Israel was clamoring for a king. They wanted to be like the nations around them (1 Sam. 8.4). God obliges their request and sends Samuel to anoint the son of Kish.
Saul had many of the attributes people look for in a leader. He was tall, handsome, and well-spoken. He was someone you could, after all, be proud of.
However, he was a bit reticent to take the role. During the inauguration ceremony, he is found hiding in the luggage (1 Sam. 10:22).
Consider the marked contrast to another king who was anointed by one of God’s prophets.
In Matthew’s Gospel, we see Jesus come to the prophet for his baptism (Matt. 3). Nobody had to call him from behind the luggage. He wasn’t hiding. In fact, this king was marching with resolute zeal to reclaim his constituents, defeat the oppressive tyranny, and restore the rightful reign of God over his people.
You and I should be quite impressed with Jesus’s desire to be the King. Let’s remember that the kingdom will involve people like you and me as members. We are people who, apart from the grace of Christ, are unlovely and unloving (Rom. 5:5ff). We’ve offended the High King of heaven with our treason, blasphemy, and disloyalty (Eph. 2:1-3). But this King is so consumed with love. He loves his Father, and he loves the unlovely. He steps out of the atmosphere of heaven to walk in the smog of this fallen world and be confronted with the fumes of ugliness that attended his ministry.
Sadly, the reaction to Christ’s life was an eruption of discontentment with God’s rule. Just as with Israel in Samuel’s day there was resistance towards God’s good reign over his people, “they have rejected me from being king over them” (1 Sam. 8:7). They wanted a king so that they could be like other nations. But God’s design in calling Israel was that they not be like other nations. They were to be different. They were to reflect and declare the greatness of their King to the nations not compromise and become like the nations. This King ultimately is Jesus. While there is heartbreak there is no surprise then when the King comes to Israel, and he is rejected (John 1.10-11).
But this King is not defeated. No, the willing Governor of Righteousness conquered his foes. He defeated the tyrant who oppressed his people, triumphing over him through the cross (Col. 2:11-15). He broke the shackles of sin and death, he disarmed the rulers and authorities and destroyed the works of the devil (1 Jn. 3:8).
He was not hiding, he was conquering!
In Saul’s weakness we see Christ’s strength, in his hesitation we see Christ’s resolve, in his timidity we see Christ’s courage, in his sin we see Christ’s perfection, in his inappropriate sacrifice we see Christ’s acceptable sacrifice, in his appeal to our flesh we see Christ’s assault upon our flesh, in his anxiety we see Christ’s confidence, in his pursuit of self-glory we see Christ’s pursuit of divine glory.
It is good to see King Jesus in contrast to others so that we might see his surpassing value. And in seeing his value we rightly see our own place:
“For you are a people holy to the LORD your God. The LORD your God has chosen you to be a people for his treasured possession, out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth. It was not because you were more in number than any other people that the LORD set his love on you and chose you, for you were the fewest of all peoples, but it is because the LORD loves you and is keeping the oath that he swore to your fathers, that the LORD has brought you out with a mighty hand and redeemed you from the house of slavery, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt. (Deu. 7:6-8).
This King is glorious. We love him because he first loved us. And this King loves us because he loves us.
If that makes perfect sense, then you probably don’t get it. And if it befuddles your mind with questions, sighs, and praise then you might be getting it.
O worship the King who is worthy of worship.