Chapters 8--15 cover the early life of Saul and the sins that led to his rejection by the Lord. Specifically today's reading covers the request for a king.
Jehovah God had been King of Israel and had cared for the nation since its beginning; but now the elders of the nation wanted a king to lead them. Their request was motivated by several factors: (1) Samuel's sons were not as godly as he, and the elders feared that they would lead the nation astray when Samuel died; (2) The nation had been through a series of temporary leaders during the period of the judges, and they wanted a more permanent ruler; (3) Israel wanted to be like the other nations and have a king to honor. Samuel's reaction to their request shows that he fully understood their unbelief and rebellion. They were rejecting Jehovah in wanting a king. In choosing Saul the nation rejected the Father; in choosing Barabbas they rejected the Son; and when they chose their own leaders instead of the witness of the apostles, they rejected the Holy Spirit.
Chapter 9 explains how Saul was brought to Samuel and privately anointed for the kingship. Note his humility in verse 21, and also in chapter 10:22, when he hesitated to stand before the people. God gave Saul three special signs to assure him and these signs occurred. Samuel also instructed Saul to tarry at Gilgal and wait for him to come.
Saul had everything in his favor. He had a strong body, a humble mind, a new heart, spiritual power, loyal friends, and most of all the guidance and prayers of Samuel. Yet, in spite of these advantages, he failed miserably because he failed to allow God to be the Lord of his life.
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