First Samuel 9 presents the account of Saul’s searching for his father’s donkeys that were lost. In a fascinating way, this account reveals God’s working in human lives to bring about His purposes.
Kish Sends His Son and A Servant to Look for His Donkeys
Kish was a prominent man in Benjamin (1 Sam. 9:1) whose son Saul was both the most handsome person in Israel and the tallest (1 Sam. 9:2). When Kish’s donkeys were lost, he sent Saul and one of his servants to seek them (1 Sam. 9:3).
Unable to find them after a lengthy search, Saul spoke to his servant to return to his father so that his father would not become concerned about Saul and his servant instead of the lost donkeys (1 Sam. 9:4-5). Because they were in the land of Zuph and the servant knew that there was a man of God there, he convinced Saul instead to go to the prophet to seek counsel from him about the way that they should go (1 Sam. 9:6-10).
Saul and the Servant Meet Samuel
As they were going to the city to seek out the prophet, they encountered some young women who directed them about where they should go to meet him (1 Sam. 9:11-13). As they were following their directions, Samuel, the prophet, met them because he was going to the same place that the women had directed them to go meet him (1 Sam. 9:14).
Remarkable Information about God’s Working
The next verses in First Samuel 9 record what God had informed Samuel about on the day prior to this meeting with Saul:
1Sa 9:15 Now the LORD had told Samuel in his ear a day before Saul came, saying,
16 To morrow about this time I will send thee a man out of the land of Benjamin, and thou shalt anoint him to be captain over my people Israel, that he may save my people out of the hand of the Philistines: for I have looked upon my people, because their cry is come unto me [bold added].
These verses show that God had told Samuel that He would send him tomorrow around the very time of their meeting a man out of Benjamin to anoint as the captain over His people who would deliver them.
When we read, however, the earlier verses in the chapter, we do not find any indication that God spoke to either Saul or the servant to go to the prophet. Nor do we find any indication of His directing them to do so through any means of which they were aware.
Without the information in First Samuel 9:16, we would not have known even to think that it was God who sent Saul to Samuel through the events that took place. In a fascinating way, this passage thus teaches us about God’s working in human lives to direct them to His ends without their having any direct communication from Him about what He wants them to do.
It also illustrates how God uses circumstances and people in our lives to bring us together with other people for His purposes and does so in inscrutable ways that we should not regard as luck, chance, or coincidence.
This account should encourage us to trust God to work in our lives in ways that are “exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think” (Eph. 3:20), just as He did for Kish, Saul, and his servant, who all had no idea of what God was going to do through Kish’s sending them to look for his lost donkeys!