1 Samuel 9: The Providence of God


  • A handsome man
  • A sovereign God


Living by sight and not by faith is the perennial challenge for the Christian. We often live as if God as revealed in the Scriptures is not real. Living by sight will look different depending on when and where you live. If you are a tribal person living in animistic Africa before the age of modern science and medicine, living by sight means looks like forsaking trusting in God for health and fertility and turning to the witch doctor and your ancestors for blessing. You interpret the world not through the lens of the teachings of scripture but the lens of your non-Christian worldview. To live by faith is to take that unbelieving worldview and conform it to the teachings of the bible. In our modern age the challenge to live by faith and not sight is harder than if you were living in animistic Africa. We live in the age of scientism and verificationism where the material is seen to be the only thing that is real because it is testable. The modern man no longer thinks in terms of angels and demons, of heaven and hell, of God and the devil, or of having a soul. Self-help, techniques, formulas, not prayer is the answer to our problems. So the portion that we have before us is very helpful in terms of reminding us of God’s involvement in the universe and what we hold to by faith. We are taught by this portion to interpret the events of our lives not as random chance events that are inconsequential and have no author or purpose. Instead we are reminded of a sovereign God whose providence reigns over every aspect of creation.

God is granting selfish Israel’s sinful request and giving them the king after their own hearts. God is the one who is leading the orchestra of the events that leads to Saul becoming King. We have a while chapter dedicated to banal and everyday events but which are all under the control of God to bring about His purposes. He is going to discipline Israel, He is acting in His fatherly power, and He mercifully uses His power to guide events to fulfil His ultimate aims for Israel. As we move through this chapter we want to take note of Saul as the man Israel wanted but more importantly we want to see every detail of our lives as lived in the hands of our all-powerful God.