Saul and the Holy Spirit
1 Samuel 10:6–26
1st & 2nd Samuel Lesson #040
February 9, 2016
“Father, it is a great privilege You have given us to know You, to have a relationship with You, to walk with You, to experience Your grace, because You have done everything for us. Nothing is dependent upon who we are or what we have done. It is dependent upon Jesus Christ. It is not dependent upon our works. It is not dependent upon any human factor. Jesus Christ paid it all.
Father, we know that Your Word is not only inerrant and infallible, breathed out by You, but it is sufficient, meaning that it gives us a sufficient revelation, so that we can then study Your Word and come to understand how the God of Creation, the God who created the heavens, the earth, the seas, all that is in them, the God who created us as human beings in Your image and likeness, created us in order to serve You are and to reflect who You are through the creation. You designed us a certain way. You designed our society, our social laws or divine institutions a specific way.
Those divine institutions must be preserved in order for a society, a culture, to prosper, to be secure, and to go forward. At this time as we look at our nation, and as we are in the process of choosing the next President, we pray that it might be clear who most closely recognizes those divine institutions and will preserve them. Otherwise, we will just continue to sink into a morass of chaos and self-destruction.
Father, as we study in Samuel, we see a great lesson here, because this is exactly what happened to Israel time and time again in the Old Testament. They rejected the divine institutions. But even in this passage, we see that Your grace is always extended even in our disobedience. We pray that we might come to understand the important lessons of this section, and that God the Holy Spirit will make clear to us how we can apply them. We pray this in Christ’s name. Amen.”
We are in 1 Samuel 10. We are moving on. We are going to cover the rest of this chapter. Last week we looked at the section down to about 1 Samuel 10:8–9, dealing with this whole issue of Saul being identified among the prophets, which is in 1 Samuel 10:5, and what that means.
This is truly one of those obscure passages that people run into and think about what in the world is going on here when it talks about Saul being turned into another man, Saul being given a new heart, the Spirit of the Lord coming upon him in 1 Samuel 10:6. He prophesies with these prophets. Just exactly what does that mean?
1 Samuel 10:5 talked about them in terms of being musicians. We looked at that last time, and by way of review, remember in 1 Samuel 8 we learned about Israel’s rejection of God. They rejected Samuel, his sons. The sons were not following in Samuel’s footsteps. They did not want them to rule over them. They wanted to have a king “like all of the other nations.”
It was that phrase “like all the other nations” that was so important because that demonstrates that their motive was wrong. What they wanted was not wrong, because God has made it clear in the Mosaic Law, especially in Deuteronomy 18, that there would eventually be a king. That they wanted a king was not wrong, but their motive for having a king was wrong.
Israel was rejecting God as their King. They were looking for human viewpoint solutions to their political problems. They wanted to be like everybody else. The obvious applications of that for us are too easy to start shooting at. That is a simple target. We are a nation like all the other nations. We want to be like everybody else and solve our problems like everybody else. We do not want to turn to the God of Creation to be the ultimate source.
This nation was founded on Judeo-Christian principles. It was founded primarily by born-again believers who understood the Word. Even if they were not a believer, even if they were not Christians, even if they had not trusted in Christ as Savior, they still came out of a Judeo-Christian worldview. They thought in terms of biblical absolutes.
The reality is when we hold to biblical absolutes, we hold to the divine institutions, then the nation will survive, the nation will prosper. But when we do not, the nation will collapse.
This was exactly part of the Mosaic Covenant that God made with Israel in the Old Testament. He told them that:
- If you follow the Covenant, then you will have life.
- If you follow the Covenant, then I will prosper you.
- If you follow the Covenant, then you will be blessed.
But if you are disobedient, God said “I am going to take you through a series of divine judgments.” Five different cycles of discipline if you:
- continue to harden your hearts
- continue to be rebellious
- continue to turn away from Me in idolatry
- continue to worship all these other gods
- continue to flaunt your disobedience of the divine institutions
Then the result is going to be that I am going to take you out of the land. I have given you this great privilege to have a national homeland in this land I promised to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. If you are disobedient, then I am going to take it away from you.
That has happened twice in Israel’s history. It happened in two stages the first time:
- 1st stage: The northern kingdom in 722 B.C.
- 2nd stage: The southern kingdom in 586 B.C.
Then God in His grace allowed a remnant, a small number, to return to the land. It was not a large number. It was a small number. The majority of Jews, at the time of Christ, still lived in the diaspora.
The remnant was allowed to return, but because of their continued disobedience to God, not because they crucified Jesus, the rejection of Jesus as the Messiah was just part of their arrogance.
In fact, the arrogance that destroyed Israel reminds me so much of what we are seeing in our own country. It was a fragmentation that occurred. I have read in Josephus and others that the Jewish community so subdivided into different antagonistic subsets in Jerusalem that they were killing each other instead of fighting the Romans. They could not even unify in their attack against the Romans.
That is what happens in arrogance. I see that in this country—that you see among especially conservatives, that they are so busy shooting each other that they cannot fight the enemy, which is liberalism.
Liberalism is the enemy. Liberalism is an assault on everything that our Constitution stands for because at its very core, liberalism asserts that the government is the ultimate solution to the problem.
