Do we desire God's permissive will or His perfect will ?
Author: Woodrow Kroll
Source: Early in the Morning
Scripture Reference: 1 Samuel 9:1-10:1
And they arose early: and it came to pass about the spring of the day, that Samuel called Saul to the top of the house, saying, Up, that I may send thee away. And Saul arose, and they went out both of them, he and Samuel, abroad.
Samuel had been a judge for many years and was yielding to advanced age. Who would lead the people after his death? Like the sons of Eli before him, both of Samuel's sons, Joel and Abiah, had disqualified themselves for they had "turned aside after lucre, and took bribes, and perverted judgment" (1 Samuel 8:3). If Israel did not choose a king and Samuel died, anarchy would once again prevail as it had in the days of the judges, when everyone did "that which was right in his own eyes" (Judges 17:6).
Besides, without a king Israel was missing out on all the pomp and ceremony that the other royal courts of the ancient Near East enjoyed. While the Jews were wandering nomads, unsettled and without a homeland, they cared little about what other nations did or had. But now they had become firmly established in the Promised Land, and all the surrounding nations had a king. Why not Israel?
In the permissive will of God, Saul was to be that king. The son of Kish, a wealthy and influential Benjamite, Saul, as choice for king, may appear to the untrained eye as a matter of pure chance. Sent by his father to round up some stray donkeys and failing to locate them, Saul decided to appeal to Samuel the prophet for assistance in locating the strays. The day before, God had forewarned Samuel that on the morrow a Benjamite, whom he should anoint to be captain over Israel, would approach him. When Saul arrived, there was little question in the priest's mind about his identity. Blessed with natural graces and talents, not to mention that he was head and shoulders taller than any of the other Jews, Saul was the natural selection for king of Israel. But more than this, in the permissive will of God his was also the supernatural selection. Jehovah had decided to give Israel her wish, for better or for worse, and Saul was His selection for the man who would be king.
As the Benjamite approached Samuel, the word of Jehovah came to the priest and he said, "Behold the man." Led to the banquet chamber of the high place, Saul and his servant were seated above the 30 guests who had assembled there. Samuel instructed the cook to bring the best portion of the meat from the sacrifice and place it before Saul. More than this, something that is rarely done, Samuel invited Saul to stay with him that night and sleep upon the top of the house. They arose early, after communing through the night, and made their way through the city, where Samuel took a vial of oil, poured it upon Saul's head, gave him the kiss of homage and anointed him as captain over the Lord's inheritance, the nation Israel (1 Samuel 9:26).
To live in God's permissive will is but to receive temporary blessing. Saul is one of the great tragic figures of Old Testament history. Although selected by God at the cries of the people, he degenerated into a psychopathic condition in which his powers were sapped and his kingdom was rent from his hands. Rejection, defeat and suicide were the inevitable results.
Perhaps it is a mere coincidence, but it is nonetheless striking that when the priest encountered the man who in God's permissive will would become king of the Jews, he said, "Behold the man" (1 Samuel 9:17). Centuries later, when Pilate encountered the man who in God's perfect will would become King of the Jews, he likewise said, "Behold the man!" (John 19:5). Saul's reign was immediately accepted by the people because he was handsome, and they anticipated he would lead Israel successfully into battle against her enemies. Jesus' reign was immediately rejected by the people, for He had "no form nor comeliness" and He never intended to lead His people victoriously against Israel's enemy. Saul was Israel's choice; Jesus is God's choice. How much better off we are to live in His perfect will rather than to settle for His permissive will.
Simply trusting ev'ry day,
Trusting through a stormy way;
Even when my faith is small,
Trusting Jesus that is all.