On Wednesday this week the world watched as the United States inaugurated their 46th President. For some, it was a day of celebration and joy – for others, it was a day of frustration and anger. But either way, this inauguration was, and will be, a significant milestone in the history of the United States.
But today I want to talk about another Inauguration Day – one that is equally or even more significant in world history. It just so happens as we’ve been reading along through the book of 1 Samuel that we’ve arrived just this week to witness the Inauguration Day for the First King of Israel – King Saul.
We’ve been leading up to this moment for the past few weeks. We saw three weeks ago how the people of Israel had rejected God as their king! Although God had rescued them from slavery in Egypt and had given them the blessings of the Promised Land, it seems the Israelites no longer wanted to be led by an invisible God – they wanted a human King to lead them like all the other nations around them.
Now of course, God warned them that having a human king would make their lives that much more difficult – human kings take and take and take – but even with that warning, the people insisted and so God decided to give them the king that they so badly desired!
Then two weeks ago, we were introduced to that first King-to-be – a tall and handsome man named Saul. Saul was out looking for his father’s donkeys who had wandered away from the family farm, and in the search for the donkeys, God led Him to cross paths with the prophet Samuel. God had told Samuel earlier that he would send him a man from the tribe of Benjamin and that man was to become Israel’s first King. And so, as Saul approached Samuel – looking for advice as to how to find his father’s donkeys, God told Samuel that this man, Saul, was the man that would lead His people, Israel.
With that knowledge, Samuel then invited Saul to a banquet as the guest of honor, and invited Saul to spend the night at his house – eventually explaining to Saul how God had chosen him to be King. In fact, the next morning as Saul was heading home, Samuel took out a flask of olive oil and anointed him as King of Israel.
Now as you might imagine, Saul could hardly believe what Samuel was saying – I mean, who was He that God should choose him as King? Why, just yesterday he was wandering the hillsides looking for lost donkeys! And now God wanted him to be king over Israel?
And so Samuel gave him a series of signs to prove that what He was saying was true. Samuel told Saul exactly what would happen on Saul’s journey home – who he would meet, where they would be going, even what they would be carrying – and of course, everything happened just as Samuel described.
One of the final things that Samuel said would happen was that the Holy Spirit would come upon Saul and change him into a new person and that He would prophesy along with a group of prophets that He would meet along the road.
And that’s just where we’re going to pick things up today – with Saul on his way home – the anointing oil still dripping down his head – about to meet this group of prophets. Our passage begins in 1 Samuel chapter 10, starting at verse 10.