The Constitution is predicated upon the belief that human responsibility is the priority. Each person is responsible for their own prosperity, their work, and what happens in their life. The government is not the solution.
Those are polarized positions. It is either one or the other. The more you get into an irresponsible society where people are no longer taking personal responsibility for their lives, for their future, for their retirement, for the decisions they make, then the more the government has to fill that vacuum. The more people are irresponsible, if left alone, chaos will ensue.
What happens historically is the government’s increase of power. They move into that vacuum. Governments take over in order to prevent a total collapse of the culture because of the irresponsibility and rebelliousness of the people.
The period of the judges is a classic example. In the period of the judges everyone was doing what was right in their own eyes.
What is their solution? Let’s put all the power into the hands of a king. If we put all the power in the hands of the king, then the chaos that has been the result of everybody doing what is right in their own eyes during this period of the judges, which is coming to its end at this point, all of the chaos is finally going to be resolved, and we can have prosperity—not because we have submitted to the authority of God’s Word, but because we have a king.
What is their solution?
We have a federal government that can solve all the problems. That is essentially what they are saying. That was the problem in 1 Samuel 8.
In 1 Samuel 9, God’s provision of the first king is made obvious. Saul is identified by God as the one He has selected to be the first king. Samuel was privately informed about this. God spoke to Samuel and told him who the next king would be, and that Saul would be meeting him the next day.
We see Saul brought into the picture. Saul is introduced to Samuel. Samuel informs him that he is the one that God has chosen to be the king, that there are going to be several authenticating signs.
I keep emphasizing this principle, as we will see again in the rest of 1 Samuel 10, that when God does something in private, it is always authenticated by objective, verifiable signs.
The reason I keep saying that is because one of the great dangers in our culture today is mysticism.
Mysticism is epistemological antinomianism. Most people do not know what epistemological antinomianism means. Epistemological refers to how you know what you know.
How do you know something is true?
We have thrown out rationalism and thrown out empiricism as ultimate sources of truth. The only thing that is left is some sort of internal, intuitive compass that is going to somehow tell us what right is.
Every person has their own internal compass. They can decide what right and wrong is. That is moral relativism.
That is the problem in the period of the judges. In the realm of knowledge and knowing truth and knowing right and wrong, it is thrown into a complete realm of lawlessness. That is the common word for antinomianism.
Mysticism is a threat to civilization because mysticism breaks down authority. The authority is no longer an objective standard of right and wrong that everybody can appeal to whether it is the Constitution, the Bible, or whatever it might be. The only absolute is what “I think” is right.
I have my view. You have your view. Everybody has his or her own view. We get caught up in this idea that we need to respect everybody’s views, but you cannot respect somebody’s views that are wrong. There are rights and there are wrongs.
You are a fool if you respect somebody’s views that are wrong. I can respect their right to be wrong, but I cannot respect their views because they are wrong and they are self-destructive.
I do not want these idiots out there, who are following liberalism, to destroy my prosperity, my happiness, and my life. I get upset about that, but it is my life. It is the life of this country. We cannot let people who are operating on self-destructive ideas destroy what we have in this country. That is just wrong.
That is what happened in Israel. It will probably happen here. That is what happened in France. It has happened at times in Britain. It has happened in numerous countries around the world because they all failed the prosperity test.
So Saul is going to be privately identified and anointed by Samuel. We see that at the beginning of 1 Samuel 10. The anointing is going to be publically authenticated. In mysticism everything is private.
How do you know it is truth?
It is like the Mormons say, “I have this burning in my bosom.” As I like to say, “They’ve got liver quiver.” There is something inside that says this is right and I am right. It does not matter what the evidence is. It does not matter what anybody else says. I know it is true despite everything that is against it. That is mysticism.
Authentication shows that God never works that way. God does not give private revelation to people without giving public authentication and validation that can be objectified. He is the God of reality. He is not an irrational god.
What we see in 1 Samuel 9 is the rise of Saul. The prelude is 1 Samuel 8. We see the rise of Saul. He will continue to rise until he self-destructs in 1 Samuel 15, but then we will see his decline in the rest of the book. That is going to be contrasted with the rise of David.
In 1 Samuel 10 we see that Samuel anoints Saul.
The anointing is going to take place in Ramah, just north of Gibeah. This is about 8–10 miles north of Jerusalem. This is where Samuel’s home is. As we have seen in our outline:
- In 1 Samuel 9 the Lord directed Samuel to select Saul to be king over Israel.
- In 1 Samuel 10 the Lord directed Samuel to anoint Saul and confirm that appointment through the changes that happen to Saul.
Samuel says to Saul in 1 Samuel 10:1, “Is it not because the Lord has anointed you commander over His inheritance?”
That is the Hebrew word mashach, which is the noun form mashiach, messiah. It has to do with someone who is anointed or appointed to a mission.
Up to this point only priests had been anointed. Saul is anointed king. David will be anointed king. Later Jehu will be anointed king. There are two or three others who are mentioned as having been anointed. The text does not tell us about every king being anointed, but they were anointed under the authority and by the authority of a prophet.
That sets a pattern. Even Jesus, who will be the future king of Israel, is anointed first by a prophet. That shows that the ruler is to be under the authority of God, whose authority is symbolized by the prophet.
