“Now there was Saul, coming behind the herd from the field; and Saul said, ‘What troubles the people, that they weep?’ And they told him the words of the men of Jabesh. Then the Spirit of God came upon Saul when he heard this news, and his anger was greatly aroused.” 1 Samuel 11:5–6
Saul is king of Israel. He’s been chosen by God to judge the people and lead their army into battle. But Israel’s never had a king before and they don’t seem to know what kind of relationship they ought to have with a king; some of them are, in fact, quite sure that they don’t even want a king.
To honest, Saul himself seems unsure of himself when it comes to what it means for him to be king. What should he be devoting his time to? What kind of activities ought to fill his days?
And then comes the news. The news itself is very important but I was struck by the fact that King Saul seemed to be one of the last people to hear it. No one even made any effort to make sure that he heard it as quickly as possible.
Saul had been working with the cattle in the field and it wasn’t until he was bringing the herd in for the day that he became aware that some kind of important news had arrived. Still no one thought to tell him, but the generalized mourning provoked Saul to ask what had happened. It was only then that Saul learned that the Ammonites, led by King Nahash, had laid siege to Jabesh Gilead and his terms for their surrender were that they all submit to having their right eye put out.
Saul was furious when he heard this and scripture tells us that the spirit of God came upon him and he slaughtered two oxen and divided their carcasses into twelve parts and sent messengers with the parts throughout Israel and Judah proclaiming a call to arms with the warning that if they didn’t come they would become like his oxen.
Scripture records that three hundred thousand men of Israel and thirty thousand men of Judah responded to the call. Saul divided his army into thirds and attacked the Ammonites and won a great victory over them, and saved the people of Jabesh Gilead.
It was only after this victory that the people of Israel and Judah began to treat Saul as the King God had chosen him to be. But to be fair Saul hadn’t been doing anything king like in the time following his anointing. He’d just gone back to being a farmer.
People will generally treat you like you present yourself. It’s the messages we send regarding who we are that tells people how we’re supposed to be treated. If you want respect be respectable. If you want honor be honorable. If you want to be trusted be trust worthy. If you want to be treated like a responsible adult be a responsible adult.
Saul wasn’t treated like the king he was until he began to act like the King he was called to be. What has God called you to be? Most likely people won’t tell you what to do. They’re too busy trying to understand their own calling. Step up and be who God called you to be. As you fill the place God prepared for you people will start to recognize who you really are.