Elon, North Carolina
1) To be used by God, you have to be CALLED
To be used by God, you have to have a call. Saul did not become a king because he always wanted to be one. He had no ambition to be king. He had no desire to be king. He was not born a king. God called him to be a king.
In fact, when God called him to be king, he was only interested in some lost donkeys. He was only interested in his personal affairs and his family affairs. He was not interested in religious affairs or national affairs. While he was one mission for his fat her, God gave him another mission. He was given an assignment by God. He found out that his life was going to be bigger than donkeys.
Everyone is not called to public office, like Saul was. Everyone is not called to be a leader. Everyone is not called to preach but we are all called to do something. In fact, the Bible says that God called us to do some things before we were born.
Some try to do a ministry without a call. They are just doing it. Someone might have pressured them to do it. You have to have a call. I did not send these prophets, yet they have run with their message; I did not speak to them, yet they have prophesied (Jeremiah 23:21 NIV)
Saul knew he was called because a prophet showed up and anointed him. When God calls us to do something and we recognize that call, a prophet will not pour some holy oil on our head. That is a rather strange custom. That would just give us a greasy head. God will reveal our call a different way but we are all called to do something. What has God called us to do? That is the first question for us to ask.
2) To be used by God, you have to be WILLING
To be used by God, you have to be willing. You have to accept the call. There are examples in the Bible of people who accepted their call. Peter and Andrew did.
As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. 19 “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” 20 At once they left their nets and followed him. (Matthew 4:18-19 NIV)
Isaiah also accepted his call. 8 Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I. Send me!” (Isaiah 6:8 NIV). Not everyone in the Bible accepted their call. Some flat out disobeyed their call (Jonah). Some made excuses why they could not do what God called them to do (Moses). Some do that today.
Saul was reluctant to do what God called him to do. He was hesitant. He avoided it. His name was called by lot. They looked for him and called for him but could not find him. A search took place, but Saul was nowhere to be found, which is strange because Saul was not an easy guy to miss.
He stood head and shoulders over the crowd, but they still could not find him. That is strange. How do you hide someone who is that tall? Samuel had to ask God where he was and God said that he was hiding. He was hiding in the luggage, which is interesting behavior for an anointed king. This is a strange picture, the king hiding in the luggage, hiding with the Samsonite.
Saul was not just being humble. He was terrified. He had an inferiority complex. He was impressive on the outside, tall and stately but, on the inside, he was a completely different picture. That spirit of fear does not come from God. For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline (II Timothy 1:7 NIV).
Many of us are like Saul today. We are naturally timid. We have a spirit of fear. We hide in the luggage. God wants us to step up and we want to step back. Are we willing to do what God has called us to do or do we make excuses why we can’t do it and try and avoid it?
3) To be used by God, you have to be EMPOWERED
We cannot be used by God greatly and serve God in our own strength. Without Him, we can do nothing (John 15:5). To be used by God, you have to be equipped. You need divine enablement. You need supernatural empowerment. You need the Holy Spirit. Before God uses you, He has to equip you and prepare you for service. God will equip you for whatever He has called you to do. He will give you supernatural power to do it.
Many do not want to wait to be equipped. Before we serve God, we have to be prepared. Moses had to wait eighty years to be prepared for ministry. God uses many things to prepare and equip people for ministry. He prepared people in many different ways. Those He appoints, He anoints. Those He calls, He equips.
Saul was equipped by God to do what He called him to do. He was equipped by God to be the first king of Israel. He was empowered by the Holy Spirit. The Spirit of God came upon him powerfully. He was completely changed. He was transformed by God.
As Saul turned to leave Samuel, God changed Saul’s heart, and all these signs were fulfilled that day. 10 When he and his servant arrived at Gibeah, a procession of prophets met him; the Spirit of God came powerfully upon him, and he joined in their prophesying. (I Samuel 10:9-10 NIV)
Was Saul Saved?
I Samuel 10:9-10 raises a very important question. It is a question that has led to a lot of debate and controversy. When the Spirit of God came powerfully on Saul, did he get saved? Many preachers think that he got saved here. It certainly sounds like it when you first read it. There are five things in I Samuel 10 that look like salvation. They look like conversion. Notice five things we are told about Saul.
1) The Holy Spirit came down on Saul (I Samuel 10:10).