Samuel is giving Saul his first lesson—that if he is going to be king, he has to be under the authority of God. If he violates the authority of God, it will lead to a collapse.
In 1 Samuel 10:8, Samuel is going to give him specific directions in terms of what he is to do. “You shall go down before me to Gilgal.” As the prophet, Samuel can directly order the king. It is also interesting here that the language he uses is different. Samuel says, “The Lord has anointed you commander over His inheritance.”
That is the word that is in the lower left box, nagid, which is the word for a prince or leader or ruler. Initially it does not say God has anointed you “king” over His people, because God is still the King. Yahweh is still the King over Israel. It is still a theocracy.
But when we get over to 1 Samuel 12:13 Saul will clearly be identified as the king.
Saul is going to be presented in 1 Samuel 12:13, “Now therefore, here is the king whom you have chosen and whom you have desired. And take note, the Lord has set a king over you.”
But by using the word nagid here, Samuel is emphasizing that Saul is not a despot. He is not an autonomous king. He is a king under the authority of God.
As we continue to look at this situation, Samuel tells Saul some things that are going to happen.
Samuel says in 1 Samuel 10:6, “Then the Spirit of the Lord will come upon you, and you will prophesy with them and be turned into another man.”
We are going to have to examine what that means.
1 Samuel 10:7, “And let it be, when these signs come to you, that you do as the occasion demands; for God is with you.”
1 Samuel 10:9, “So it was, when he had turned his back to go from Samuel, that God gave him another heart.”
Saul has turned into another man. God is going to give him another heart. We have to ask the questions here:
- Just what exactly does this mean?
- Is this talking about this is the time when Saul is regenerate?
It sounds like regeneration language. The problem is regeneration is the result of what? Belief in the salvation promise.
There is no statement here of Saul believing any promise of God. I believe that what happens here is related to his mission as the king. It would not be expressed this way unless Saul was already regenerate.
We are going to get into some questions related to that because there are a number of people who do not think that Saul was regenerate.
One of these signs that Samuel mentions is in 1 Samuel 10:3, “Then you shall go forward from there and come to the terebinth tree of Tabor. There three men going up to God at Bethel will meet you, one is going to be carrying three young goats, another carrying three loaves of bread, and another carrying a skin of wine.”
Danny Burrows is a farmer up in East Texas. He e-mailed me the next day and he said, “How easy is it to carry three goats?”
See, I am not going to think about that because I am not a farmer, but he raises goats. They are young goats. They have to be baby goats. He sent me a picture. This is his grandson and he has got two baby goats in his left hand, but the goat to the right is too big, so he could not pick up all three of them if it was a mature goat, so it has got to be three baby goats. It is interesting. Different backgrounds see different things in Scripture.
As we were looking at this last time, we came to where Samuel says in 1 Samuel 10:5, “After that you shall come to the hill of God …”
The Hebrew word for “hill” is gibeah. There is Gibeah of Saul and this is the Gibeah of God, which today is identified as Geba. This is the “hill of God,” Geba, which is a couple of miles north of Gibeah of Saul.
1 Samuel 10:5, “… where the Philistine garrison is. And it will happen, when you have come there to the city, that you will meet a group of prophets coming down from the high place with a stringed instrument, a tambourine, a flute, and a harp before them; and they will be prophesying.”
As I pointed out last time, prophesying is something we often think of as a prophet declaring revelation from God to His people. Often the prophet is presented as bringing an indictment, as you will see from Samuel before the end of the chapter, an indictment against Israel on the basis of their violation of a covenant.
But that is not what goes on here.
This has led a number of people to think that what is going on here must be what goes on in these other pagan religions—some sort of ecstatic prophecy. I pointed out last time that the problem we have in a lot of Old Testament studies is that they think that the pagans had the ideas first. The Bible evolved from that and copied what the pagans were doing.
But it is just the reverse. God sets the primary standard. The chicken comes first, then the egg, not the other way around. God sets the absolute standard and the criteria, what revelation is.
Paganism has corrupted and distorted what the Bible presents. The modus operandi of paganism is emotional ecstacism, which is defined as an individual doing something, either through drugs or alcohol or music, to try to enter into this kind of altered state of consciousness where he thinks he is communicating with God. Then he identifies whatever comes to his mind in that state as divine revelation.
What I pointed out last time, as we looked at passages, especially 1 Chronicles 25:1–3, is in that passage, prophecy is linked with music.
This is a second way in which the word “prophecy” is used. It is used in relation to singing psalms of praise to God. I pointed out that:
- Miriam the prophetess wrote a hymn of victory after God delivered the Israelites from Pharaoh.
- Deborah in Judges 4:1 is identified as a prophetess. In Judges 5 you have this psalm, the hymn of Deborah, a victory hymn.
This is what we see here in 1 Chronicles 25:1–3:
- In 1 Chronicles 25:1 “… some of the sons of Asaph … who should prophesy with harps, stringed instruments, and cymbals. And the number of the skilled men performing their service was:”
- Again at the end of 1 Chronicles 25:2, “… who prophesied according to the order of the king.”
- And in 1 Chronicles 25:3, “… who prophesied with a harp to give thanks and to praise the Lord.”
Thanksgiving psalms and declarative praise psalms are two of the categories of psalms that we have. This makes it clear that this is not some sort of ecstatic utterance. Ecstatics is based upon mysticism and irrationalism.
