When Firsts are Lasts and Lasts are Firsts
(1 Samuel 16:1) And the LORD said unto Samuel, How long wilt thou mourn for Saul, seeing I have rejected him from reigning over Israel? fill thine horn with oil, and go, I will send thee to Jesse the Bethlehemite: for I have provided me a king among his sons. In this chapter we see a marvelous thing: God cashiers Saul's services and so "...the Spirit of the LORD departed from Saul..." (1SAM 16:14) to alight upon David so that "...the LORD was with him, and was departed from Saul" (1SAM 18:12). Saul, for all of his might and stature (1SAM 9:1-2) was, like Samson when the Spirit left him (JDG 16:20-21), without power for the task. Israel's first king (a man after the peoples' own hearts) here is cast off for one after God's own heart (1SAM 13:14 c/w ACT 13:22) and so forms part of the list of "firsts" that are "lasts" with God: The first Adam gives way to the Last Adam, Cain to Abel, Ishmael to Isaac, Esau to Jacob, natural Israel to spiritual Israel, the Jerusalem of earth to the Jerusalem above, Levi's priesthood to Melchizedek's, an earthly tabernacle to a heavenly, the present heaven and earth to the new heaven and earth, the old man to the new man, the image of the earthy to the image of the heavenly. King Saul sprang from Benjamin (1SAM 9:1-2) as did Tarsus Saul (PHIL 3:5). Jacob had prophesied that "Benjamin shall ravin as a wolf..." (GEN 49:27) and both Sauls did so: King Saul doing so to David after the spirit left him, and Tarsus Saul doing so to David's son (MAT 22:42 c/w ACT 9:4-5) ere the spirit of God arrested him so that the wolf might dwell and feed together with the Lamb (c/w ISA 11:6 c/w ISA 65:25). Jacob had also once prophesied that "The sceptre shall not depart from Judah..." (GEN 49:10), intimating the royal family of God's pleasure would not be Benjamin and so the noble Berean (c/w ACT 17:10-11) of Samuel's day might have suspected that the royal house of Saul would not endure. Per our text, Israel's true king must be from Bethlehem of Juda (MIC 5:2 c/w MAT 2:1-6). Curious and mysterious are the ways of our God and let us be in awe: "Who hath directed the Spirit of the LORD, or being his counsellor hath taught him" (ISA 40:13)?