"And Samuel came no more to see Saul until the day of his death: nevertheless Samuel mourned for Saul: and the Lord repented that he had made Saul king over Israel. (I Sam. 15:35)
"And the Lord said unto Samuel, how long wilt thou mourn for Saul, seeing I have rejected him from reigning over Israel? Fill thine horn with oil, and go, I will send thee to Jesse the Beth-lehemite: for I have provided me a king among his sons" (I Sam. 16:1)
I shall be marrying these two verses together in explaining this theme today. I however want us to remember that Bible was not sectionalized before, all was written together, written, as a bloc. However for convenience purposes, sections were introduced in the form of chapters and verses.
To understand this topic, I will want us to explain what happened before these two statements were documented.
The Earlier Rulers
When the children of Israel had fulfilled their days in the land of captivity, Egypt land, the Lord sent Prophet Moses to deliver them. After their deliverance and they got to the wilderness, the Lord gave them laws and ordinances to follow, and he told them through Prophet Moses that he wanted to be ruling them through the use of priests and prophets. Thus, he did not expect them to ask for kings like the other lands, he did not want them to imitate other countries, he wanted them to abide by his rulership. (Deut. 17:14; Exod. 22:28)
Deu 17:14“When thou art come unto the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee, and shalt possess it, and shalt dwell therein, and shalt say, I will set a king over me, like as all the nations that are about me”
Exo 22:28“Thou shalt not revile the gods, nor curse the ruler of thy people”.
When they got to Canaan land with priests and prophets yet ruling, things however took a new dimension during the days of high priest Eli because this high priest failed in his parental obligations to bring up his children in the ways of the Lord. May be things would have gone awry during his days with the people asking for King like it was obtainable in other lands no one could tell, but because of the introduction of young boy called Samuel, this could not be. The vacuum created by the children of Eli was filled by Samuel.
High priest Eli and his children died and Samuel stepped into the office performing and overseeing several sacrifices for the people of God and apart from this, he was also gifted in seeing beyond the ordinary, he was also a prophet.
Samuel the prophet continued to rule the people and there were no complaints about his leadership qualities and traits until old age started setting in. When old age started setting in and he was unable to go out and come in as before, he appointed his children to start doing some things for the people, that was when the laxity of prophet Samuel became revealed, because the people discovered that Samuel's children were not well brought up and they were unable to lead the people of God as did their father. Thus, the people resolved that the best thing for them to do is to get king like other lands. They want devolution of powers.
The people of Israel sent representatives to Prophet Samuel of the need to get for them a king.
“This request of theirs' grieved the Lord, but he decided to grant their request because Prophet Samuel too had not fared better in the up-bringing of his children.”
God told his servant, Prophet Samuel, that he will send the person who shall be king unto him the following day (I Sam. 8)
1Sa 8:1“And it came to pass, when Samuel was old, that he made his sons judges over Israel”.
1Sa 8:2“Now the name of his firstborn was Joel; and the name of his second, Abiah: they were judges in Beersheba”.
1Sa 8:3“And his sons walked not in his ways, but turned aside after lucre, and took bribes, and perverted judgment”.
1Sa 8:4“Then all the elders of Israel gathered themselves together, and came to Samuel unto Ramah”,
1Sa 8:5“And said unto him, Behold, thou art old, and thy sons walk not in thy ways: now make us a king to judge us like all the nations”.
1Sa 8:6“But the thing displeased Samuel, when they said, Give us a king to judge us. And Samuel prayed unto the LORD”.
1Sa 8:7“And the LORD said unto Samuel, Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee: for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them.”
What God Did
To make this happen, the Lord, cause the cattle of the father of the person whom he had found worthy in character and other things to get lost. This man became worried for his cattle and his servants whom he could not found, and after a while decided to tell his son to go and look for the cattle as well as the shepherd overseeing that section.
1Sa 9:3 “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.”
1Sa 9:4 “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.”
Saul took a servant and they embarked on the journey of finding the cattle as well as the shepherd overseeing the cattle. All the places they thought the shepherd would have led the animals to are gotten to, but they neither found the animals nor the shepherds. Saul and his servant got weary and Saul asked the servant to let them return to Kish his father lest he starts being worried on them.
However, the servant replied Saul his master that they are in the city where the seer dwells and that before returning unto Kish his father he should let them seek guidance from the man of God. None of them knew the mind of God for Saul, all they were after was satisfying Kish their father and Master, doing his will and recovering what has been lost.