Ecstatics has nothing to do with God the Holy Spirit, Who communicates on the basis of language. It is rational. It can be rationally understood. It is understood with our minds.
As we look at this, one of the things I want to point out is in a previous verse. In 1 Samuel 10:6 we have to answer these questions:
- What does it mean that Saul is turned into another man?
- What does it mean that God gave him another heart?
Basically what this means is that Saul is already regenerate. There is no indication anywhere in the Old Testament of God sending the Holy Spirit to act like this or to empower a leader. We will get into the doctrine of the Holy Spirit in the Old Testament either before we finish tonight or next week. But there is no indication that this ever happens to an unbeliever in the Old Testament.
This happens to a believer, but it does not happen in the Old Testament in relation to either salvation, that is justification, or in relation to their spiritual life. The Holy Spirit is given to “specific individuals” to perform certain specific tasks in relationship to the leadership of the nation:
- Craftsmen, like Aholiab and Bezalel with the tabernacle, building the furniture. The Spirit of the Lord came upon them.
- Different judges. The Spirit of the Lord came upon them.
- Certain kings. Saul and David are specifically stated to have been given the Holy Spirit, but it is not an indwelling like we have in the Church Age or what will be under the New Covenant. It is a temporary enduement or empowerment to fulfill leadership responsibilities for God’s covenant people.
That is really important. We will get into this later on because a lot of people think that when David prays to God in Psalm 51 not to take His Holy Spirit from him that that indicates a loss of salvation.
Other people are concerned because in the New Testament the indwelling of the Holy Spirit is a pledge of our salvation. It is a guarantee of our salvation. It is part of eternal security.
If they did not have the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in the Old Testament, are they eternally secure? People have questions about that. We are going to have to study that.
But what I want to do is go through 1 Samuel 10 first. Then we will look at that particular doctrine when we come out of it.
What we see here is that these two verses indicate that there is some profound change that takes place in Saul. The Spirit of the Lord comes upon Saul. We will look at the language there. It is the same language that is used to describe the Spirit of God coming upon Samson that gave him the power that he had at the end of the period of the Judges.
1 Samuel 10:6, “Then the Spirit of the Lord will come upon you … and you will be turned into another man.”
That terminology is used to describe something that changes from one thing to another, that “… your grief will be turned to joy …” “Your cursing will be turned to blessing …”
It expresses this transformation from one thing to its polar opposite. It has to do with God’s provision, His empowerment of Saul to lead Israel and to rule over Israel. I do not think this is his regeneration at this point, but reflects the fact that he is already regenerate.
There are a number of people who think that Saul was not regenerate. Usually what you hear is that he is so rebellious later on in life. He is carnal. He goes to the witch of Endor for guidance. This is not the life, the character qualities, of someone who is truly regenerate. That is the lordship position. There are a couple of problems with that.
One of the problems is that it does not take into account the passage we have studied many times in Romans 6:3–6 that talks about the foundation of the Church Age spiritual life as being the baptism by the Holy Spirit.
When we are identified with Christ in His death, burial, and resurrection, the power, the tyranny, of the sin nature is broken. That is Paul’s whole argument as we have studied in Romans 6.
This never happened before the Day of Pentecost. No one was ever baptized by the Holy Spirit before the Day of Pentecost. Therefore, no Old Testament saint, no matter how wonderful they were, no matter how mature they were, no matter how much they were used by God, had experienced the baptism by the Holy Spirit.
Therefore, no Old Testament saint had had the power of their sin nature broken.
You think about that. They were struggling in many ways without the kind of aid, assistance, or changes that you and I have had as a result of our faith in Christ and baptism by the Holy Spirit.
In the Old Testament they are still under the tyranny of the sin nature.
When you look at someone like Saul with an argument that regeneration would change that, no, regeneration does not change that. It is the baptism of the Holy Spirit that might have that kind of a difference. But that argument does not wash at all.
The real key to understanding Saul’s salvation is that Saul was destined for eternity in Heaven. It is found in 1 Samuel 28 where we read that Saul goes to the witch of Endor. He is trying to find some divine guidance. He turns to the occult, which is forbidden, prohibited, by the Mosaic Law. He turns to the occult to find answers.
You can always tell when a believer has really hit rock bottom. They no longer turn to God for answers. They turn to anything and everything else for a solution for their problems. When it is really bad they start turning to the occult. They start turning to Satan and demons in order to find answers to their problems.
Saul goes to the witch of Endor. He has disguised himself so she will not recognize that he is the king. Earlier Saul had banned all necromancers and all witches from Israel.
So Saul comes to her and wants her to call up Samuel. About that time, she recognizes that this is Saul. She accuses him, and Saul has to admit who he is. The witch starts to call up Samuel.
Normally these necromancers, these mediums that would try to contact the dead were either in league with some sort of demonic involvement where a demon would cause a counterfeit to occur, or they were a ventriloquist, because the Greek word that is used in the Septuagint to translate this is the word engastrimythos, which has to do with being a ventriloquist.
What they would do is cast their voice at the ground. It would sound as if the person was speaking from the grave, speaking up from the ground. This would then convince the person who had gone to the medium that the person they wanted to contact was actually speaking to them.
