Today: [1 Samuel Chapter Nine]: Seek the Prophet – Finding Lost Destiny. In this chapter we see young Saul seeking out the prophet Samuel. Saul wants Samuel’s insight into where to find some lost livestock. Samuel however looks into Saul’s life and sees a king of Israel. Many times what we seek the prophet for is not what God intends to talk to you about. We must be open to allow God to speak to us on His own terms. Samuel’s dealing with Saul is very relational and accessible. He feeds Saul and puts him up for the night. He communes with him. True prophets are not aloof, acerbic characters without hospitality or heart for those they minister to. Samuel is a sweet example in this chapter of what the prophetic is intended to be.
[1Sa 9:1-27 KJV] 1 Now there was a man of Benjamin, whose name [was] Kish, the son of Abiel, the son of Zeror, the son of Bechorath, the son of Aphiah, a Benjamite, a mighty man of power. 2 And he had a son, whose name [was] Saul, a choice young man, and a goodly: and [there was] not among the children of Israel a goodlier person than he: from his shoulders and upward [he was] higher than any of the people. 3 And the asses of Kish Saul’s father were lost. And Kish said to Saul his son, Take now one of the servants with thee, and arise, go seek the asses.
Throughout the book of Judges the people have continually cried out for a king. In the previous chapter we see Samuel’s sons are corrupt and again the people demand a king as other nations and won’t take no for an answer. Entered now into the sacred narrative Saul the son of Kish. He comes on the scene like a Shakespearean actor taking the stage. The curtain is drawn, his paternity announced and we find the young and handsome Saul looking for his father’s asses that are lost.
We may take note that Saul is of the tribe of Benjamin. Just a few episodes before in the last few chapters of Judges you will be reminded that the 11 tribes slaughtered the tribe of Benjamin to the point of extinction. Their wives and children had been murdered every one. The men of Benjamin had been killed in battle until a scant 600 were left. All in defense of a Levitical murderer justifying sex trafficking and hiding his own heinous crime of cutting up a raped and brutalized concubine. In order to give the remaining 600 Benjamites wives the 11 tribes agreed to look the other way and allow the 600 to prowl through their streets and kidnap whatever young woman they came across. From one of these forced marriages Saul was born to the man named Kish.
Who was Kish? He was a mighty man. He was no doubt one of the 600 survivors of Benjamin who had seen his entire tribe brutally killed including his own wife and children. He was one of the Benjamites who would have kidnapped a young woman and forced her into marriage. Strangely his name means “to be bent” or “to be a snare”. Saul’s name means “asked for”. He would become the king the people asked for against God’s will and against God’s warning. How ominous in light of the king Saul became that we see looking back that considering the tribe he came from and the circumstances of his birth that his rule over Israel became a judgment against the people for their destruction of the tribe of Benjamin.
Yet all of that has not happened yet. Now we simply see a son serving his father looking for some wayward livestock:
4 And he passed through mount Ephraim, and passed through the land of Shalisha, but they found [them] not: then they passed through the land of Shalim, and [there they were] not: and he passed through the land of the Benjamites, but they found [them] not. 5 [And] when they were come to the land of Zuph, Saul said to his servant that [was] with him, Come, and let us return; lest my father leave [caring] for the asses, and take thought for us. 6 And he said unto him, Behold now, [there is] in this city a man of God, and [he is] an honourable man; all that he saith cometh surely to pass: now let us go thither; peradventure he can shew us our way that we should go. 7 Then said Saul to his servant, But, behold, [if] we go, what shall we bring the man? for the bread is spent in our vessels, and [there is] not a present to bring to the man of God: what have we? 8 And the servant answered Saul again, and said, Behold, I have here at hand the fourth part of a shekel of silver: [that] will I give to the man of God, to tell us our way. 9 (Beforetime in Israel, when a man went to enquire of God, thus he spake, Come, and let us go to the seer: for [he that is] now [called] a Prophet was beforetime called a Seer.) 10 Then said Saul to his servant, Well said; come, let us go. So they went unto the city where the man of God [was].
Saul and his man servant search in vain for their livestock until their provisions are spent and it seems hopeless. We might wonder why a few asses are so important but bear in mind that they were the equivalent of a car or a truck to us. They were important for transportation, and were also a status symbol as are automobiles today. Furthermore in a barter economy they were a form of currency and it was absolutely necessary to find them just as we would stop everything we might be doing to find a few hundred dollar bills we had mislaid.
After failing to find what they are looking for they decide to seek out the Prophet Samuel. Remember again that Israel was ruled by Samuel. The form of his rule was to travel to a location, make himself available and meeting with long lines of people who came to seek him out as a prophet day by day. This was part of how God without appointing a king chose to rule the people. They worshipped in Shiloh with the priesthood and consulted in Ramah with the prophet Samuel. When necessary a deliverer such as Gideon would be raised up to take care of the occasional invasion of the enemy. No king was needed. No king was intended by God.
If Saul was going to go to the prophet he would not under any circumstances go empty handed. This was before the curse of the vow of poverty on God’s people and a gift in lieu of the ministry of the man of God was not out of order.