God’s Way Beyond Comprehension
When God wants to do something for those who believed in him, those who wholly trusts in him, he will make something happen, and that which happened will lead to another thing, cascade reaction, until the plans of God become established in that person's life.
When representatives of a community, group, etc ask the authority for something, the immediate beneficiary of the thing may not be among those people who have represented the group. No one knows may be Kish was among those who went to Prophet Samuel or not, but we know that on his son was the answer to what they have asked from God fulfilled.
Saul and his servant got to Prophet Samuel and Prophet Samuel told him the mind of God for him and that nothing happened to his father's servants and cattle. To cap it all he was temporarily anointed and Prophet Samuel told him that a time is coming when the government he leads would be established in his hand. What will however herald that day is he will have to wait for him, Prophet Samuel, for seven days.
This message was well taken by Saul, but the day that would happen was essentially unknown to him and probably hidden unto the prophet itself.
He Failed on God’s Appointed Day
The appointed day came and it happened to be during the period of war, during the time Israelites were being confronted by Philistines, one of their greatest enemies then.
The people had gathered together ready for the battle, when the prophet sent message to the king that they should wait for him to come and offer the sacrifices.
Hundreds of thousands of people (warriors) who had initially gathered with Saul started leaving when Samuel did not arrive in time, this continued until they became very few on the 7th day but yet Prophet Samuel has not appeared. The 7th day was about to be over and king Saul could not stand the condition of losing his great warriors again; thus he pushed himself to offer the sacrifice unto the Lord. He on doing this broke a major rule, a major law of God and God could not condone that.
After finishing the sacrifices, behold Samuel the prophet appeared. Prophet Samuel asked of what he had done, he replied him that he pushed himself into offering the sacrifice unto the Lord, Yahweh. The prophet was not happy with this that he had done and he told king Saul that he had acted foolishly and for what he had done, his kingdom would not be established, because God had sought out for himself someone after his heart. (I Sam. 13:13-14)
1Sa 13:13 “And Samuel said to Saul, Thou hast done foolishly: thou hast not kept the commandment of the LORD thy God, which he commanded thee: for now would the LORD have established thy kingdom upon Israel for ever”.
1Sa 13:14“But now thy kingdom shall not continue: the LORD hath sought him a man after his own heart, and the LORD hath commanded him to be captain over his people, because thou hast not kept that which the LORD commanded thee”.
When Prophet Samuel was saying God had sought him a man after his own heart, it was not as if he had known the man, but he was speaking from the Spirit of what God has done and the effect of his mistake on his kingship.
Prophet Samuel Still Loved Him
After this, they parted but prophet Samuel loved king Saul and he continued to pray for him. We know how we used to feel when something that is not good has been determined on someone we like, we will keep praying on his/her matter, wanting God to have another thought on the matter. That was what happened to Prophet Samuel too, he kept on telling God about King Saul, pleading with him for mercy and a re-consideration.
After serial prayer sessions perhaps including the sons of the prophets, God answered Prophet Samuel's petition and decided to give King Saul a second chance. He gave the king a second chance by sending Prophet Samuel to King Saul that he (has just) remembered what Amalekites did unto his children when they were on their way to the Canaan land, he thus asked them to go and destroy Amalekites.
1Sa 15:1“Samuel also said unto Saul, The LORD sent me to anoint thee to be king over his people, over Israel: now therefore hearken thou unto the voice of the words of the LORD”.
1Sa 15:2“Thus saith the LORD of hosts, I remember that which Amalek did to Israel, how he laid wait for him in the way, when he came up from Egypt”.
It was not that Yahweh Lord forgot in the first instance, but he wanted to prove King Saul whether or nay he deserved the requests of the people of God on his plight.
There Are People Standing in The Gap
I want you to know that when people are standing in the gap between you and God, when people are standing in the gap between a country, town, village etc and God, God would want to prove the people or nation or town whether they worth to be visited with his mercy as the people of God has been requesting for them.
This was what happened to Lot in the land of Sodom and Gomorrah. Abraham stood in the gap for him and the country, and God having heard what the man of God has pleaded for, for his nephew, and the country, he decided to try them, he decided to visit them before raining on them fire. It is easy for him to rain fire on the country where he was without getting to the place, because he is omnipresent, but for the plea of the man of God and other probable pleas, he decided to visit the place first.
Gen 18:20“And the LORD said, Because the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grievous;”
Gen 18:21“I will go down now, and see whether they have done altogether according to the cry of it, which is come unto me; and if not, I will know”.
