Jim points out in an excellent review of Roger Olsen’s latest book:
“True enough, Scripture tells us to ‘always be ready to give an answer for the hope that is in us’ (1 Pe 3:15) but not once does it anywhere urge us to rise in defense of God.”
Whether you agree or disagree with Calvinism, there is a lucid point here. G-d needs no defense. Period.
Scripture does not teach us to correct or rebuke the lost, nor does it call us to defend and exhaustively explain G-d and His actions to the lost. Rather, it commands us to be ready to give an answer that points the unbeliever to our HOPE.
Now, defense of the faith and contention for the faith are matters reserved for when we encounter the proclamation of heresies by those who identify themselves as followers of Yeshua.
Put another way, it is not the lost and harassed sheep that we are to fight against, but the wolves who come among the sheep.
While I was reading 1 Samuel, the L-rd had me stop and ruminate through portions of chapters 9-13.
I came to the following conclusion. Had Saul obeyed, his house would have had a perpetual rule over Israel. Benjamin would have been blessed, which was the L-rd’s intent to begin with, in honor of Jacob’s love for the sons of Rachel. Redemption for Benjamin’s issues in Judges, and a more prominent place in the affairs of Israel. And the prophecies of Judah would in NO WAY have been affected by this blessing or rulership.
Below are seven places where we see the undeserved favor of G-d toward Saul, and by extension, Benjamin.
1)”He shall save my people from the hand of the Phillistines.” (1 Samuel 9:16)
Recall that 1 Saumel 8:13 said that “the hand of the L-rd was against the Phillistines all the days of Samuel’s life”. 9:16 above was the intended consummation of 8:13. Saul was meant to completely save Israel from the Phillistines, completing the work and continuing the blessing that was begun in Samuel’s life.
2)” He it is who shall restrain my people.” (1 Samuel 9:17)
Saul was meant, as the successor to Samuel, to restrain the people who constantly gave themselves over to their own depravity. He was intended as a sanctifying influence.
3) “For whom is all that is desirable in Israel? “Is it not for you and for all your father’s house?” (1 Samuel 9:20).
Fulfilling Samuel’s instructions, information, and warning regarding kings, the seer said that the best of Israel would belong to the king. The hand of the L-rd’s favor and blessing would be upon Saul’s house.
4) “What was kept is set before you.” “It was kept for you until the hour appointed.”
Samuel gave Saul the priest’s portion of the meat offering. Remember David’s interaction with the priestly portions later, when on the run from Saul, and David’s offerings in Second Samuel. David’s heart was different all his life, and G-d knew it, and thus gave him a special grace, which He began to also do for Saul, showing His favor in the transition from governance by seers and judges to the kingship.
5)”You will prophesy with them and be turned into another man.”
Had Saul allowed the transformation to fully consummate, and allowed himself to be changed, and humbled himself to the L-rd, he would have been turned into a man after G-d’s own heart. G-d would have allowed Saul to step into the priestly role with a proper grace-empowered heart, had Saul allowed G-d to move in and father his heart. This is what David did. He allowed G-d to father him and father his heart. Saul, unfortunately did not take advantage of this. Rather, he hardened his heart toward G-d and so the Spirit of G-d departed from him.
6) Saul was anointed and called of G-d (1 Sam 10:1).
The gifts and callings of G-d are irrevocable (Rom 11:29). This is something David understood, which is why he handled Saul the way he did, even when Saul was murderously chasing David. Had Saul walked and counducted himself as the anointed of the L-rd, he would have lived in a manner much different than he did. He walked as a defeated, fearful, fleshly individual, when he ought to have walked as a victorious individual who understood that “the battle belongs to the L-rd” (1 Sam 17:47).
7) Two Loaves intended for worship at Bethel were given to Saul.
This was a confirmation of the Word of the L-rd through Samuel. This, along with 4), was G-d’s way of showing his honor of the office of the king, and his honor of Saul’s place in that office, in place of Hophni, Phineas, Joel, Abijah. G-d seeks to honor his children, and he seeks to honor the men whom he selects. But the real question is whether they will honor him or not.
Yet, despite all these incentives lavished on Saul, and despite G-ds amazing love, Saul still acted like he was an orphan, and acted like a man impoverished of soul and spirit.
“He it is who shall restrain my people.”
“He burned the offerings and sacrifices.”
Can G-d’s destiny for a person be thwarted?
Had Saul been obedeint, and the house of Benjamin ruled over Israel temporally, that would not have stopped the Messiah from coming through the line of Judah. G-d’s blessing would have flowed on another tribe, which, from the text of 1 Samuel 9-10, was His original intent, to bless both sons of Rachel.
G-d had a destiny for Saul, but instead of obeying, Saul rejected that destiny for his own fleshly pursuits and jealousy. This caused the downfall of his portion of the house of Benjamin. Saul’s obedience might have resulted in the redemption of the house of Benjamin. Following the book of Judges, it seems to me that this was the Father’s intent.