Growing with God: A daily devotional with Tonia Slimm.
1 Samuel 9:1-2 (NIV)
There was a Benjamite, a man of standing, whose name was Kish son of Abiel, the son of Zeror, the son of Bekorath, the son of Aphiah of Benjamin. Kish had a son named Saul, as handsome a young man as could be found anywhere in Israel, and he was a head taller than anyone else.
1 Samuel 9:1-2 (MSG)
There was a man from the tribe of Benjamin named Kish. He was the son of Abiel, grandson of Zeror, great-grandson of Becorath, great-great-grandson of Aphiah—a Benjaminite of stalwart character. He had a son, Saul, a most handsome young man. There was none finer—he literally stood head and shoulders above the crowd!
“There was a man of [the tribe of] Benjamin whose name was Kish the son of Abiel, the son of Zeror, the son of Becorath, the son of Aphiah, a Benjamite, a mighty man of influence and wealth. Kish had a son named Saul, a choice and handsome man; among the sons of Israel there was not a man more handsome than he. From his shoulders and up he was [a head] taller than any of the people.” -AMPLIFIED
The people of Israel had insisted on having a king for themselves. Samuel had run the whole scenario by God who in turn told Samuel to go ahead and give them exactly what they had asked for. (Once again we must remind ourselves to be careful for what we wish for.) “Samuel had heard all the words of the people and repeated them to the Lord. And the Lord said to Samuel, “Listen to their request and appoint a king for them.” So Samuel said to the men of Israel, “Go, each man to his own city.” -1 Samuel 8:21-22 (AMP)
Oblivious to the warnings from Samuel and the gravity of their sin of disobedience, the Israelites are overjoyed over the prospect of their future king. If only they had considered the repercussions of this choice, but they were adamant in their decision; so God gave the go-ahead.
We need to be aware that none of this took God by surprise; He knew that the day would come when His people would insist on having a king, just like every other nation. He gave fair warning of what to do in Deuteronomy. “When you enter the land that God, your God, is giving you and take it over and settle down, and then say, “I’m going to get me a king, a king like all the nations around me,” make sure you get yourself a king whom God, your God, chooses. Choose your king from among your kinsmen; don’t take a foreigner—only a kinsman. And make sure he doesn’t build up a war machine, amassing military horses and chariots. He must not send people to Egypt to get more horses, because God told you, “You’ll never go back there again!” And make sure he doesn’t build up a harem, collecting wives who will divert him from the straight and narrow. And make sure he doesn’t pile up a lot of silver and gold.” -Deuteronomy 17:15-17 (MSG)
1 Samuel 9 introduces us to this future king of Israel; his name was Saul. He was the son of Kish. Kish, himself was noted as an upstanding man, stalwart in character. Meanwhile, his son, Saul, was noted as being handsome, fine to look upon and very tall. Nothing at all is mentioned in this passage of Saul’s character. Yet, we will see in the coming chapters that Saul was indeed God’s choice for Israel’s first king.
We may wonder if God was making a point for the people of Israel. First he put in place the good-looking guy and the good-looking guy did not hit the mark. So then, when God chose the second king he reminded Samuel of this, “But God told Samuel, “Looks aren’t everything. Don’t be impressed with his looks and stature. I’ve already eliminated him. God judges persons differently than humans do. Men and women look at the face; God looks into the heart.” -1 Samuel 16:7 (MSG)
Saul, the handsome, prime, good-looking guy was God’s choice. Remember that idiom “beauty only runs skin deep”? It actually means character is more important than beauty. How about that old proverb, “handsome is as handsome does”? Which means even though you look good does not necessarily mean you are a good person. Saul’s true character will eventually be revealed to all of Israel.
It is important for each of us to be sure that we are more than just a pretty face. We need to have good character and reputation. We need to be more like Kish who was noted as an upstanding or incorruptible character. God, Himself, spoke these words to Jeremiah, “I, the Lord, search and examine the mind, I test the heart, to give to each man according to his ways, according to the results of his deeds.” -Jeremiah 17:10 (AMP)
We are reminded again in Jeremiah of God knowing the intentions of our hearts. “But You, O Lord, know me [and understand my devotion to You]; You see me; and You examine the attitude of my heart toward You. Drag out the faithless like sheep for the slaughter [O Lord] and set them apart for the day of slaughter.” -Jeremiah 12:3 (AMP)
David, the second king of Israel knew the importance of not only looking good on the outside, but also on the inside. “O Lord, you have searched me [thoroughly] and have known me. You know when I sit down and when I rise up [my entire life, everything I do]; You understand my thought from afar. You scrutinize my path and my lying down, and You are intimately acquainted with all my ways. Even before there is a word on my tongue [still unspoken], Behold, O Lord, You know it all.” -Psalm 139:1-4 (AMP)
Be sure that your true beauty runs deeper than just skin deep. God wants each of us to be men and woman of good character.
Lord, I want to be known as a shining example of a child of God. I know I am not perfect, but I want to be a true representative of you. May the beauty that is within me be deeper than skin deep. You, Lord, know everything about me. It is you who searches the heart and knows the attitude; as well as the character of who I truly am. Allow your Holy Spirit to search me. Test my heart and refine me to be more and more like Jesus. -Amen