But what happened here was Samuel actually appeared. That is what blew Saul’s cover. And when Samuel appeared, then all of a sudden the witch realized that something was different. This was not the normal operating procedure. Now she was going to be in trouble. Saul was not there to catch her at it. He was there because he was desperate to know what to do about the Philistines.
Samuel is a little miffed. He has been called up from Sheol, specifically Paradise, Abraham’s Bosom, in Sheol. Samuel says to Saul, in 1 Samuel 28:15a, “Why have you disturbed me by bringing me up?”
What is wrong with you? I was there in perfect environment and you called me back to this pig sty of an earth, the devil’s world! Why are you doing this?
Saul says that he is deeply distressed. I am just about pulling my hair out. I am scared to death. Everything is falling apart! The Philistines are making war against me. They are going to defeat me. God has left me. I am going to go eat dirt! Everybody has left me alone and deserted me, and there is no hope. You were the only hope. The prophets do not talk to me. God does not give me any guidance. I called you to reveal what I should do.
Samuel said in 1 Samuel 28:15b, “So why do you ask me, seeing the Lord has departed from you and has become your enemy?”
You have become the enemy of God because of your rebelliousness. God is taking you through this discipline.
Samuel goes on to say in 1 Samuel 28:17–18, “And the Lord has done for Himself as He spoke by me. For the Lord has torn the kingdom out of your hand and given it to your neighbor, David. Because you did not obey the voice of the Lord nor execute His fierce wrath upon Amalek, therefore the Lord has done this thing to you this day.”
Then the important verse is 1 Samuel 28:19, “Moreover the Lord will also deliver Israel with you into the hand of the Philistines.” You are going to lose and the whole country is going to go under the hand and power of the Philistines. “And tomorrow …” This is probably late at night, the wee hours of the morning. “… you and your sons will be with me. The Lord will also deliver the army of Israel into the hand of the Philistines.”
It says in 1 Samuel 28:19b, “And tomorrow you and your sons will be with me. The Lord will also deliver the army of Israel into the hand of the Philistines.”
What do you think that means? Some people say that all he is talking about is that you are going to be dead like I am. But I do not think that is what he is saying. He is saying, “you and your sons are going to be with me.” That is a much more intimate term.
Some people say that he means that he is going to be with me in Sheol. But in the New Testament there is this story that Jesus tells in Luke 16:19–31. It is not a parable because one of the people involved is specifically named.
In parables you do not name the people because you are not talking about actual individuals. There are two people. There is the rich man. And there is this beggar, this homeless guy that lives outside the rich man’s front gate, who is named Lazarus.
The rich man ignores Lazarus and never gives him anything. He never offers to help Lazarus. Lazarus dies, and the rich man dies. They both go to Sheol.
Sheol is made up of two compartments. We have Abraham’s Bosom, which is also called Paradise, and this is where Lazarus is. There is an impassable barrier, and on the opposite side there is a place called Torments, which is where the rich man is.
In terms of this story, Jesus apparently gives an allowance. The rich man could see Lazarus. This is probably not Lazarus of John 11. Lazarus was a common name. There is also a place in Sheol called Tartarus, which is where some of the demons are bound.
The rich man is in Torments. Lazarus and Old Testament believers are in Abraham’s Bosom. What happens is that the rich man sees Lazarus. He begs Abraham to let Lazarus stick his finger in the water, this great gulf that is fixed between the two locations, and to put water on his tongue because he is going through these fiery torments.
Then Abraham says that that is not really going to help at all. They go through this dialogue, and towards the end, what happens is that the rich man tries to convince Abraham to let Lazarus be resurrected so that he can tell his brothers. Abraham’s Bosom does not exist anymore. This is Paradise.
Paradise, according to 2 Corinthians 12:4 and Revelation 2:7 has been moved to Heaven after the Cross. All that is left is Torments. This is the holding cell for all unbelievers until they are brought out of Sheol at the Great White Throne Judgment, which is when they will be evaluated. Their works will not be good enough. They will be sent to the Lake of Fire.
What the rich man says in Luke 15:28 is, “for I have five brothers, that he may testify to them ...” Let Lazarus go back and testify to them. “… lest they also come to this place of torment.” The point I am making here is that if they die they will come here and be with me in Torments.
So when Samuel says to Saul that he “will be with me,” he is not talking generically saying you will be in Torments, and I will be in Abraham’s Bosom. The language of Scripture is more precise than that.
What Samuel is saying is, no, you are going to be with me. I am in Abraham’s Bosom. You Saul, are going to be in Abraham’s Bosom also. You are a believer, so you are not going to be in Torments. This is the argument for why Saul is a believer.
So when we look at these passages, this is not talking about Saul being regenerate. It is talking about God giving him the ability to lead Israel through this enduement of God the Holy Spirit.
We look at 1 Samuel 10:8. At this point Samuel begins to give guidance and instruction to Saul as to what he should do next. We will get into this in the next couple of weeks, but this introduces one of the chronological conundrums of Samuel. We have in 1 Samuel 10:8, Samuel telling Saul, “You shall go down before me to Gilgal …”
Here is a map. Here is the location in Ramah. Gilgal is located down near the Jordon. This is the location where Israel had crossed over the Jordan, when they entered into the land. This is where they reaffirmed the covenant with God. They built a monument there to remind them about how God brought them into the land. Samuel tells them to go to Gilgal and to wait for him. But this is not mentioned again until we get to 1 Samuel 11:14.
