The Hebrews/Israelites had such a verbal history, passing down stories to be remembered. The way this portion of scripture works is a reminder that we are reading a narrative history. It is not a cold and hard timeline, but an interactive narrative to draw us into the lives and events during this time of history. The seeds of the story will help hearts to remember God and his ways. The people in our narrative history were actively allowing us to see success and failure in what God has already specifically commanded.
I love the Hebrew narration in chapter 9. We've been introduced to Samuel already, but in chapter 9 he was referred to at first in honored, esteemed and general terms like "man of God," "held in honor," "prophet," and "seer." Finally, in verse 14, the suspense ended as the author name-dropped "Samuel." It's as if Saul was ignorant of this man of God and his role in Israel (not a fact, just my thought). Saul sought Samuel for help in finding lost donkeys, but God had this timely collision of the two perfectly planned.
Saul was clueless. Need I say more? God had not yet informed Saul of his future role as king, but it was coming straight for him. In fact, the two are seeking each other for very different reasons. Saul sought donkeys. Samuel sought God's chosen king. Saul, the man looking for his lost donkeys, was surprisingly invited to the sacrificial meal and given the choice seat. He was placed in honor above the other 30 guests there! Samuel had the chef set aside a choice portion for Saul's meal saying, "it has been kept for you until the appointed time"(v.24).
What this chapter does for me is to strengthen my trust and peace in God's timing. I can relate to Saul in not having any special revelation from God about the specifics of when and where in life, which puts me in a place to trust God's ability to move on my behalf. I live according to His ways and according to the repentance required of a sinner, and He will take care of the rest. Peace, brothers and sisters. God is in control, even when it is not according to American standard time.
© 2006 by Kendra Hinkle.