Saul passes his first great test, Israel not so much.
Some bad hombres annex a group of Israelites and as part of a humiliating “peace” deal threaten to take out the right eye of every male. The Israelites beg 7 days to see if anyone will help.
Saul galvanises his personal outrage into national leadership and rescues them and the territory, defeating the ammonites. Israel has a born leader.
Sometimes what we want, our deepest desires, and god’s will and plan overlap. Israel want to be winners, to keep all their land, to unify and be strong. God promised the land, said they are a single nation, a chosen people. That’s a fair degree of overlap.
But the gaps show in their reaction, such as wanting to put to death anyone who questioned making Saul king. Saul himself intervenes and reminds them that the victory is not his but the lord’s.
However the subtlety is already being lost in the joy of victory. The king, the victory, are tangible. The people never seem able to completely connect, in a sacrificial way, with God.
Good for God, good for me. It’s a seductive notion. But “win win” is not the third great commandment.
It’s easy to criticise in obvious examples like prosperity doctrine, which teaches that earthly wealth is evidence of god’s blessing. But the comfort of my existence is surely riddled with it.
How much am I willing to put on the line for God?