Saul Meets Samuel
1Kish was a wealthy man who belonged to the tribe of Benjamin. His father was Abiel, his grandfather was Zeror, his great-grandfather was Becorath, and his great-great-grandfather was Aphiah. 2Kish had a son named Saul, who was better looking and more than a head taller than anyone else in all Israel.
3Kish owned some donkeys, but they had run off. So he told Saul, “Take one of the servants and go look for the donkeys.”
4Saul and the servant went through the hill country of Ephraim and the territory of Shalishah, but they could not find the donkeys. Then they went through the territories of Shaalim and Benjamin, but still there was no sign of the donkeys. 5Finally they came to the territory where the clan of Zuph lived. “Let's go back home,” Saul told his servant. “If we don't go back soon, my father will stop worrying about the donkeys and start worrying about us!”
6“Wait!” the servant answered. “There's a man of God who lives in a town near here. He's amazing! Everything he says comes true. Let's talk to him. Maybe he can tell us where to look.”
7Saul said, “How can we talk to the prophet when I don't have anything to give him? We don't even have any bread left in our sacks. What can we give him?”
8“I have a small piece of silver,” the servant answered. “We can give him that, and then he will tell us where to look for the donkeys.”
9-10“Great!” Saul replied. “Let's go to the man who can see visions!” He said this because in those days God would answer questions by giving visions to prophets.
Saul and his servant went to the town where the prophet lived. 11As they were going up the hill to the town, they met some young women coming out to get water, and the two men said to them, “We're looking for the man who can see visions. Is he in town?”
12“Yes, he is,” they replied. “He's in town today because there's going to be a sacrifice and a sacred meal at the place of worship. In fact, he's just ahead of you. Hurry 13and you should find him right inside the town gate. He's on his way out to the place of worship to eat with the invited guests. They can't start eating until he blesses the sacrifice. If you go now, you should find him.”
14They went to the town, and just as they were going through the gate, Samuel was coming out on his way to the place of worship.
15The day before Saul came, the Lord had told Samuel, 16“I've seen how my people are suffering, and I've heard their call for help. About this time tomorrow I'll send you a man from the tribe of Benjamin, who will rescue my people from the Philistines. I want you to pour olive oil on his head to show that he will be their leader.”
17Samuel looked at Saul, and the Lord told Samuel, “This is the man I told you about. He's the one who will rule Israel.”
18Saul went over to Samuel in the gateway and said, “A man who can see visions lives here in town. Could you tell me the way to his house?”
19“I am the one who sees visions!” Samuel answered. “Go on up to the place of worship. You will eat with me today, and in the morning I'll answer your questions. 20Don't worry about your donkeys that ran off three days ago. They've already been found. Everything of value in Israel now belongs to you and your family.”
21“Why are you telling me this?” Saul asked. “I'm from Benjamin, the smallest tribe in Israel, and my clan is the least important in the tribe.”
Saul Eats with Samuel
22Samuel took Saul and his servant into the dining room at the place of worship. About 30 people were there for the dinner, but Samuel gave Saul and his servant the places of honor. 23-24Then Samuel told the cook, “I gave you the best piece of meat and told you to set it aside. Bring it here now.”
The cook brought the meat over and set it down in front of Saul. “This is for you,” Samuel told him. “Go ahead and eat it. I had this piece saved especially for you, and I invited these guests to eat with you.”
After Saul and Samuel had finished eating, 25they went down from the place of worship and back into town. A bed was set up for Saul on the flat roof of Samuel's house, 26and Saul slept there.
About sunrise the next morning, Samuel called up to Saul on the roof, “Time to get up! I'll help you get started on your way.”
Saul got up. He and Samuel left together 27and had almost reached the edge of town when Samuel stopped and said, “Tell your servant go on. Stay here with me for a few minutes, and I'll tell you what God has told me.”
Samuel Tells Saul
After the servant had gone,
In Exodus 3, God calls Moses to be his spokesperson. What is Moses’ reaction? Is he honoured and humbled? Is he excited and overwhelmed? No. Moses says, “Who am I to go to the king and lead your people out of Egypt?” Saul reminds me of Moses when Samuel tells him not to worry about the donkeys, that everything valuable in Israel now belongs to Saul and his family. I can just see Saul looking incredulous, “Why are you telling me this? We’re nobody!”
All through Scripture we read about God calling the “nobodies” to do mighty and wonderful things for him and his glory. Later in 1 Samuel we read about a lowly shepherd boy who defeats the Philistines and becomes the king who comes after Saul – David. There’s the ordinary young Jewish girl, Mary, who becomes the mother of God’s son, our Saviour – Jesus. And what about the smelly fishermen who were literally, audibly called by Jesus to follow him – Peter, Andrew, James and John who were given the important mission of spreading the good news of God’s grace and forgiveness.
And then there’s you and I. Does God really think we can do something important for him? Us? After all, we’re quiet, humble, unassuming Canadians.
One thing the “nobodies” had in common was their willingness to do what God asked them to do. God had the plan and the power. We’re told in Romans 8:31 “if God is on our side, can anyone be against us?” If God asks you, or me, to do something for him, just remember that with God nothing is impossible, even when he’s teamed up with an unassuming Canadian.
Almighty God, Thank you that you have the plan. Thank you that when you ask something of me you are right by my side. Help me to remember that with you nothing is impossible. In the name of Jesus, I pray. Amen.