11 [And] as they went up the hill to the city, they found young maidens going out to draw water, and said unto them, Is the seer here? 12 And they answered them, and said, He is; behold, [he is] before you: make haste now, for he came to day to the city; for [there is] a sacrifice of the people to day in the high place: 13 As soon as ye be come into the city, ye shall straightway find him, before he go up to the high place to eat: for the people will not eat until he come, because he doth bless the sacrifice; [and] afterwards they eat that be bidden. Now therefore get you up; for about this time ye shall find him. 14 And they went up into the city: [and] when they were come into the city, behold, Samuel came out against them, for to go up to the high place.
In seeking out Samuel they are informed by the local inhabitants that he may be found in the high place which as we know from prior study was the stronghold of Ramah. If you are going to seek a prophet, look to the high places. The come closer to the city and behold they see the Prophet Samuel coming out to meet them.
15 Now the LORD had told Samuel in his ear a day before Saul came, saying, 16 To morrow about this time I will send thee a man out of the land of Benjamin, and thou shalt anoint him [to be] captain over my people Israel, that he may save my people out of the hand of the Philistines: for I have looked upon my people, because their cry is come unto me. 17 And when Samuel saw Saul, the LORD said unto him, Behold the man whom I spake to thee of! this same shall reign over my people. 18 Then Saul drew near to Samuel in the gate, and said, Tell me, I pray thee, where the seer’s house [is]. 19 And Samuel answered Saul, and said, I [am] the seer: go up before me unto the high place; for ye shall eat with me to day, and to morrow I will let thee go, and will tell thee all that [is] in thine heart. 20 And as for thine asses that were lost three days ago, set not thy mind on them; for they are found. And on whom [is] all the desire of Israel? [Is it] not on thee, and on all thy father’s house? 21 And Saul answered and said, [Am] not I a Benjamite, of the smallest of the tribes of Israel? and my family the least of all the families of the tribe of Benjamin? wherefore then speakest thou so to me?
Saul came to Samuel to seek his father’s asses but God had something else to talk to him about. Many times people come to us for prophetic ministry but that isn’t what God wants to talk to them about. I have asked God many times in my own behalf about pressing issues and with a wave of His hand He dismisses that and talks to me about things that were important to Him. In a religious culture that is seeker sensitive and self focused this can be very frustrating. We see people come back to us complaining that what we prophesied to them was not what they wanted to hear neither did it answer their questions. God’s intention is not to answer questions because usually He has already set events in place to solve the issue that provoked them to come to the prophet in the first place. So it is with young Saul. His asses are found but what about his destiny of which Samuel now speaks?
Notice that God speaks to Samuel in his heart that Saul is to be king but he doesn’t say this to Saul. He simply asks Saul “upon whom is all the desire of Israel?” We know from Saul’s answer that he already knew in his heart that something was up and that his life was about to change. Prophets many times will bring to the forefront what God has already been speaking to the inquirer. In fact that is a large part of the role of a prophet – to look into the person’s heart and see what God is already speaking. Therefore a true and mature prophet is always seeking not just to bring the word of the Lord but to activate in their hearers the voice of God that they themselves might hear as well what will be said and what has already been said.
22 And Samuel took Saul and his servant, and brought them into the parlour, and made them sit in the chiefest place among them that were bidden, which [were] about thirty persons. 23 And Samuel said unto the cook, Bring the portion which I gave thee, of which I said unto thee, Set it by thee. 24 And the cook took up the shoulder, and [that] which [was] upon it, and set [it] before Saul. And [Samuel] said, Behold that which is left! set [it] before thee, [and] eat: for unto this time hath it been kept for thee since I said, I have invited the people. So Saul did eat with Samuel that day. 25 And when they were come down from the high place into the city, [Samuel] communed with Saul upon the top of the house. 26 And they arose early: and it came to pass about the spring of the day, that Samuel called Saul to the top of the house, saying, Up, that I may send thee away. And Saul arose, and they went out both of them, he and Samuel, abroad. 27 [And] as they were going down to the end of the city, Samuel said to Saul, Bid the servant pass on before us, (and he passed on,) but stand thou still a while, that I may shew thee the word of God.
Samuel has a parlour where he met with those that came to them. What an amazing thing that he rules a nation from what we would consider a small house church! I can see in the ministry of Samuel and how it is conducted a pattern of how God has instructed us to minister. We strive to meet in small groups as much as possible. We frequently meet with people in our home and to maintain our home as a practical place to counsel, minister and prophesy to the individuals, couples and groups that God sends to us. We have now begun to make mentoring days available to have blocks of hours or a few days to speak into people’s lives. Samuel takes his time, feeding the servant and young Saul and communes with them at length.
Samuel doesn’t prophesy to them at first. The prophet William Branham would do likewise. He would talk to the people for a while seemingly casual conversation to “contact their human spirit” and hear what God might say to them. After a long visit, a meal and much conversation Samuel is ready to prophesy to Saul. This chapter is a beautiful and detailed snap shot of how the prophetic works in an organic way without pretense or false boundaries of religious propriety. This is a picture of what your relationship to the prophet in your life should look like.
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