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Living Proof--1 Samuel 10 & 11

    I think we’re all probably familiar with the phrase, “actions speak louder than words,” right? I think the phrase is probably self-explanatory, but just in case, the idea is that what we do, says more about our beliefs and who we are, than what we say. What we say, must be backed by what we do, or what we say means very little.
    I remember when I was growing up, you know, I’d do something I knew I wasn’t supposed to do, something that was against what my parents had taught me was right. Inevitably, my actions would come to light, and there was always a conversation with my dad about what was right and wrong in that situation. I’d say that I was sorry, and he would say that he forgave me. But he always added, “I forgive you, and I love you, but the best way to show that you’re truly sorry is to not do this again.”
    And isn’t that the definition of true repentance? That we not only say that we’re sorry for sinning against God, but we completely turn away from that sin and seek not to do that sin again. Actions speak louder than words. What we say has to be back by our actions, or eventually our words will fall on deaf ears.
    We like to take people at their word, and initially when we enter into a new relationship with someone, we take their word at face value. They say something to us, and we generally believe them because we haven’t yet been given a reason not to. As the relationship develops and grows, if that person’s actions are proof of what they say, then the trust we had at first is affirmed and strengthened. But, if at any point, a person’s actions contradict what they have said, trust is broken and we are less likely to believe the words they speak again in the future until that trust is reestablished. The more this happens, the less we trust that what that person says is true, and the longer it takes to reestablish that trust.
    The true proof of what we say lies in what we do.
    I’m going to be in 1 Samuel 10 & 11 today. It’s about the proof we have of words spoken. We pick up right where we left off last week, with Saul and Samuel speaking together about Saul being God’s choice to be the king of Israel. Saul displayed a humble attitude at first, astonished that he, Saul, from the least family of the smallest of the tribes would be chosen to be the king over Israel.
    Saul tells his servant to return home, as he and Samuel walk together so Samuel can proclaim God’s word to him. What happens as 1 Samuel 10 opens, is Samuel takes a flask of oil and pours it over Saul’s head, and says this to him, “Has not the Lord anointed you a ruler over His inheritance?”
    This is a private anointing of Saul as king of Israel. It’s not public yet, because there’s certain things that must be done before Saul is publicly affirmed as Israel’s king. But, in order to get to that point, God begins to give Saul assurance that he was in fact the one that was chosen to be the king.
    There’s a series of proofs given to Saul to assure him that he is the king chosen by God, but we’re going to see through this passage that these proofs are also given to Saul to assure him that he is a changed man; that God has done a work in him to make him new, to make him a good king.
    First, Saul gets private proof, three signs that only Saul would be aware of to look for.
    These are the three signs, 1 Samuel 10:2-5, “When you go from me today, then you will find two men close to Rachel’s tomb in the territory of Benjamin at Zelzah; and they will say to you, ‘The donkeys which you went to look for have been found. Now behold, your father has ceased to be concerned about the donkeys and is anxious for you, saying, “What shall I do about my son?”’ Then you will go on further from there, and you will come as far as the oak of Tabor, and there three men going up to God at Bethel will meet you, one carrying three young goats, another carrying three loaves of bread, and another carrying a jug of wine; and they will greet you and give you two loaves of bread, which you will accept from their hand. Afterward you will come to the hill of God where the Philistine garrison is; and it shall be as soon as you have come there to the city, that you will meet a group of prophets coming down from the high place with harp, tambourine, flute, and a lyre before them, and they will be prophesying.”
    Three proofs, the men by Rachel’s tomb who tell him his donkeys have been found; then the men by the oak of Tabor carrying bread and wine; then the prophets near Gibeah playing instruments and prophesying. Now, none of these things by themselves gives proof that Saul is the chosen king, or that he is a changed man, but all three of them happening the way Samuel said it would gives the proof that Saul needed to know that God was the one making it all happen.
    Now, I said that these proofs are not just assurance that Saul is the chosen king, but also proof that Saul is a changed man, proof that Saul is different because God is working in him. 1 Samuel 10:6-7 says, “Then the Spirit of the Lord will come upon you mightily, and you shall prophesy with them and be changed into another man. It shall be when these signs come to you, do for yourself what the occasion requires, for God is with you.”
    It wasn’t enough that Saul would just be told he’s a changed man. He needed proof, not because Saul demanded it, but because God set out to assure Saul that he was a changed man beyond any doubt. Remember, actions speak louder than words, and sometimes, without proof, we are slow to believe that change has actually happened.
    God didn’t just give Saul private proof though, He also gave Him public proof. This assured the people that Saul was a changed man.
    Saul’s heart was indeed changed, 1 Samuel 10:9 tells us that, and he went out and saw all three signs, and then he began to prophesy with the prophets. I want you to look at 1 Samuel 10:11, “It came about, when all who knew him previously saw that he prophesied now with the prophets, that the people said to one another, “What has happened to the son of Kish? Is Saul also among the prophets?”
