Most people never intend to reproduce the downfall of king Saul; but unfortunately, many do. 1 Samuel 9 shows us that he began as a young man who was only concerned with his father’s business—his own inheritance, his very future. He didn’t begin power hungry, controlling, and hard-hearted. He only ever seemed to be focused on what he was afraid of losing.
The story begins with him searching for his father’s lost donkeys. When he couldn’t find them, Saul became concerned that his father may become afraid that he had been lost. Finally, he turned to the prophet Samuel for help. Too often, we only seek the voice of the Lord out of desperation, to recover what we have lost. But in the end, if we humble ourselves and release everything into God’s hands, He will direct us and give us more than we were searching for in the first place.
Soon after Samuel privately prophesied and anointed Saul as king (1 Sam. 10:1-10), Saul hid in the baggage (1 Sam. 10:22-23), intimidated, afraid, and probably not wanting to be thrust into the center of attention as God’s answer to the people’s rebellious cry for a man to take the place of God as King over them. He was already taller than everyone else (1 Sam. 9:2; 10:23), which probably made him feel out of place or led to an inferiority complex. Even after being privately anointed by the prophet Samuel as king, anointed by the Spirit to become a different man, and then publicly anointed as king before all the people, he directly returned to serving his own household (1 Sam. 10:26).
Saul didn’t seem to have grand aspirations; he returned to the only life he knew. He didn’t even attempt to use his new authority until his changing heart and the kingly anointing upon him was stirred by injustice in the land (1 Sam. 11:5-6). Only then did he realize that he was no longer the man he used to be. This is an incredible illustration of the anointing and how it begins shaping us as well.
Saul went from being intimidated by the idea of leading a nation, to being intimidated by the young leader he should have mentored and equipped to be more prepared to lead than he himself had been. As a king, his heart was still about his own household; not for the best of the nation. Instead of fear of the responsibility he was given, he became afraid of loosing the kingdom he made his own. Instead of living in humility, knowing that a prophet could replace him at the command of God, he set himself in place and exalted himself to oppose anyone who made him feel threatened or reminded him of the anointing he once knew. Instead of humbling himself before God, he grew to oppose God to the point that God actually regretted making Saul king (1 Sam. 15:35).
I don’t believe Saul set out with the intention of making a mess of things and becoming a power hungry, controlling leader, but he never conquered his fears. He allowed his fears to overrule the anointing on his life. As a result, his fears morphed and continued to dictate his actions throughout his lifetime. Perhaps he had grown accustomed to the anointing he had not pursued until he assumed it was enough to carry him all the way through. It seems he began to believe he could do what he wanted or whatever he thought best instead of listening to the Lord or the prophets and still succeed.
What Are You Afraid To Lose?
God restored Nebuchadnezzar to power, perhaps one of the most wicked kings who has ever ruled (Dan. 4:34-37). I believe God would have restored Saul and that He will restore any leader who will humble themselves before the King of all the Earth.
What are you afraid to lose? Surrender it to God. Seek the voice of the Lord again and realign with the anointing that He placed upon your life. May He restore you, prolong your days, and grant you more than you ever sought or hoped for.
Jeremy Caris is the founder and president of Caris Ministries. Since he is called as a prophet and gifted as a teacher, much of his focus involves equipping believers to hear, know, and follow God in their own daily experience. He teaches the foundational truth of the Word with simple clarity, while revealing deep things of the spirit in practical ways. He has the unique ability to demystify the supernatural side of real relationship with a living God and make it an embraceable and accessible reality for all believers. Jeremy has been married to his best friend, Mandy Caris, for eighteen years, and is the proud father of two boys.