He came down on him “MIGHTILY.” He came down on him powerfully. When we get saved, we get the Holy Spirit
2) God “changed his heart” (I Samuel 10:9 NASB, NIV).
Saul’s heart was completely changed. He was transformed. When we get saved, God changes us.
3) Saul was given “another heart” (I Samuel 10:9 KJV, NKJV, ESV).
Saul was given a heart transplant. The old heart was gone, and he was given another heart. When we get saved, we get another heart as well. It happens at the new birth.
4) Saul was changed “into another man” (I Samuel 10:6 NASB, KJV, NKJV).
He became a different person. When we get saved, we become a new creation.
5) Saul prophesied (I Samuel 10:6).
He exercised the gift of prophecy, along with other prophets in his day. When we get saved, God gives us spiritual gifts.
Not everyone agreed that this is talking about salvation. Some say (and I tend to agree with them) that this is not talking about salvation but kingship. God did change Saul.
He changed him to make him king. Saul went from a farm boy to king. He was given another heart with respect to kingship, but he did not necessarily get saved at this point.
The fact that he prophesied is not even proof of salvation. Balaam also prophesied. He delivered prophecies about the coming Messiah. The Spirit of God came upon him and he was not a true believer.
In the NT, the Jewish High Priest Caiaphas uttered a genuine prophecy. He prophesied that Jesus would die for the nation (John 11:48-50) but he was not saved. There are some who have prophesied who will end up in Hell (Matthew 7:21-23).
Dan Corner believes that Saul must have been saved because he was chosen by God and it is inconceivable that God would have chosen an unsaved man to be king over His people.
This is wrong in a number of ways. God gave Israel the king they wanted, not necessarily the most spiritual one available. Saul was chosen to be king, not chosen for salvation. Jesus chose Judas to be an Apostle and he was unsaved. Jesus called him “a son of perdition” (John 17::12 KJV) and “a devil” (John 6:70 ESV, KJV).
3) To be used by God, you have to receive some CONFIRMATION
How do you know if God has called you to do something? Often, God will confirm His call in your life. He will confirm it to you and to other people. When I was a young man in college, I hung out with two other men in church. All of us wanted to go into the ministry. Two of them ended up going into the ministry.
One became a missionary and one became a pastor, although neither one of them are in the ministry today. I always felt that I somehow missed my calling and that I should have been a pastor. The reason that I never did is because I never received any confirmation. Looking back on it, I am convinced that it was the right decision.
Have you ever received confirmation for what God has called you to do? Saul did.
In I Samuel 10, God not only calls and anoints Saul to be king, he confirms it. He confirms it to Saul and He confirms it to the nation. Saul needed some confirmation of this call and so did the nation. There is a public and private confirmation. Saul learns that he is going to be king and so does the nation in I Samuel 10.
Confirmation to Saul
How does Saul receive confirmation? Let’s review what happened to him. He went looking for some lost sheep and could not find them for three days. His servant suggests asking the Prophet Samuel. As they go into town, they meet Samuel.
A day before God told Samuel that he would meet the next king. He didn’t tell him who he was but he told him what time he would meet him and when Samuel looked at Saul, the Lord revealed that he was the one (I Samuel 9:17).
Samuel tells Saul all about the lost donkeys before he even asked him and told him not to worry about them. Samuel not only answers their question, solves their problem but invites them to dinner, along with thirty other people. Saul does not just get to eat, which was good because they were out of money and probably hungry but is seated at the head of the table and is given the best food. He spends the night at Samuel’s house.
Before they leave the next morning, Samuel sends the servant ahead of them and Samuel does something that had never been done before. He anoints Saul’s head with oil. He takes a flask and pours some holy oil on his head. It is a strange custom. We do not do this today. This was new. Priests in Israel had been anointed before but never kings, because they never had a king. This was the first king and he was anointed with oil.
Samuel is going to anoint two people in I Samuel. He anoints Saul and later he anoints David with oil. David was a lot younger. Saul was thirty at the time. David was anointed in the presence of his family (I Samuel 16:13). Saul was anointed privately. No one was around.
Why did he do this? The NT speaks of all Christians being anointed (I John 2:20) but this was a different type of anointing. Samuel did not go around an anoint everyone. What did it mean to be anointed in this sense? Today, we talk about “an anointed speaker” or “an anointed worship leader” to refer to someone who has a special gift or ability or a special call of God upon their life for service.
