Those words were written about a strapping young man named Saul, son of Kish, who was being prepared to be the first king of Israel. The prophet Samuel anointed him with oil, kissed him (in a totally prophetic & manly way), and predicted some awfully specific signs that would follow Saul’s movements. Samuel told Saul that the Spirit of the Lord would rush upon him, and he’d prophesy with the prophets. The word of God records that as Saul turned to leave Samuel, God gave him another heart. No, he didn’t carry a spare; God did a work of transformation, renewing the heart of the young man who had been chosen to lead God’s people.
Here’s the kicker for me: God had been leading, protecting, providing for, and delivering the nation of Israel. But the people of Israel wanted a king like the other nations. Samuel warned them about their foolishness. In asking for a king, the nation of Israel was rejecting God as their king. How did he respond? God told Samuel to give them what they wanted, then selected Saul to rule. In fact, God said:
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.
He looked down in mercy, heard their cry, and sent a rescuer.
That’s my God.
He gives new hearts to those in need.
That’s the good news, the story of Easter.
Of course, Saul was a human being, just like you and me. And just like us, Saul was broken and bent of sin. He blew it. His story doesn’t end well. But for a time, he was God’s man, chosen from the nation to lead and serve, to deliver and rescue. A man with another heart.
I’ve come to the point where I regularly ask God for a new heart, for a transformation. Sure, there’s some heart work, some change that I can make. But I know down deep that there’s some transformation that only God can do.