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King Saul

My name is Saul. I was King of Israel for 40 years. I have been allowed to come back to tell you about my life and warn you of the dangers that you may face.

I was the first king of the nation of Israel. I did not seek to be king. In fact, it happened in a very strange way. My father was rich and famous and I had everything I could possibly want. I suppose I might have been a little spoiled by that. And the fact that I am tall and good looking made people admire me even if I didn't really deserve it.

One day, I was out looking for some missing donkeys from my father's herd and couldn't find them. I had the idea of asking the prophet Samuel where they were. I had never met him before and didn't even know who he was but he seemed to know me and said I was chosen to be king.

I felt very surprised and pretty unworthy about all that to start with, but I think I secretly thought that I must really be a special person after all. When the Spirit of God came upon me and allowed me to prophecy, I should have been made to feel even more humbled, but instead I started to believe that the rules did not apply to me. That was really my downfall in the end.

After I had been anointed king, I really did not do anything at first but went back to my father's farm. One day I was plowing with the oxen when a distress call came from one of the cities of Israel that they were going to be taken over. I became angry and cut the oxen in pieces. I sent the pieces around the country and told the messengers that whoever did not answer the call to arms would have his oxen cut up like this.

Sure enough, the men came and we had a huge army turn out -- I guess I had made them an offer they couldn't refuse. We also won a great victory with the Lord's help. After that, the people thought I was wonderful and I did not really give God the glory.

Samuel gave his farewell speech as the leader of Israel, and it made me feel a little strange. He told the people that they should not have asked for a king, but that since they did, here I was, the one chosen by God. I sort of felt like the booby prize. Then he reminded the people that if they obeyed God, they would be blessed, but if they did not obey Him, nothing would go right. Samuel was a real straight talker.

I heard what he said but did not really take it to heart, because very shortly after that I decided to make another little war. The first one had increased my popularity so much that I did not stop to ask the Lord if I should, but gathered some troops and attacked the Philistines. My son Jonathan killed the Philistine commander and that got them really riled up.

Then they brought in a huge army to attack us. I called all the people again to the battle and waited for Samuel to come and offer a sacrifice to the Lord but a whole week went by and he did not come. The army started to desert me and I offered the sacrifice myself. When Samuel came, he said that because I had disobeyed, my reign would not be permanent. Yet the Lord still gave us a great victory.

Another time, fighting the Amalekites, I had been instructed by the Lord to destroy all the people and livestock because they were so very evil. I did not obey completely but when Samuel came, I said that I had done all the Lord commanded. Samuel said, "Then why do I hear the cattle mooing and the sheep bleating?" I said I had kept the best to sacrifice to the Lord, but that was just an excuse.

Samuel said the kingdom would be taken from me, but it did not happen right away. I was on the throne for many years after that and accomplished many things, but I was deeply troubled. I would have outbursts of anger or depression and would make some very foolish decisions. The Spirit of the Lord had left me and without Him I was nothing. I did not realize the truth until it was too late.

My son Jonathan, who should have been king after me, was a good and a great man. He continued to do what was right, even befriending David, the man who took the place he deserved as king after me. I wish I had been like Jonathan and remained humble rather than proud and careless.

Remember this if God gives you talents, position or responsibility. You can only do good with His help and must always obey Him even if you do not understand why. The time may come when it is too late to turn back.

I Samuel 8 - 31

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