When I was young there were times when I was made fun of for my freckles. Once I was told by a neighbor kid that I was a “reject” because of them. When the kid’s dad recognized how her words hurt me, he approached us both and said, “You know, freckles are evidence of God’s special touch. They’re like the stars in the sky.” He turned my feeling of being rejected into a thing of beauty; and he planted a seed because, at the time, I had little idea of who God was. I’ve never forgotten that encounter and it means more to me now than ever because now I have Jesus and I know God.
But there was a huge gap of time in my life when I rejected Jesus. All of this came to mind as I was studying a certain situation in 1 Samuel:

“Then all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel
at Ramah and said to him, “Behold, you are old and your sons
do not walk in your ways. Now appoint for us a king to judge
us like all the nations.” But the thing displeased Samuel when they
said, “Give us a king to judge us.” And Samuel prayed to the
LORD. And the LORD said to Samuel, “Obey the voice of the
people in all they say to you, for they have not rejected you,
but they have rejected me from being King over them.””
1 Samuel 8:4-7 – ESV

Does that stir up some righteous anger in you? It does me, but then my puffed-up chest deflates as I reflect on my own failures and doubts through life, times when I rejected the Lord’s guidance because I thought I knew better or could run things on my own. Much like how Israel wanted a king because they wanted to be “like all the nations.”
But even when we reject the Lord, He is still Lord over all things (Psalm 24:1-2). And as Lord over all things He selected Saul, son of Kish, a prominent man of Benjamin (1 Samuel 9:1).

I’ve often wondered why God chose Saul when the Promised Offspring (Genesis 3:15) was to be from the tribe of Judah (Genesis 49:8-12). Saul, who would eventually reject God (1 Samuel 13-14) and then be rejected by God (1 Samuel 13:13-14). But, with God, there is always a lesson that comes through a test, and as I have studied God’s Word, I believe that Saul was God’s judgment on Israel’s rejection of Him.

Israel had been battling on and off with the Philistines for over twenty years (1 Samuel 7:2). The ark of the covenant was stolen from them and then returned (1 Samuel 4-6). The Philistines were brutal people with some giants in their arsenal (https://www.gotquestions.org/Philistines.html; https://www.gotquestions.org/how-tall-was-Goliath.html). So as God’s people viewed other nations, they wanted what they had – formidable warriors and kingly leadership. They were looking to tangible worldly men when it was the invisible omnipresent God who had brought them thus far. Maybe that’s why God describes the build and stature of Saul – he is impressive and tall (1 Samuel 9:2) – because that’s what His people were looking for.
But, you know that old saying, “Be careful what you ask for?”
Well, the Lord also warned His people of “the rights of the king who will reign over you…” and He went on to tell the Israelites about their sons and daughters who could be taken and put to work for the king as he sees fit (1 Samuel 8:10-13). The Lord tells them about the property and its yield that could be taken from them, as well as their money and servants (1 Samuel 8:14-18).

Saul’s downfall came with another battle against the Philistines, but they didn’t defeat him, he defeated himself by performing an unauthorized sacrifice – just as God was ready to establish his permanent reign over Israel (1 Samuel 13; vv:13-14). Saul tried to grovel and to get the prophet Samuel to help reverse God’s decision but, as Samuel put it, “… the LORD has torn the kingship of Israel away from you today and has given it to your neighbor who is better than you. Furthermore, the Eternal One of Israel does not lie or change his mind, for he is not man who changes his mind” (1 Samuel 15:28-29).

Enter the family of Jesse of Bethlehem. Samuel was sent to them to anoint God’s next king. When Samuel met the eldest of Jesse’s son’s, he thought he had found God’s man, but God told him:

“Do not look at his appearance or his stature because I have
rejected him. Humans do not see what the Lord sees, for humans
see what is visible, but the Lord sees the Heart.”

1 Samuel 16:7, CSB

After Samuel met seven of Jesse’s sons who did not pass muster as God’s chosen, he was told there was an eighth son, the youngest, a shepherd, “who had beautiful eyes and a healthy, handsome appearance” (1Samuel 16:1-13).
David has a long road ahead of him before he actually sits on the throne over Israel, but Scripture goes on to tell the story of how he finally becomes King David, the son of the Ephrathite from Bethlehem of Judah named Jesse (1 Samuel 17:12).

As I started this writing, I wasn’t sure where I was being led with it. But as our political scene here in the U.S. heats up toward election day this November, I think the gest of where I’m headed is to another Scripture verse:

“It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in man.”
Psalm 118:8