By Lynda Lindsey
The Spirit of the Lord will come upon you in power, and you will prophesy with them; and you will be changed into a different person. Once these signs are fulfilled, do whatever your hand finds to do, for God is with you. I Samuel 10:6-7
As Saul turned to leave Samuel, God changed Saul’s heart, and all these signs were fulfilled that day. I Samuel 10:9
Saul also went to his home Gibeah, accompanied by valiant men whose hearts God had touched. I Samuel 10:26
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! II Corinthians 5:17
Saul, just anointed by Samuel as Israel’s first king, was receiving instructions for his new role. Saul would have not only the presence of God in his life, but the power of God through the Holy Spirit, to draw upon as Israel’s king and spiritual head. Saul was changed into a different person, given a changed heart, and the men who accompanied him in leadership were valiant men with hearts God had also touched. Saul had such a great beginning, so what happened? Like most things in retrospect, there are tell-tale signs.
Saul avoided a direct question from his uncle regarding what Samuel had said about the kingship. At the public revealing of the new king, Saul couldn’t be found, and God told the people their new king was hiding among the baggage. Saul claimed the victory in battle that belonged to his son Jonathan, and Saul clearly defied and disobeyed Samuel’s instructions regarding that same battle. And so it continued. Saul’s great beginning ended tragically and his disobedience cost him the kingdom.
Could it be that Saul loved God, but not whole heartedly? Did he think partial obedience would suffice? Did Saul think Samuel’s instructions were mere guidelines? Was pride Saul’s downfall? When confronted with truth, Saul doesn’t seem to be repentant or appear to sorrow over his sins, to cry out for forgiveness and mercy.
God with us. A God changed heart, one that God has touched. God’s Holy Spirit in residence in our heart and life. Power for living the new God life. We aren’t made over as a dressmaker refashions an old garment into something that looks different. We are made new; re-created. The old has gone, the new has come. It’s not enough to begin well; ending well is crucial. Ending well has to do with the heart’s deliberate intention to put God first. To take God seriously. To obey. To confess and forsake sin. To ask for forgiveness and mercy. To keep one’s heart soft towards the things of God. To walk with other valiant warriors whose hearts God has touched. For it is in community that we are all made stronger. And who doesn’t need a stronger heart?