1 Samuel 10:6-7 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.
The course of events in this chapter is amazing – and instructive. Israel had asked for a king, so God chose Saul. As Saul was to mark the beginning of a new way of exercising God’s rule among his people, this foundational king was to be ANOINTED (‘messiah-ed’) by God’s Spirit in order to carry out this role appropriately and effectively; in fact, he would need to become, in this way, a ‘DIFFERENT person’. This was ALL GOD’S SOVEREIGN work; it was neither Saul’s decision nor achieved by HIS OWN effort or work. That is why, just two verses later, we read: “As Saul turned to leave Samuel, God changed Saul’s heart, and all these signs were fulfilled that day.” (9). God ‘changed Saul’s heart’ even BEFORE he came in contact with the prophets and BEFORE the outworking of his changed heart became evident, either to himself or to anyone else! Then, it was even later still before Samuel went through the formal selective process of ‘choosing’ Saul, dragging him out from his refuge among the baggage (it’s no wonder he turned out to be a ‘hopeless case’!), and proclaiming him as the anointed King (verses 20-24)! This ‘NEW man’ could now be instructed to ‘do whatever your hand finds to do, for God is with you’. This new ‘freedom’ was both GOVERNED BY, and ACCOUNTABLE TO, God’s Spirit within him. Saul would eventually fail because his denial of his accountability would override his willingness to be governed by the Spirit, and the Spirit would be taken from him (16:14). Ultimately, the LORD would have to send his own Son as the TRUE Anointed (Messiah/Christ) King so that those who submit to him in faith could become ‘a new person’. As the Apostle Paul wrote: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” (2 Corinthians 5:17). Like Saul, our ‘anointing’ (1 John 2:20, 27) is done IN us FIRST by the Holy Spirit taking the initiative, and ONLY THEN is it worked out in OUR EXPERIENCE of God’s saving grace. When we are ‘born again’ of the Spirit, like Saul, we are then called on to ‘do whatever [our] hand finds to do, for God is with [us]’. Like Saul we have BOTH a PRIVILEGE and a RESPONSIBILITY to hold these in delicate balance. The Apostle Paul expresses this ‘balancing act’, this delicate tension, beautifully: “… continue to WORK OUT YOUR SALVATION with fear and trembling, BECAUSE it is GOD WHO WORKS IN YOU to WILL and to ACT according to his good purpose.” (Philippians 2:12b-13). Let us strive to do better than Saul did at keeping this balance right!