Gen 18:22“And the men turned their faces from thence, and went toward Sodom: but Abraham stood yet before the LORD”.
Gen 18:23“And Abraham drew near, and said, Wilt thou also destroy the righteous with the wicked?”
Assuming the man Lot failed when those angels visited, assuming he acted like the people of the land did, he would not be spared, he would have perished with them. His wife who acted like the people of the land was not saved; she perished alongside with the people of the country. (Genesis 19)
Gen 19:26 “But his wife looked back from behind him, and she became a pillar of salt”.
This has been the means of the Lord’s actions over the ages, he has not changed the means, his words are yea and amen, he stands for ever more, he is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. (Heb. 13:8)
2Co 1:20“For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us.”
Heb 13:8 “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever”.
For a person to have another chance, a second chance from the Lord, the person will be visited again, the person will be given a new chance to prove himself, a chance to prove that he worths to be showered mercy on, a chance to be given what people have been imploring the Lord to do for him.
Esau Was Given Chance to Prove Himself
That was what happened to Esau. He was given chances to prove wrong what has been destined and spoken about him, but, he failed the tests put across to him. Every bible student knows that it has been written in the scriptures that the Lord has said the elder would serve the younger even while they were yet in the womb, while they had not been given birth to. In order not to view God an impartial God, an unjust God, a cruel God who can just decide at any point in time to do evil against humans having known that no one can question him, He decided to put across to him tests so that he will prove himself.
Rom 9:10“And not only this; but when Rebecca also had conceived by one, even by our father Isaac;”
Rom 9:11“(For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth;)”
Rom 9:12“It was said unto her, The elder shall serve the younger.”
Rom 9:13“As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.”
Rom 9:14“What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid”
There was however a clause to this history of the man called Esau and the tests given him by God, and the clause is we do not know who stood in the gap for the in utero first child. Whether standing in the gap for him was only limited to when he was in the womb before he was given birth to or it continued after he was given birth to no one can tell. I say this because there is no smoke without a fire, and the bible through prophet Ezekiel says that I look for a person to stand in the gap for them.
Eze 22:30“And I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it: but I found none.”
More often than not people will be standing in the gap for people before the Lord would give the person a second chance. This was clearly seen in the case of Lot and King Saul that this topic is focusing on. But in the case of Esau, we couldn’t find it written in the scriptures who stood for him.
I am however of the opinion that it is likely that it was his mother who stood in the gap for him before the Lord, because she was the one unto whom the secret was revealed by God when she was being disturbed by the pregnancy and she went to God to make inquiries of what was happening having perhaps been told by people around her that pregnancy do not need to trouble her like that.
Gen 25:22“And the children struggled together within her; and she said, If it be so, why am I thus? And she went to enquire of the LORD”.
In this account, we were not told that he briefed his hubby about what happened unlike the wife of Manoah who briefed her love of what she witnessed in his absential.
Jdg 13:6“Then the woman came and told her husband, saying, A man of God came unto me, and his countenance was like the countenance of an angel of God, very terrible: but I asked him not whence he was, neither told he me his name:”
Jdg 13:7“But he said unto me, Behold, thou shalt conceive, and bear a son; and now drink no wine nor strong drink, neither eat any unclean thing: for the child shall be a Nazarite to God from the womb to the day of his death.”
Since she, Rebecca, was the one unto whom the secret has been revealed she may have been the one who stood in the gap for him even before his birth. We all know how parents behave and most especially mothers, no mother would want to see her first son becoming a slave to anyone, not even the second child. Even the cruelest mother if she is not under the influence of some demonic spirits she would not want her first issue to be a second fiddle in life.
Gen 25:22“And the children struggled together within her; and she said, If it be so, why am I thus? And she went to enquire of the LORD”.
Gen 25:23“And the LORD said unto her, Two nations are in thy womb, and two manner of people shall be separated from thy bowels; and the one people shall be stronger than the other people; and the elder shall serve the younger”.
This woman, Rebecca, as a mother stood in the gap for the son before he was given birth to after receiving the revelation. After standing in the gap for him, the Lord wishes to have compassion on her or in other words the Lord wishes to do what the woman had persistently been putting across to him in her daily words of prayers in the secret and perhaps in the open as the bible says, “Thou shalt also decree a thing, and it shall be established unto thee: and the light shall shine upon thy ways” (Job 14:28) and whatsoever ye ask in the secret I will do in the open (Mt. 6)
Mat 6:6 “But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.”
