The book of Samuel, last of the judges, bridges the gap between the periods when Israel looked solely to God for leadership before demanding an earthly king to rule them. Remember the exodus from Egypt and the Covenant with the people through Moses on Mt. Sinai. The Covenant was followed by Joshua, though the people still stumbled with it; more so, in the era of the Judges. This nation of the Hebrews always wrestled with God and hung between the Blessing and the Curse.
Samuel was the son of Elkanah and Hannah; Hannah was barren. She prayed to the Lord for a child and promised that if she conceived, she would give her child to God. She then bore Samuel who was given to the priesthood when he was weaned (1 Samuel 1:15). “Samuel judged Israel as long as he lived” calling them to return to the Lord with their whole heart. Their adventures go well as they follow this course; but, Israel eventually wants to be like all the other people and they demand a king.
Samuel takes their concerns to the Lord. And the Lord said to Samuel: “Listen to the voice of the people, to all that they say to you, for they have not rejected you, but they
have rejected Me from being King over them” (1 Samuel 8:7). So, Samuel anoints Saul of the tribe of Benjamin. He’s so confident that he is found hiding at his inauguration (I Samuel 10:22). But he’s tall and has all the measurable of a leader. Saul stinks as a leader; becomes self-absorbed and eventually consorts with witches (1 Samuel 28:7). He came into the story a first-round pick, but in the end, he fails miserably and falls on his sword.
From Saul’s beginning to his end, God could see His people going nowhere. Then Saul said to Samuel, “I have sinned. I violated the Lord’s command and your instructions. I was afraid of the men and so I gave in to them.” Positional power does not make a leader; a transformational king is needed. So Samuel is sent to the house of Jesse, a Benjamite, for a reliever. It’s so often the case, the best ones sometime appear in the least likely of packages. The youngest of Jesse’s sons, a boy named David is chosen. “So he sent and brought him in. Now he was ruddy, with bright eyes, and good-looking. And the Lord said, ‘Arise, anoint him for this is the one” (1 Samuel 16:12). God was rejected, yet He was committed to call his people to Himself even through a king.
A man after God’s own heart, show Him your Goliath! Ain’t it so!