Did you ever wonder in the story of Samson why God arranged to have Samson mad at the Philistines to get them? Why couldn’t God just tell Samson to rise up and fight like He did with Gideon?
Gideon’s heart was to obey. I guess Samson’s wasn’t. Was there no one in Israel who was willing to obey, so that God had to work through Samson in that way? God had to use Samson’s wrong desires.
Here in 1 Samuel 9, God is again arranging things for Israel to have a king, even though His desire is for Israel to follow Him as king. He’s able to work within their wrong desires to bring about His good purposes. It not always going to end well for everyone though. While God is working out the good, He still allows us to choose the bad. He doesn’t force Himself on us. We have free will. We get to make our own choices.
God lets Samuel know that the person chosen as Israel’s king will meet him in the city tomorrow.
God sends Saul’s family’s donkeys out and knows that Saul’s dad will send Saul out after them. God knows the path Saul will take and however He does it, has Samuel arrive at just the right time and place to meet Saul.
Samuel treats Saul kingly and speaks big words to Him. Saul knows he’s not all that. He knows he’s from the least clan in the least tribe.
That’s a very God thing to do, to choose the least of these to do His work through. However, God also, I believe, chooses Saul because of what the world will see in him as well. We’re told Saul is from a wealthy family and that he is the most handsome man in all of Israel and that he was a head taller than anyone else as well. Everyone always looked up to Saul. God knew people would look at him and accept him as king.
This all isn’t going to end well for Saul, but I want you to remember the lesson about God hardening hearts. He doesn’t harden anyone’s hearts. We make our own choices. He just knows how we will react. He knows men’s hearts.
God is not setting Saul up for failure. He’s chosen him for a big blessing and honor. God’s intentions toward His children are good.