Posted by MK | Filed under Bible Study
What do you get when you cross a good-looking tall kid, a prophet, and a search for some lost donkeys?
You get a king. Not a great one, but a king nonetheless.
That’s the backstory of Saul’s anointing as the first king of Israel. During the last days of Samuel the prophet, there was a national crisis brewing. The elders of Israel saw that Samuel was getting old and that his sons could not be trusted to carry on the mantle of leadership, so they made a demand: “Look, you are old, and your sons do not follow your example. Therefore, appoint a king to judge us the same as all the other nations have” (1 Samuel 8:5).
This is a rebellious request. We might sympathize with their concern for the future and the need for leadership that can be trusted, but this is a denial of their unique status as a nation. They weren’t to have any other king except God – another way they were to be set apart as a nation. Nonetheless, God granted their request and gave them a king.
So begins a seemingly bizarre series of events in the land near Samuel’s home in Rammah. Where was this future king? King training school? In the prophet’s house studying the law? At prayer over his future destiny? Nope.
He’s chasing a pair of lost donkeys.
We are introduced to Saul for the first time in 1 Samuel 9, and he’s at the end of his rope. Completely oblivious of what’s happening in his nation, who the prophet of the Lord is, or what his future holds, Saul’s biggest concern is that he can’t find his daddy’s donkeys. He’s on a search that takes some very coincidental turns. Just when Saul and his servant are about to give up hope, the servant happens to remember that there is a man of God who knows about stuff like lost donkeys nearby. Further, the servant happens to have half a shekel of silver to pay the man. And when they get to Rammah, the man happens to meet them on the road into town.
That’s a lot of coincidences, don’t you think?
Now I don’t want to draw the parallel too directly here, but I wonder how much time we spend chasing donkeys. We get so consumed with the details of our lives that it’s easy for us to forget there’s a larger story going on. Saul had no idea that God was preparing the details of his rapid ascension. Why? Those darn donkeys.
Pesky beasts, aren’t they?
I’ve got alot of donkeys I like to chase, too. Donkeys at work. Donkeys at home. Donkeys on TV. Donkeys everywhere, and all the time I think they’re the most important thing. But so great is the mercy and wisdom of God that even in my donkey-chasing, God is still working all things for my good and His glory. Because we are “in Christ,” we can be assured that even the lost donkeys are being worked for our good.