1 Samuel 11:14, “Then Samuel said to the people, ‘Come, let us go to Gilgal and renew the kingdom there.’ ”
But what happens in between is that Saul gets involved in a battle with Nahash the Ammonite to protect Israel. He is functioning as a king or as an executive power should.
That’s the role of government—to protect a nation and their national borders from the advances of the enemy. When you do not preserve the borders of a nation, then you are, in effect, an enemy of that nation. You are allowing the nation to be overrun by its enemies. That comes under the divine institution of nations or nationalism.
As the story goes on, Saul goes down and runs into the prophets. The Spirit of God came on him. He prophesied as he was singing songs with the prophets. “The Spirit of the Lord came upon him mightily.”
The word that is used there in 1 Samuel 10:10 is the word that is used in Judges 14:6, “The Spirit of the Lord came upon him mightily, so that he tore him as one tears a young goat ...” That is Samson killing the lion.
Judges 14:19, “Then the Spirit of the Lord came upon him mightily, and he went down to Ashkelon and killed thirty of them …” That is the same verbiage that is used in relation to the Spirit of the Lord coming upon Saul.
Also describing the Spirit of the Lord coming upon Samson when he breaks the ropes that he has been tied with is Judges 15:14:
“When he came to Lehi, the Philistines shouted as they met him. And the Spirit of the Lord came upon him mightily so that the ropes that were on his arms were as flax that is burned with fire, and his bonds dropped from his hands.”
1 Samuel 11:6, “Then the Spirit of God came upon Saul mightily when he heard these words, and he became very angry.”
The same word describes the Spirit of the Lord coming upon David when Samuel anointed David.
1 Samuel 16:13, “Then Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the midst of his brothers; and the Spirit of the Lord came mightily upon David from that day forward. And Samuel arose and went to Ramah.”
We see this in a number of these passages. This shows that this is a very real empowerment of God the Holy Spirit on Saul. You cannot get away with saying that he is not a believer. This kind of action only occurs on those who are believers.
As we continue in the story, we read down in 1 Samuel 10:10 as they are progressing with the prophets and Saul is singing with them.
1 Samuel 10:10–11, “When they came there to the hill, there was a group of prophets to meet him; then the Spirit of God came upon him, and he prophesied among them. And it happened, when all who knew him formerly saw that he indeed prophesied among the prophets, that the people said to one another, ‘What is this that has come upon the son of Kish? Is Saul also among the prophets?’ ”
All of his buddies are hearing that Saul is now singing with the prophets. They started to ask each other, “What has happened to the son of Kish?” They are emphasizing Saul’s father and his linage.
The question comes up later in the prophets—“are you a prophet or a son of a prophet?” He does not have the lineage to be a prophet. The idea is that his father is Kish. Kish is not a prophet. What in the world is going on here with Saul?
The basic question that is going on here is that it reflects this pagan assumption that the gifts were hereditary, that this should come from the father. But the question that comes up is in 1 Samuel 10:12.
1 Samuel 10:12, “Then a man from there answered and said, ‘But who is their father?’ Therefore it became a proverb: ‘Is Saul also among the prophets?’ ”
Who is the father of these prophets? Their fathers were not prophets either. The point that he is making is that the Spirit of God is going to come on whom He will. It is not a hereditary gift. Spiritual gifts are not hereditary.
I have found it very interesting that for the first time, there have been a few cases in history where our fathers had a great ministry (like Jonathan Edwards) in many cases, where their sons have taken over.
And they have been somewhat heretical. Jonathan Edwards the younger was certainly heretical and brought in what became known as New England theology. He was very instrumental in that.
I know a pastor in Atlanta who is very orthodox. His son went through Dallas Seminary. Last Tuesday night we watched that film from the Pre-Trib. conference, Paul Wilkinson’s talk on this new Christian Palestinianism.
This pastor’s son, who pastors a mega-church in Atlanta also, is now an anti Christian-Zionist. He has fallen in with this pro-Christian-Palestinian crowd.
It is amazing. I look on this generation. I have never seen so many sons of pastors who have followed in their father’s footsteps. We have one here in a very large, probably the largest church in America, right here in Houston. The guy never thought he should be a pastor until his father died and now he is. Down there at the Summit, Joel Osteen. We have seen this again and again and again.
What this is emphasizing is that the giftedness from God is not a hereditary thing. It may be in a few cases, but it is not as normal as we are seeing in our culture today. I think that a lot of people are going into their “family business.”
1 Samuel 10:12, “Then a man from there answered and said, ‘But who is their father?’ Therefore it became a proverb: ‘Is Saul also among the prophets?’ ”
Their father is not a prophet. Saul’s father is not a prophet. Heredity has nothing to do with what is going on. It became proverbial that Saul was numbered among the prophets. They were accepting what happened as a sign that God was authenticating the anointing of Saul. They are accepting that.
Then Saul went home. He went down about five or six miles to Gibeah of Saul.
1 Samuel 10:15, “And Saul’s uncle said, ‘Tell me, please, what Samuel said to you.’ ”
You would think that when he came home and had had a lot of exciting things happen:
- Saul met a prophet.
