The earth trembles when a slave becomes king
Proverbs tells us that there are three, yet four things that cause the earth to tremble. The first is when a slave becomes king.
We enjoy rags to riches stories, and we want the underdog to win. Yet the point of this proverb is not about the slave when he is a slave. Rather, it is about what happens to his head and his heart when he becomes a king.
Saul was not a slave, but we know what happened when he became king. Saul did not consider himself king-quality. He started out humble, just like a slave would begin.
Samuel came to town to anoint the new king. The method he used to find the new king was by lot. The tribe of Benjamin was chosen; then the clan of the Matrites; next, Saul the son of Kish was chosen by lot.
Saul wasn’t there; he wasn’t waiting to be chosen, and he wasn’t asking for the job. When Samuel sent to get Saul to come, he could not be found. Scripture tells us that Saul was hiding among the luggage. Saul stood a head taller than others, yet he could not be found. He was hiding.
Samuel anointed Saul and Saul returned home. He did not tell his family about the anointing. When his uncle asked where he was, he replied he was looking for his father’s donkeys, but they were found.
One would think that a man who does not ascribe to become king is a humble man. One would assume that he, because of his humility and not desiring for power, would be a good king.
What changed Saul
After Saul had been king for two years, he failed to follow Samuel’s instructions. It cost him his kingship.
Samuel’s instructions were to wait 7 days after Saul’s victory. When Samuel did not show up, Saul became impatient and the people were restless, so Saul went ahead with the burnt offering and peace offerings. Finally, Samuel came.
Saul excused himself for disregarding Samuel’s orders. “The people were scattering and you were not here, so I went ahead. I did not want the Philistines to fight us because we had not done the offerings.”
Samuel tells Saul how foolish he was for not obeying. Then he adds,
You have done foolishly. You have not kept the command of the Lord your God, with which he commanded you. For then the Lord would have established your kingdom over Israel forever. But now your kingdom shall not continue. The Lord has sought out a man after his own heart, and the Lord has commanded him to be prince over his people, because you have not kept what the Lord commanded you.
Saul was king. He did not think he needed help from anyone. He felt he could make his own decisions without following what God said he should do. Then he excused himself, saying he was afraid he would not have the blessing of God if he did not do the sacrifices before he went to battle!
The rest of the story
Saul spent the rest of his life trying to keep the kingdom in his family. He fought God by fighting David, the next king already anointed by Samuel.
Saul was handsome, winsome, and wise in many ways. Yet the power of being king went to his head. This is why the earth trembles when a “slave” becomes a king.
When a man cannot handle the power he has, he is a failure. If a man keeps pushing God away and tries to be in control, he is a danger. When a man refuses to acknowledge his sin and his failure, he is lost for eternity.
Saul spent days hunting down David and then being repentant. He lived miserably, trying to outsmart others and God. Had he repented, he could have encouraged David as king instead of fighting him. Saul could have enjoyed restored relationships with his family and his servants.
Instead of staying in the protection afforded him as chosen by God, he stepped out of God’s plan and went his own way. His family and his nation suffered because of his failure. This is why the earth trembles when a lowly man becomes king.
Photo credits: sweet publishing/freebibleimages.org