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1 Samuel 11 - The Dread of the Lord

The Spirit's at work in all sorts of people, even those who will ultimately reject Him.

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1 Samuel 11 Summary

Yesterday's chapter closed this way:

But some worthless fellows said, “How can this man [Saul] save us?” (v27)

It's easy to see why so many Israelites were skeptical of Saul being named their new king. Although he was tall and handsome, everything we've read about him so far indicates that he was an incompetent shepherd and a bumbling fool.

Now Saul has an opportunity to galvanize support for his fledgling monarchy, and he takes it. A neighboring village has come under attack by the Ammonites, who were cousins of the Israelites (descendants of Lot) who wanted to assert their superiority by humiliating the men of the village.

Saul immediately springs to action, graphically asserting his leadership by threating to destroy the livelihood of anyone who doesn't follow him by sending around a cut up pair of oxen.

Saul's motivation worked, and a large contingent of Israelites responds to their neighbor's pleas and routs the enemy.

Saul reaches what will end up being the pinnacle of his kingship when he extends mercy to those who had previously mocked him. Rather than stringing them up as the crowd wanted, Saul demonstrated forgiveness and by doing so brought unity to his people as he reminds them that it was not Saul, but the Lord has worked salvation in Israel (v13).

Dig Deeper

We often associate God pouring out His Spirit on people by bringing them to salvation, because that's how we see it the most. But as we learned yesterday, sometimes God spiritually empowers people for temporal reasons rather than eternal salvation.

Such seems to be the case with Saul. Once again we read that the Spirit of God rushed upon Saul (v6), yet we know that Saul will ultimately reject God.

This helps us understand that when we see ungodly people doing godly things, we can - must - support them. You certainly should pray that the Spirit works salvation in their hearts, but celebrate every instance you see the Spirit working, even if it just seems temporary.

AAA Prayer:

  • ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: Our Father God is our Lord who works salvation in His people (v13)

  • ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Pray for the wisdom to recognize the Spirit's work and to support those who are doing it.




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