Sermon Preparation and Reflection: 1 Samuel 9 “A Handsome Face”
Last Sunday, we paused our journey through 1 Samuel at the close of chapter eight with the Lord telling Samuel to appoint a king over Israel. This week, let’s continue:
The very next verse without this context seems random. A new name drops, well, actually a small list does, but it focuses on one name: Saul. He is described as tall and handsome. There is nothing about his character or devotion to God. If this were a first reading of the Bible, and we had begun in Genesis, would this feel odd to us? Essentially the Bible is saying, “Well, he is pretty to look at.”
The chapter tells us the story of how this handsome Saul searches for his father’s donkeys and ends up in the presence of Samuel to ask him for help. He is told the donkeys have been found, but that is not the end of the encounter. Woven into this chapter is another piece from Samuel’s side, and that is that God wants Saul appointed as prince over Israel. Samuel is about to anoint him as the ruler, but the content of his heart is not known to the reader. This is very concerning.
How God describes us matters. We all have sinned, and failed miserably. Us and all of the humans in the Bible. Yet there are other names that have deeper descriptions. Abraham. Moses. Ruth. None of those people are described as only skin-deep pretty. Yet that is how we are introduced to Saul. May we grow in Christ in such a way that if God were to describe us to another, He would not simply say, “Well, this person has a nice, pretty face.”