in Godís will for us yet because of our shortcomings He has given us laws governing their use. For example, slavery, polygamy, war, and human kings, are all less than Godís perfect will for people, yet He has given us Laws on how to at least make these things decent. Deuteronomy 17:14-20 gives Godís Word on the appointment and conduct of kings of Israel.
2. What were some of the requirements for kings listed in this passage, and did Saul or any other king live up to them?
We should all live like kings, as described in Deuteronomy 17:14-20. Many people have built a doctrine on a translation error found in the King James Version of the Bible that God has called us all to be kings and priests. But Exodus 19:6 and Revelation 1:6, 10, says we are a kingdom of priests, or, a kingdom and priests. This means that we are all under a King and that we have the responsibility of representing Him to others as priests.
3. Despite the qualities that God was looking for in a king, what made Saul such an appealing choice to the people based on 1Samuel 9:2?
SAULíS CHANGE OF HEART
4. When Saul was confronted by Samuel with Godís call to be King, how could you describe his response? (1Samuel 9:21)
While Saul appears to have been very taken back by Samuelís pronouncement, there was obviously some seeds of pride deep within his heart that werenít dealt with. Yet, God was giving the people just what they thought they wanted: a king who was physically strong, tall, and handsome. What was in his heart wasnít obvious, and didnít matter to the people.
5. God obviously saw something in Saulís heart that wasnít good. How do we know this, and what did He do about it? (1Samuel 10:9)
One of the issues in Saulís heart was his chameleon-like nature. Whenever he was around good people, he was good (1Sam. 10:10). Whenever he was around wicked people, he was wicked. This was not Godís desire for a leader.
Saul reigned for 42 years. He had five children (1Sam. 14:49). Jonathan his son, and Michal his daughter feature prominently in the story of Saul. We are introduced to Jonathan in 1Samuel 13:2 as a brave warrior serving his father faithfully. No leader of people can function without strong, faithful, courageous people around him or her supporting them. As Saul continued toward the end of his reign, Jonathan actually increased in stature as a leader in his own right. Saul also had the faithful support of his cousin, Abner (1Samuel 14:50).
6. Who was Saul constantly battling against, and what was his ongoing tactic? (1Sam. 14:52)
7. Why do think Saul never did defeat his enemies?
Although Saul was plagued by attacks from the Philistines, his downfall was the Amalekites. They had been an even greater military threat to Israel than the Philistines had been. The Lord had vowed to destroy the Amalekites (Deut. 25:17-19) from the time of Moses and Joshua (Ex. 17:16). They constantly eroded Israelís confidence in God (Judges 3:13; 6:3, 33; 10:12). Even though Saul had won a battle against the Amalekites, they were still not completely defeated.
8. What was Saulís mission as given to him by Samuel in 1Samuel 15:3, 18?
9. How does 1Samuel 15:8 describe the beginning of Saulís demise?
10. What did Saul say to Samuel when challenged about his obedience to the mission? (1Samuel 15:13-15, 20-21)
11. What was Samuelís main point to Saul? (1Samuel 15:22-23)
12. What are the lessons that we can learn from Saulís life and apply them to our own?
© 2001 Andrew Corbett, Legana, Tasmania