From Donkeys to King: The Beginnings of Saul

(originally published March 6, 2015)

Saul was very much like you and me before he rose to kingship. He had a relatively normal life with his family and didn't have much prospect for a life beyond that. He was a man who had normal responsibilities each day. Much like you and me, he was a regular guy doing his regular duties, unaware what God was orchestrating behind the scenes.

We first meet Saul in 1 Samuel 9 as he goes looking for his families lost donkeys. It wasn't anything glamorous or the distinguished makings of a king; it was the everyday role he played in working for his family. You might say it was his hourly job...stay at home with the kids...nine to five...freshman college student life. Donkeys went missing and Saul was tasked with making the journey to find them, along with a servant.

Three days they journeyed on foot to find the missing donkeys. About this time Saul decides it would be beneficial to return so his father doesn't worry about him. However, the servant suggests that they go see the great prophet Samuel, since he is nearby. It's all part of God's plan. Every lost donkey, step and day--it all added up to the culmination of Samuel and Saul meeting. As Saul enters the city, he runs into Samuel! In that moment, God speaks to Samuel that Saul was the one He had spoken about. Saul was the future king God had in mind!

Samuel ends up inviting Saul to join him at a special dinner, where he would be given the seat of honor and the chosen meat. It was a huge honor and big deal to Saul. Samuel even expresses to Saul that, "you and your family are the focus of all Israel's hopes." This was a lot for Saul to take in. Obviously, because he goes on to inform Samuel of his humble background, coming from the least of the tribes. It's a sign of humility for Saul, although one that doesn't last, unfortunately. It's troubling that Saul one day allows pride to capture his heart, instead of the Father's. Let us never forget that and learn from his mistakes...I pray I don't!

The next day Samuel anoints Saul the first king of Israel, as a part of God's master plan. Saul returns home, although keeps his news a secret from his family for a time. It's amazing too, because who wouldn't be overflowing with such news! Later Samuel would bring all the tribes together to proclaim Saul the king, and watch as God gives Saul a new heart throughout the journey.

This story is for you, for me and for all. It's a story of encouragement and excitement, because it shows us that God has a plan for each of us that is bigger than our own. That any day or around any corner is a dream come true, or perhaps a dream we didn't even know we had! 

Saul went out looking for donkeys and returned a king. That's something he could never have dreamed up for himself. But God did, and although Saul didn't feel qualified for the task, God equipped him.

Maybe you feel like you're out looking for donkeys today. Know that God has something "immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine." (Ephesians 3.20) Don't give up looking or hoping or dreaming, my friend. Believe that your heart's deepest desire, if aligned with His, will beat through till birth. And if it is indeed something aligned with His, do your part! Saul didn't sit around the house all day. Those donkey's were of great value and it was an important job he embarked on. If it's your dream to open a business, get your degree and start saving. If it's to go into vocational ministry, start serving. If it's to write (wink, wink), then start writing! Do your part, but watch for God to do His incredible part that only He can do. Saul could never have made himself king, but God could, and God can do anything with your life!

Don't ever forget that Saul went looking for donkeys and found kingship. Don't ever forget that you could be next.


  1. Do you have a dream in your heart you've been waiting to see birthed? Take a moment and write that down somewhere, such as your journal our a post-it on your mirror. Pray over that dream each day, believing in the God who can do anything.

  2. What can you do in making steps toward this dream. Write these down as well and commit to working on them.