10 June 20141 Samuel 10:1-10
"‘The Lord has anointed you ruler over his people Israel. You shall reign over the people of the Lord and you will save them from the hand of their enemies all around." (v. 1)
To gain an understanding of today's passage you need to go back to 1 Samuel chapters 8 and 9. In those days the judges or the prophets were rulers over Israel. However the people of Israel ask the prophet Samuel to appoint them a king. Samuel warns them what will happen if they are ruled over by a king, but the people still insist. Samuel takes this to God, who tells him to do as the people say.
In chapter 9 God leads Samuel to Saul (or rather leads Saul to Samuel). He is described as "a handsome young man", who stood "head and shoulders above everyone else" (1 Samuel 9:1) (whether this is in terms of physical appearance or repute is uncertain).
Then in chapter 10, the anointing of Saul takes place, setting him apart by God as the ruler of the people of Israel. The actual annointing takes place in verse 1 and then there are extensive instructions proving to Saul that it is God who has annointed him. Here is Samuel taking the twin roles of annointer and prophet.
The practice of annointing rulers still takes place to this day, and forms part of the coronation of the British monarch.
If you carry reading you can discover what happens to Saul and how he turns out to be a poor king - so much so that Samuel, under instructions from God, ends up annointing another.
As we are in the week following Pentecost, here is a contrast between God offerng and then withdrawing annointing, and the gift of the Holy Spirit (and the annointing by the Holy Spirit), which is freely given.
- Being annointed with oil means being set apart by God. To what extent do you need a physical act to signify being set apart?
- Much of today's passage is about confirmation to Saul that he has been set apart. How much confirmation do you need from God, or how useful do you find it?
- God blesses. But can God's blessing also be withdrawn? What do you think?