vv 15-16 Now the Lord had told Samuel the previous day, “About this time tomorrow I will send you a man from the land of Benjamin. Anoint him to be the leader of my people, Israel. He will rescue them from the Philistines, for I have looked down on my people in mercy and have heard their cry.”
I can well imagine Samuel wondering how on earth he might go about finding a King to suit the people. God had his candidate however – a man who matched up to the basic human requirements for sure, ‘Tall and Handsome’ (v 2) Saul was a popular and powerful man to lead the nation, but he was still not on Samuel’s radar, so God has some ‘fixing’ to do.
The appointment of right leaders is one of the most significant tasks of any existing leaders. So looked at in the cold light of day, the appointment of Saul really does come out of the blue, and through the strangest of circumstances. V 16 is just about the vaguest set of leadership conditions imaginable! ‘When you see him – I’ll tell you.’ Samuel had no more to go on than that, and he trusted God to do what was necessary.
I find this is one of the most striking of Samuel’s qualities. It is his ability to listen to God and respond to what He is saying and doing that sets him apart as a prophet. He was a man who listened first – that is a strong mark of any leader under God.
And not only leaders; those of us who want to follow Jesus must first and foremost be good listeners and aware of what God is saying in all circumstances.