The Lord thence decided to put across to him a test, he wants to prove him.
Before a substance can be relied upon such substance needs to be proved. David the teenager could not use what King Saul offered him when he was to go and face Goliath because according to David, “I have not proved them” (1 Sam. 17).
1Sa 17:39 “And David girded his sword upon his armour, and he assayed to go; for he had not proved it. And David said unto Saul, I cannot go with these; for I have not proved them. And David put them off him.”
Just as we humans could not rely on what we have not proved so does God not rely on anyone whom he has not proved. He wanted to prove Esau to know if he worth his mercy or not.
Having stood in the gap for him, she has fulfilled her part, the part that every loving person would do for anyone. The onus is now on him to prove himself just as it is usually said, you may help one to secure employment or admission but you will not do the job for the person neither will you study for the person after he has been given the admission.
…The Second Test is Important
Since the zero minute that Esau has been given birth to together with his brother, has God been studying them. Their mother too was paying close attention to them. The Lord was looking for ways of giving him a chance to clear himself of what had been determined against him. For him to be cleared, he needs to be tested. He needs to prove himself.
God is not a stereotypic God; he has different means of assessment. He puts across to him the first test but he failed the test. He reconsidered him by putting across to him the second test and worryingly, he again failed. This was when his case became a sealed up case.
I think we remember that God told Prophet Moses that after two or three witnesses (Matthew 18:16) must the truth be established? God will not seal a matter up without given the person two chances or second chance so to say to prove him or herself.
Deu 19:15 “One witness shall not rise up against a man for any iniquity, or for any sin, in any sin that he sinneth: at the mouth of two witnesses, or at the mouth of three witnesses, shall the matter be established.”
Mat 18:16 “But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.”
In case we are in the dark as per the tests may I shed light on the tests? The first test came through hunger, it was a calculated attempt by God to make him wander in the desert without finding an animal to hunt down that day. Having toiled and labored but without nothing, he became hungry and rushed home. Perhaps hoping to get a prepared meal from his mother.
We would not know why his mother did not prepare his food or may be his food was prepared and he was coveting his brother’s food or peradventure his mother was not around and had hoped he would have gotten something in the wilderness thus he did not prepare anything and had asked that Jacob should go and prepare his own food since he did not go out on the fateful day.
Whatever the case was, what happened was he met his brother Jacob on getting home. Interestingly, his brother has prepared his own food and he was about to eat when Esau entered. He asked him to give him something to eat, but his brother would not want to give him food without asking something in return, having been seeing how their father has been treating him as a special child, the first born of the twins. They were children they had waited for, for 20 whole years after their marriage before they could be given birth to, their parents have had special preference perhaps in their hearts for Esau.
Gen 25:21 “And Isaac intreated the LORD for his wife, because she was barren: and the LORD was intreated of him, and Rebekah his wife conceived”.
Jacob, being an observant son, loved this position because of the treatment attached and what more they were given birth to at the same date and hour except for some minutes differences. “Why would he be receiving special treatment and I do not?” Jacob may have been asking himself that question repeatedly until the occasion presented itself.
When this occasion presented itself, Jacob saw it as an avenue to ask to relinquish the position he was occupying. May I use Leah and Rachel to buttress this point? All bible students know what Leah said unto Rachel when their husband abandoned her and focused only Rachel because she was the most loved among the women. Leah despite having children for Jacob had been coveting the position Jacob placed Rachel, their interactions and she has been looking forward to means of stepping into the position she was occupying in other words she has been envying that position. Genesis 30:15
Gen 30:15 “And she said unto her, Is it a small matter that thou hast taken my husband? and wouldest thou take away my son's mandrakes also? And Rachel said, Therefore he shall lie with thee to night for thy son's mandrakes.”
When the opportunity presented itself, Jacob grasped the opportunity, however this presenting opportunity was a test for Esau without him knowing, a chance to prove him.
Jacob asked him for his birthright, the right he has to be having double share of all the foods their mother prepared, the right he has to be sleeping at the bosom of their father, the right he has to their mother which makes their mother to be prioritizing his case, the right he has that he, Jacob would be serving him food without him going to the kitchen, the right he has that he would be doing much work while he will do less at home. These rights, he asked for, because it has been in his mind all this while, because he does not want to be second fiddle at home again, because he thought they had equal right at home, which their mother and their father do not so think. The choice of Leah by Laban to be married to Jacob shows their belief that the first must be first in all things as well as the fact that the first child is entitled to double portion of the parents inheritance/possessions (Gen. 49)
Gen 29:26 “And Laban said, It must not be so done in our country, to give the younger before the firstborn.”
