A Physical Challenge for the New King
March 30 - Nº 89 1 Samuel 10:26 – 11:15
When Saul was anointed as the new king of Israel, most of the people were very enthusiastic. They brought him wonderful gifts. But a few people refused to accept his leadership. Saul wisely chose to ignore them, and he returned to his hometown. God sent several brave men to accompany him and protect him. At that same time, the king of the Ammonites decided to attack a city in Israel called Jabesh. He surrounded the city with his troops. The leaders of Jabesh realized they didn’t stand a chance. They told the Ammonite king, “We are willing to surrender without fighting, but first tell us what the terms of surrender will be.” The king responded, “There is only one condition: I will gouge out the right eye of each of the men who live in your city.” He wanted to humiliate them and show other nations that the Israelites were weak and their God wasn’t strong enough to protect His own people. The leaders of the city requested seven days to consider the terms. They immediately sent messengers all over Israel. When the news of this terrible dilemma reached Saul’s town, the people began to weep. Saul, returning after a long day in the fields, was puzzled, “What is going on? Why is everyone crying?” The people shared how the Ammonite king had threatened the people of Jabesh. When Saul heard this, the Spirit of God came powerfully on him. He became very angry that the Ammonites were taunting Israel and their God. Right there, he took a pair of his oxen, cut them into pieces, and sent the pieces all over Israel with this message: “This is what will be done to the oxen of anyone who does not follow Saul and Samuel!” The people responded immediately, and 330,000 men followed their new king into battle. Saul sent messengers to Jabesh saying, “We are bringing an army to defend you. We will be there before the sun gets hot tomorrow.” The people of Jabesh were relieved and excited. They sent a message to the king of Ammon, “We will come out tomorrow and you can do whatever you want to us.” Saul and his army marched to Jabesh. He separated his men into three divisions, and before the sun came up the following day, they attacked the Ammonite camp. They caught the Ammonites by surprise, and only a few stragglers were able to escape. After this great victory, the people asked Samuel, “Who were the men who didn’t want Saul to be our king? Give us their names and we will kill them!” Saul spoke up, “No! Don’t kill them. This is a special day for all Israelites. God has rescued us!” Then Samuel invited everyone to gather at Gilgal, where the Ark of God was being kept, to honor Saul’s coronation. There they offered sacrifices to God and held a great celebration for all that He (through their new king) had accomplished.
Do you realize that not all anger is sinful? The problem is that most of our anger is a result of selfishness. Selfish anger is sinful! Saul’s anger against the Ammonites did not come from a personal sense of hurt or insult. It came from a righteous concern for what was important to God. If we stand up for God, He will stand up for us!