- The prophet has told Saul that Saul is going to be the new king of Israel.
- The Holy Spirit has given Saul certain signs and all kinds of things happen.
- The Holy Spirit came on Saul.
- Saul sang with the prophets.
- It has been an eventful day.
But Saul does not tell him any of these things.
1 Samuel 10:16, “So Saul said to his uncle, ‘He told us plainly that the donkeys had been found.’ But about the matter of the kingdom, he did not tell him what Samuel had said.”
I think this is a bit of subtle foreshadowing that indicates something about Saul’s character. We are going to see something else about this before we get to the end of the chapter. I think Saul is overwhelmed at this point. I do not think that this is a huge negative, but I think he does not know what to do with this.
As we see, he is not really spiritually inclined. This whole thing, about his being under the authority of God, God appointing him king, and he is supposed to be loyal to the covenant, is outside his whole frame of reference.
It foreshadows that eventually this is going to be a problem for Saul.
The next event that happens is not only has there been this authentication of Saul’s anointing by what occurred as he sang with the prophets, but Samuel is going to have an even more public authentication of Saul. Saul is going to indict Israel.
1 Samuel 10:17–18, “Then Samuel called the people together to the Lord at Mizpah, and said to the children of Israel, ‘Thus says the Lord God of Israel: “I brought up Israel out of Egypt, and delivered you from the hand of the Egyptians and from the hand of all kingdoms and from those who oppressed you.” ’ ”
What we see here is Samuel is using language that is reminiscent of other earlier prophets in condemning Israel for not remembering:
- What God had done for them.
- How God had delivered them from their slavery in Egypt.
- How He has protected them from the assaults of other nations.
All of this is important because of the site that they go to. They go to Mizpah.
Here is the location of Mizpah, just to the northwest of Ramah, Samuel’s hometown. Mizpah had quite a history:
1. First it was founded in Genesis 31 when Laban and Jacob reached an agreement after Jacob returned to the land. There was a peace covenant that was made between them, according to Genesis 31:41.
2. Later on we learn that Mizpah was allotted to the tribe of Benjamin in Joshua 18:2, 26. This is part of the area that we are looking at north of Jerusalem. Jerusalem was on the borderline between Judah and Benjamin. They are going to gather there. This was the site of a terrible war that occurred with Benjamin, where the rest of the tribes were at war with Benjamin and almost annihilated all of the Benjamites. It was the site where Israel took an oath not to let their daughters marry the Benjamites.
3. It is a reminder of the spiritual failure of Benjamin. And, of course, Saul is of what tribe? He is of the tribe of Benjamin. Again, this is a negative tone that we see here in reference to Mizpah.
4. But there is one positive thing about Mizpah that is recent. That is what we saw in 1 Samuel 7:5. Samuel summoned the people to Mizpah to turn to the Lord and to turn away from the idols that they had worshipped. The people did come together. They turned back to the Lord. They confessed their sin before the Lord before they were going to go into the battle with the Philistines.
But what happened?
5. The Philistines came along and heard that they were meeting there. They were going to attack Israel. God miraculously delivered them. He thundered from Heaven, which confused the Philistines. Then they set up a memorial stone. Samuel set up a memorial stone just outside of Mizpah. He called this memorial stone the stone of Ebenezer.
The phrase Ebenezer means the Rock of Help.
- Ezer is an assistant, a helper. It refers to God.
- Eben is the word for Rock.
That word Ebenezer has come into modern Christian language through a hymn that we often sing, “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing.”
This is the second stanza of “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing.” Often this is just obscure to most Christians. They sing this but they do not really know what it means. It is the second stanza, written by Robert Robinson, who was really concerned about the fact that he tended to drift away from the Lord.
The story is told that later in life, he had been away from the Lord for a long time. He was on a carriage ride. A young girl got on the carriage with him and was getting to know him. She realized who he was. She told him how much she loved his hymn.
Robinson broke down weeping because in the hymn he recognizes that he is prone to wander from the Lord I love. He had been wandering for many years. He was really under conviction that he really needed to turn back to the Lord.
This is part of the hymn:
“Sorrowing I shall be in spirit,
Till released from flesh and sin,
Yet from what I do inherit,
Here Thy praises I’ll begin;
Here I raise my Ebenezer;
Here by Thy great help I’ve come;
And I hope, by Thy good pleasure,
Safely to arrive at home.”
It is a struggle in life. Here at this point in my life I am going to raise this rock of memory, Ebenezer. God has helped me to get this far in my life. What he is saying is that like this Rock of God’s help in Samuel, he is establishing this benchmark in his life. God helped him get this far, and he hopes that God will help get him the rest of the way.
What has happened with Israel in this indictment from Samuel, who is saying that they had forgotten what God has done for you in the past, is that they are not depending upon Him to get you the rest of the way.
There is a New Testament promise that relates to this. Paul says:
Philippians 1:6, “… being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.”
God is going to continue to work in us. The problem is that some people fade out, and then God’s work in us is going to take the form of discipline rather than helping us to grow.
Samuel brings all the tribes together. He is going to go through this “lot” selection, somewhat like what has occurred in other episodes in the Old Testament.
