The appearance of a new king can for some be an exciting experience, as we have seen recently in Spain. This was the case also when Israel chose its first king, Saul. We can read about the events leading up to this occasion in 1 Samuel. Yet not everyone was pleased about this development, including God. Why was he displeased?
Basically, Israel’s desire for a king was a rejection of God’s methods in favour of the methods of the surrounding nations. This rejection did not mean that God was no longer in control or that he was no longer interested in his people; it did mean, however, that he would chastise them, and the giving of Saul as king was an evidence of this divine chastisement. It is important that we remember this when we read about some of Saul’s actions in later years when he disobeys God.
Sadly there are some wrong actions that God’s people take which seem to have irreversible consequences. When Israel went down the road of having a king, God gave them over to their choice and he did not reverse the choice throughout their history until the monarchy reached its doom in the exile in Babylon. This type of thing has happened repeatedly throughout church history. There can be long-term effects of some choices.
Happily, although the institution of the monarchy would not be removed until the exile, God would show his mercy many times in the situation by sending good and godly kings, such as David and Hezekiah, who would attempt to lead the people in the ways of God.
The enthronement of Saul was the first of many of which God did not approve as far as his kingdom was concerned. Yet even in that process he intervened and intimated that a real King would come as a consequence, not from the line of Saul but from the line of David. That king was Jesus and his enthronement following his ascension to heaven after his resurrection was marked by great celebrations. In fact, the celebrations are still taking place and will do so forever, which is very different from the temporary commotion that marked the crowning of Saul. Today we can participate in the ongoing celebration of our King, whose reign will have no end.