Saul is a confusing character. He is called by God in this chapter, seems to start out well as a man of humility, but spirals into a right mess consulting a witch, acting as a Priest and finally commiting suicide. Today’s reading actually questions whether he started off as a man of humility.
Humility has two sides – a right and proper view of oneself and a right view of God. In v21 we see that he seems to have a right and humble view of himself – “Am I not a Benjamite, from the least of the tribes of Israel and is not my clan the humblest of the clans of the tribe of Benjamin?”
However we will find 5 ways in which Saul doesn’t have a right view of God, so he is not as humble as he seems.
Ignorant of Samuel’s role as prophet and judge over Israel
Saul is led on a wild donkey chase and ends up in Zuph, where Samuel was born and ministers. His servant has to tell him about the man of God. So Saul seems ignorant of Samuel and his ministry and doesn’t recognise him when he asks for directions v18. Samuel is sat at the gate where the town elders sit and had previously led a spiritual revival in Israel. Saul may be humble about his own inadequacies, but he doesn’t have an awareness of God’s great deeds in his lifetime.
He’s running on his own strength
Saul is worn out looking for the donkeys and wants to go home. The servant has to persuade him it is worth going to the man of God. Samuel receives revelation from the Lord v15, but the same is never said of Saul – in fact after Samuel’s death 1 Chron 13:3 lets us know he barely enquired from the Lord at all. True humility is so much more than realising we are weak, humilty runs to the Lord for strength.
Over the next few chapters we see that Saul is slow when it comes to obeying God – dismissing the army in 13:2; hiding in fear 14:2; he’s given a valiant warrior entourage in 10:26 for the war, but goes back to ploughing instead. Saul’s slow obedience is not humility, it is driven by fear because of a low view of the Lord.
Not bothered by God’s power
The Spirit rushed on Saul 10:10 , just as He had on Saul. Samuel predicts that it was so “you will be changed into a different person” (10:6) and when it happens Saul’s friends are shocked (10:11), but Saul doesn’t press in and keep crying out for more of the Lord.
Saul shares Israel’s refusal to submit to the Lord as the true King.
Israel had cried out for a melek (king), when the Lord calls Saul he is to be a nagid – a viceroy or deputy. In 9:17 Samuel is told that Saul mustn’t reign as king but as prince of Israel. This is made clear to Saul in 10:1, but Saul doesn’t rebuke his new subjects when they hail him as their melek in 10:24. He will eventually build a monument to himself as king in 15:12
True humility puts ourselves in proper place and raise the Lord up. Humility is not thinking less of oneself, but thinking of oneself less and God more!
Marinate on that