That describes Saul at this point. Saul had a special call of God on his life for service that no one in the nation had and the flask of oil consecrated him and set him apart. He is divinely commissioned. He was chosen by God. It meant something else.
Saul was anointed by a prophet. Government is established by God. He appoints kings. They are ministers of God. He had that position by God to rule but he could not do whatever he wanted as a king and rule as an absolute monarch. God made him who he was, but he was under His authority. Saul was king over God’s inheritance (I Samuel 10:1)
Saul was under the authority of God. If Saul decided to do whatever he wanted and become an absolute dictator (like Hitler) he could be replaced. He will become like Belshazzar. His kingdom will be taken from him. Samuel not only anointed him, he kissed him. He embraced him. There was no sign that Samuel was jealous that Saul got to be king. He wished him well.
We are not told what Saul was thinking at this time. This might have all sounded crazy to him. It was all very sudden and unexpected. He might have needed some time to think about it, so Samuel gave him three signs, three providential miracles. Saul did not just get one sign. He got three.
Samuel gave Saul three signs that would confirm and exactly what he said. They were proofs that he would be the next king. What is lost will be found. Your hunger will be fed, and you will join in praise to God. These proofs were very specific. They took place at a specific time in a specific place. One would be near a TOMB. One was near a TREE and one was in a TOWN. These signs all happened in the same day (I Samuel 10:9).
The first sign is some NEWS he will receive. He received the news near Rachel’s tomb. Rachel was his great, great, great grandmother. He will meet two men near this tomb with a specific message for you.
When you leave me today, you will meet two men near Rachel’s tomb, at Zelzah on the border of Benjamin. They will say to you, ‘The donkeys you set out to look for have been found. And now your father has stopped thinking about them and is worried about you. He is asking, “What shall I do about my son?” (I Samuel 10:2 NIV)
The second sign is some GIFTS he will receive. Saul will receive these gifts from three men. God will take care of him. He will take care of his donkeys and he will take care of him with bread and with wine. He will provide for his needs and He will provide for our needs as well.
“Then you will go on from there until you reach the great tree of Tabor. Three men going up to worship God at Bethel will meet you there. One will be carrying three young goats, another three loaves of bread, and another a skin of wine. 4 They will greet you and offer you two loaves of bread, which you will accept from them. (I Samuel 10:3-4 NIV)
The third sign is supernatural POWER. Saul will not see two or three men but more. He will meet a group of men (at least four). Saul will be given divine enablement for service.
5 “After that you will go to Gibeah of God, where there is a Philistine outpost. As you approach the town, you will meet a procession of prophets coming down from the high place with lyres, timbrels, pipes and harps being played before them, and they will be prophesying. 6 The Spirit of the Lord will come powerfully upon you, and you will prophesy with them; and you will be changed into a different person. (I Samuel 10:5-6 NIV)
Confirmation to the Nation
Saul was also confirmed to the nation as king in I Samuel 10:17-24. Samuel does not announce him as king. He is chosen by lot (which is like drawing straws). Samuel already knew what the outcome would be and so did Saul.
That is why he was hiding but the nation needed to see that this was not just Saul’s choice or Samuel’s choice but God’s choice. Proverbs 16:33 says, “The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the LORD” (NIV). Saul wins the lottery.
What does this say to us today? If God is calling you to do something, he will confirm it to others as well. That doesn’t mean, if you are called to go into the ministry that you have to be ordained.
Many famous Christians were never ordained. Some of the most famous preachers in church history were never ordained. D. L. Moody was not ordained. He was not an ordained minister, but he was still greatly used by God. C. H. Spurgeon was not ordained.
Jesus wasn’t ordained. The Pharisees did not ordain him. The Sadducees did not ordain him. The Jewish rabbis did not get together an ordain Jesus to preach. He was ordained by God. He was anointed by the Holy Spirit.
Ordination has become meaningless. Today, you can get ordained off the Internet. In fact, even atheists can become ordained so they can perform weddings. You don’t have to be ordained but if God has called you to be a pastor or do any kind of ministry, He will confirm it to you and to others.
We all know that one person who thinks they are gifted and called to do something but no one else feels that way. It is like the person who goes on American Idol who thinks they are the best singer in the world and they cannot sing at all.