    People who knew him before he was changed by God saw him prophesying and it was so unusual that they were critical of what they were seeing. “What has happened to the son of Kish?” They said. They couldn’t believe it, that Saul would be speaking the word of God.
    Have you ever had that happen to you? You run into someone you haven’t seen since before you came to Christ, or perhaps before He had changed you drastically, and they have the same skeptical reaction to your changed life? Could this really be the person who I knew before? Could this really be the person I partied with? Could this be the person I drank with? Could this be the person who always cursed? Could this be the person who did all those bad things? And more often than not, they have a difficult time believing that you’ve truly changed.
    Saul certainly had his skeptics, but when God gave this public proof of Saul’s changed life, most of the skeptics were shut up.
    Saul was chosen by lot to be the king before all the people. When he is brought before the people, and everyone sees him, this is what happens, 1 Samuel 10:24, “Samuel said to all the people, “Do you see him whom the Lord has chosen? Surely there is no one like him among all the people.” So all the people shouted and said, “Long live the king!”
    Now, if you read through the end of the chapter, you’ll see that not all of Saul’s skeptics were silenced, but the majority of the people had his back. The majority of the people supported him as king because they saw proof of a changed man before them.
    1 Samuel 11 gives us one final proof, and that’s proof in action. It’s a chance for Saul to act on the change that has taken place in his life. It wasn’t enough to just have proof that he had changed, he had to act on that proof. Remember that actions speak louder than words.
    The proof in action in 1 Samuel 11 is Saul’s defeat of the Ammonites. He shows incredible wisdom and direction in doing this, but the truly astonishing wisdom, the absolute proof of Saul’s changed heart comes in what he does after the victory is won.
    Remember I said that most of the skeptics changed their minds when they saw that Saul had really changed, but that there were still some who were against him. After the victory over the Ammonites, some of the people came to Samuel and said, “Hey, remember those people who were criticizing Saul, well, let’s bring them here and put them to death.” All for not supporting Saul.
    1 Samuel 11:13 gives us Saul’s response to this suggestion, “But Saul said, “Not a man shall be put to death this day, for today the Lord has accomplished deliverance in Israel.”
    He shows with his actions, his decision not to put to death those who spoke out against him, proof that he is a changed man. He recognizes that despite what some had said about him, God’s purposes were still accomplished, the Lord delivered Israel. He showed incredible wisdom and discernment here as he proves that he is being guided by the Spirit in his actions because he is different than he was before.
    1 Samuel 11 ends with Saul being officially made king.
    So what does all of this have to do with us? Well, I want to show you that in the same way that Saul had proof that he was changed and being used by God, we also have proof as Christians that we have been changed by God.
    We have private proof, proof just for us as individuals that we have been changed. One of my favorite passages is 2 Corinthians 5:17, “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.”
    One of the most compelling proofs we have for ourselves is the new person who emerges after we come to Christ. We see a change in ourselves, we see a change in our attitudes, in our mindsets, in our actions and behaviors, even if they are small at first, there is change.
    Ezekiel 11:19 and 36:26 talk about God removing our heart of stone, our hearts that are calloused toward him and lost in sin, and giving us new hearts, hearts that are sensitive to His Spirit and renewed by the forgiveness of sins.
    The fact that we are given the Holy Spirit at the moment of our coming to Christ is, to me, the most convincing evidence that we have of our changed lives. The giving of the Holy Spirit to all believers was promised by Jesus, and so if we know that we have believed in Christ for the forgiveness of our sins and have surrendered our lives to Him, then He has given us His Spirit, and we are indeed saved! We are changed.
    These are the proofs we have for ourselves, so we have assurance that our faith is real and true. But He gives public assurance to others as well, so what they see on the outside matches with the change that has taken place on the inside.
    Galatians 5:22-23 says, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” And verse 24 tells us that those who belong to Christ display this fruit, and so, when you are changed by Him, you display this fruit in increasing measure. The longer you are a Christian, the longer you walk with Him and mature in Him, the more you should display the fruit of the Spirit.
    And, just like Saul was given an opportunity to put the proof of his changed heart into action, we are too. We are given a chance to act on our changed lives. We’re all familiar with the command given in Matthew 28:19-20, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
    We spent two months studying this passage and all that it means for the church. We have the command to take all the proof that we have been given of our changed hearts and go share that with someone else, so their heart might be changed as well. That’s our proof in action.


1. 1 Samuel 10:26 tells us what happened to some of the men who were gathered when Saul was publicly affirmed as king. What might that mean for us as Christians?

2. What specific proofs of your changed life have you seen? How might you speak about those proofs to unbelievers in your life to show them what God has done in you?

3. With what we’ve seen through this message, what might you say to a Christian who is struggling to know that God has truly saved and changed them?

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