For example, in Joshua 7 the sin of Achan after the defeat of Jericho. The leaders are going to identify who the culprit is. Who has sinned? They go through the process of using the “lot.”
Proverbs 16:33 says that the “decision of the lot is the Lord’s.”
1 Samuel 10:20–21, “And when Samuel had caused all the tribes of Israel to come near, the tribe of Benjamin was chosen. When he had caused the tribe of Benjamin to come near by their families, the family of Matri was chosen. And Saul the son of Kish was chosen. But when they sought him, he could not be found.”
In 1 Samuel 10:20–21 Samuel goes through this lot selection process. They choose the tribes. Of the tribes they choose Benjamin. Then they go through the various clans. The clan of Matri is chosen. They go through the various families. The family of Kish is chosen. Saul is the one who is chosen, but they cannot find Saul. Saul is out hiding with the baggage train. He is uncomfortable still with this new role that is coming.
1 Samuel 10:22, “Therefore they inquired of the Lord further, ‘Has the man come here yet?’ And the Lord answered, ‘There he is, hidden among the equipment.’ ”
They inquire of the Lord. And the Lord said that he was hiding with the baggage train. That confirms the fact that the Lord has selected Saul, even though Saul is not enthusiastic about accepting the responsibility.
1 Samuel 10:23, “So they ran and brought him from there; and when he stood among the people, he was taller than any of the people from his shoulders upward.”
Here is an interesting thing about this particular statement. It is that the author emphasizes Saul’s height. You have heard me make a couple of comments that there is a lot of stuff written by political science majors, PhDs, students on the fly, that Americans tend to select people who are taller to be their politicians, for various different reasons.
I pointed out that in the middle of an election season, the person that many of us would like the most because he is the most Constitutional, is one of the shortest candidates. I do not know what that is going to mean, because he is probably going to run against an even shorter candidate, but she is a woman, so that changes the whole thing.
I am just saying this is a trend in America. How can you expect a rebellious pagan, post-modern culture to pick people on the basis of character and quality? You cannot. I think we may be setting ourselves up for disappointment if we do.
But that is an American value. We want a tall guy. Sam Houston was a tall guy. George Washington was a tall guy. Andrew Jackson was a tall guy. We like tall men because they look like they can protect us, and they can lead.
That was not necessarily the value system in Israel. In the Bible the only people who are mentioned as tall are pagans, unbelievers, and enemies of Israel. You have various groups that are mentioned as being tall.
The pre-Israelite residents of Canaan in Numbers 13 are tall. There are Anakim in the land. We cannot defeat them!
Incidentally, Goliath was a descendent of the Anakim. You also had Og of Bashan. You had the Cushites, the Sabeans, and the Amorites.
These are all mentioned as being tall people, but they are all enemies of Israel. David was a godly king, and he was short. This is a little hint. I think it is a foreshadowing. Saul is a tall guy. Tall guys are not good guys in the Bible. There is a negative there. The enemies of Israel are the tall guys. I think this is a way in which this is weaving this foreshadowing into the story.
Saul will eventually become an enemy of Israel.
1 Samuel 10:24, “And Samuel said to all the people, ‘Do you see him whom the Lord has chosen, that there is no one like him among all the people?’ ”
This emphasizes that Saul is God’s choice. God has chosen a guy that is going to be a failure, because He has to teach Israel a lesson. Sometimes we have to have bad leaders in order for us to learn humility and learn lessons.
“So all the people shouted and said, ‘Long live the king!’ ”
1 Samuel 10:25, “Then Samuel explained to the people the behavior of royalty, and wrote it in a book and laid it up before the Lord. And Samuel sent all the people away, every man to his house.”
The people found him. The Israelites shout out “Long live the king!” Then Samuel began to explain to them the behavior of royalty. How the kingship is going to operate. He wrote it in a book. There is a revelation that is given. This is the way that the king is to function under the authority of God. Then he sent everybody away.
1 Samuel 10:26, “And Saul also went home to Gibeah; and valiant men went with him, whose hearts God had touched.”
I am going to come back later and deal with this because this is a textual mess with this last verse. I do not have time to get into this. We will come back to this in a couple of weeks, as we set up the transition into 1 Samuel 11.
Next time I want to take the time to look at the doctrine of the Holy Spirit in the Old Testament to help us understand the distinctions between the role of the Holy Spirit in the Old Testament, and the role of the Holy Spirit in the church age.
“Father, we thank You for this opportunity to look at these events in Israel’s history, as they have patterns and principles that apply to us today. We see the same issues that when a people turns away from You that You will bring judgment on them, whether they are the covenant people of Israel, or Gentiles. Other times in the Old Testament we see Your judgment on Gentile nations for their rebellion against You. We have the promise in Jeremiah 18 that any nation that turns away from their wicked ways and turns to You that you will restore them. That is a promise that applies to any nation, not just to Israel.
Father, we pray that our nation would get to the point that they would recognize that the path that we are on is a path of self-destruction, and the only way to recover is to turn back to You. But Father, if that does not happen, and we live in a nation that is under divine judgment, we pray that we as believers would stand forth as shining lights to a wicked and perverse generation, and that we would be a testimony, that we would proclaim the truth of Your Word to those around us that they too may know the truth of Your Word. We pray this in Christ’s name. Amen.”