This is the first test and it has to do with the birthright, Esau failed in this test because he did not attach much importance to the birthright, he undervalued it, wished it away, and the bible considered what he did as selling his birthright to his junior brother?
The other occasion of him to prove hisselfwould come later in life, when he has come of age, so that there would be no excuses at all on God’s decision and judgment. He may wish to saythat the selling of the birthright happened when he was young, naïve,so to say. The second test came when he wanted to get marry and instead of him to make the right choice he made the choice that was not right, he chose from the ladies of the land of Canaan where they were dwelling. This choice of his shows that he cannot control himself, and he failed those tests put across to him.One of the things that determines whether someone would be worthy of the covenant of God is the person’s choice in marriage. All of those who entered into covenant with God are those who do not fail this aspect in their lives. When he failed in the aspect of marriage again, then his case was sealed up, his case could not be remedied again.
Gen 26:34 “And Esau was forty years old when he took to wife Judith the daughter of Beeri the Hittite, and Bashemath the daughter of Elon the Hittite”
Second Chance Given
God heard Prophet Samuel’s prayers on King Saul and he desired to give him another chance a chance to prove himself, he thence sent the Prophet to him to tell him what he needs to do to salvage himself, salvage his rulership, salvage his kingship and get his kingdom established.
1Sa 15:1 “Samuel also said unto Saul, The LORD sent me to anoint thee to be king over his people, over Israel: now therefore hearken thou unto the voice of the words of the LORD.”
1Sa 15:2 “Thus saith the LORD of hosts, I remember that which Amalek did to Israel, how he laid wait for him in the way, when he came up from Egypt.”
1Sa 15:3 “Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass.”
1Sa 15:4 “And Saul gathered the people together, and numbered them in Telaim, two hundred thousand footmen, and ten thousand men of Judah.”
King Saul heard the message quite well and he gathered together the warriors and they left for the country of Amalek. On getting to the country, they started seeing beautiful things, fat cattle, jewelries, those things entice the king and he decided to go against the word of God by sparing those things and setting them aside with the aim of sacrificing part of it to the Lord. Ironically, the Lord does not ask for such, what the Lord instructed his servant to tell him to do was to totally destroy everything. This setting aside, made the king to fail the second test (trial), and with this the Lord made up his mind on his kingdom, that he was no longer fit to rule his people.
We shall notice that what made the king to fail twice could be summated under this word that the king prefers to please the people to pleasing (satisfying) the Lord.
What often makes a man to go against the Lord is desiring to please man. The man in this sense may be one's spouse, children, pastor, etc. In an attempt to please and satisfy man, we usually go against the Lord.
What are those things that are pitching you and I against the will of the Lord? Is it the worldly pleasures? Is it the love of the world?
After this incident, Prophet Samuel returned to his abode, but he was yet mindful of the king, he yet wanted the king to keep ruling, he was yet seeking the face of the Lord for the king. When God noticed this, he had to call unto his servant that he should stop disturbing himself, he should stop inflicting unnecessary pain on himself because he has concluded the case of the kingship he will change him, he does not want to have him as king again, he does not wish to be reckoned with him and his leadership not any more.
Just like Prophet Samuel, some of us when God has concluded his mind on some issues, some people, because of our limited spiritual sight we will keep hanging on those things, we will still think God is there. When God has closed a relationship, a partner would still think and be hoping for the continuation of the relationship. When a pastor's time is up before God, some of his members would still think God must reconsider the person because he has done this and that in the ministry or something. Is this not happening to you and I?
Now, as I round up on this topic, I want you to know that, God has concluded everything on the issue of salvation, but yet we find some people who think morals will take them to heaven, ignoring Jesus as the way to heaven. Some still prefer sacrifices, saying by sacrifices they will get to God's kingdom when the bible is expressly saying God loved us and has given us his One and Only Son to take us to him, but people would not want to listen to this, people would not want to yield, they still prefer offering sacrifices, they yet prefer some other ways to the real way of being saved. How erroneous! The case of salvation has been concluded and the Lord is inviting you to himself through Jesus Christ. Do not tarry again in going to him.
That matter that you are pursuing, may be it is a concluded matter before God and you need to chatter a new path today. Or is it sin that makes that case a closed one before God? Then repent of that sin and accept the Gospel now.