History as Revelation

1 Samuel #09: an exposition of 1 Samuel 9:1-10:16. This message by Pastor Rod Harris was delivered at Trinity Baptist Church on Sunday evening, January 22, 2012.

We know Him because He wants to be known.  We have understanding of God and His ways because He has graciously chosen to reveal himself to us.  How has He revealed himself?  In what ways does He make himself known?  The Psalmist tells us the heavens declare His glory.  All of creation is a revelation.  Through the creation we can know that God is powerful, that He has supreme intelligence, that He loves variety, and that He cares about the smallest detail.  But we do not know His name.  We do not know how He thinks or what He thinks of us.  Thus God has revealed himself through His word, the Bible.  Theologians call these two forms of revelation “general” and “specific” or “special” revelation.  Another way God has revealed himself is through history.  History is His story.  We do not believe in random chance.  We do not view history as an endless cycle.  Rather we see it as linear.  History is moving somewhere.  It is moving toward a point God has determined.  God is not a detached, disinterested “watchmaker” who simply watches history unfold, He is making history.  He is personally and intimately involved in the affairs of men.  History is a revelation of God.  That is the focus of our text this evening found in chapters 9 and 10 of 1 Samuel.

Text: 1 Samuel 9:1-10:16

It is a critical time in the life of the nation of Israel.
Samuel has been Judge of the people for decades.
He has been their God-appointed leader.
He is now an old man and his sons, whom he appointed judges, have proven inadequate.
The people have demanded a king like the nations around them.
Chapter 8 ends with God telling Samuel to give the people what they want.

Though their demand was from impure motive and was a clear rejection of God, God said, “Let them have their way.”  That is seldom, if ever, a good thing.  Samuel was not pleased yet he was determined to obey God.  Yet the chapter ends with Samuel sending the people away.  He told them to go back to their cities.

What is going to happen?
Are they going to get their king?
How will they get one?
When will they get one?
We are left with all kinds of questions and not even a hint of an answer!

Chapter nine opens like an entirely different story – “There was a man of Benjamin whose name was Kish, the son of Abiel, son of Zeror, son of Becorath, son of Aphiah, a Benjamite, a man of wealth…”

It reads like the opening of 1 Samuel chapter 1.  Further we are told this man Kish had some missing livestock and he sent his son to look for them.  What is going on here?  We are at a crisis moment.  Tension is high.  The people have made demands.  God has said, “Make them a king.”  Why does the Spirit inspire the biblical writer to include this farm report?

Who cares about lost donkeys?
A nation is at stake.

When I first read this it reminded me of the old Monty Python show.  There would be a skit or story and then the announcer would say, “…and now for something completely different” which would be followed by something that had nothing to do with what had been going on.  That’s how this reads.  It’s how life often seems.  But we are going to find they are related.  It’s all part of one grand story.  A story that gives us insight into the character of our God.

As we work through these two chapters I want you to see that…

  • Thesis: 1 Samuel 9 and 10 serve to remind us of the rule, the mercy and the sovereignty of our God.

There are 4 things to note.

  1. In God’s orchestration of the events of Saul’s life we are reminded of the wonder of God’s providential leading.  (9:3-27)
  2. In the opening words of chapter 10 we are struck by the kindness of God in providing assurance.  (10:1-9)
  3. With God’s empowering of Saul we are encouraged by God’s faithfulness in equipping.  (10:9-13)
  4. Our text closing in silence reminds us that we are not entitled to know what God is up to.  (10:14-16)

Only Saul is aware of the anointing.
Only Saul knows that he is king.
He says nothing.

So often we feel entitled.
We demand to know what is happening.
But who are we to make demands?
What right do we have?
God is God.

In this extraordinary tale of God’s sovereign work we find a revelation of God.  We come to see He reigns, He is merciful, He is faithful and He is sovereign.

This is the God we serve.
This is the God who has made himself known to us.

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