There are two Sauls in the Bible; one in the Old Testament and the New Testament from them we can learn much and see two very different paths of life.
The Saul of the Old Testament is the son of Kish a very powerful man within the tribe of Benjamin (the smallest tribe) who was favored and remembered to of been the most handsome man among all Israel at the time, he also stood a head taller than everyone else.
It wasn’t until an encounter with the prophet Samuel while on a search for his fathers donkeys that he received his transformation from God.
Acts 7:58, Acts 8:1,3
The Saul of the New Testament is first mentioned in Acts 8 where Stephen is stoned and persecution breaks out in Israel. He was a young man at the time but had some form of religious authority demonstrated by imprisoning New Covenant Christian believers.
The next mention is in Acts 9 where it is stated that he planned on killing all of the Disciples of Christ, he was also seeking authorization from the chief priest to imprison anyone who mentioned Christ.
While trying to do this on His was to Damascus His transformation began.
Both Saul’s received a dramatic change directly from God. King Saul’s was from directions from Samuel on where to find his fathers donkeys in which he became a new man (1Samuel 10:2-9) and even amazed the other local prophets by his own prophesies (1Samuel 10:10-12).
He was dramatically transformed when he left Samuel to follow his directions and find his fathers donkeys, Samuel read his mail and told him everything that was “in his heart” (1Samuel 9:19).
Despite Saul’s newness he seemed to be quite incompetent in what seems to be the next day where Samuel anointed him as king over Israel. Saul hid among the baggage, perhaps did not like to stand out, he feared the people, or did not believe he was capable of being King..
Which ever reason it was, it was based on fear and a bad self image, both of which are things God restores in us when we are truly transformed by Him. God told Samuel directly that Saul was hiding in the baggage and immediately they found him there, what a way to be humbled- to be uncovered hiding in baggage in front of all the tribes of Israel when you are elected King by God!
Humble yourself and get over your fear or God will humble you and drag you over your fear.
The Saul of the New Testament later known as Paul was a similar story but with very different results. Jesus met him personally in a blinding light asking him “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me”. And from there Saul went into the town of Damascus, Ananias found him who had been told in a dream to go lay hands on him in order that Paul may regain his sight and it happened. Again God used a prophet, and gave direct instructions to those who had ears to hear. God restored what was lost to Saul when he obeyed God’s instruction (this also happened when the old Saul and his lost donkeys). Once Saul began operating in his new powerful ministry he immediately came against opposition as did the Old Testament Saul once he was elected king. Some Jews desperately sought to kill the (new) Saul, and some Israelites instantly did not want (old) Saul to be king. The moment we obey God and flow in His will go against the grain of the world and it is at that moment you become a threat to the kingdom of darkness thus Satan keeps you in his crosshairs. Through Paul’s many persecution, imprisonments, and trials he persisted in His transformed faith in Christ and authored 2/3’s of the New Testament Canon we have today, he also founded much of the early church in middle East.
The end of (old) Saul was with his disobedience in 1Samuel 15:9 but stemming back to 1Samuel 13:12 where both times He did not wait on the prophet to come and sacrifice (he went on his own timing), so he did the sacrifice himself. We all have habits whether they are habits of praise in hard times, or habits of selfishness in easy times. It takes time to break our flesh from its patterns and implement a new holy pattern nevertheless it is required of us if we are to serve Christ. Impatience is doubting that God will follow through with His promises at the right time.
It is clear Paul abounded in patience, humbleness, faith and even God’s power right after he turned his life over to Christ (who he had been opposing for years). Paul was changed so much that he acquired a new name, this happened to others in the New Testament and symbolizes the new covenant of atonement making us a new creation, He came to give us a new future.
So let’s learn from these two characters
|Was directed by a prophet to find fathers donkeys||Was directed by God to receive sight back from a prophet|
|Hid at his annunciation service to Kingship||Walked openly in his new identity and stood against opposition|
|Did not wait on priests to sacrifice||Was patient in the works of ministry|
|Was jealous when David was anointed||Was humble and gave thanks to all the body and ministers|
|Was driven by desires||Disciplined himself and obeyed the Lord|
|Was killed in battle||Lived through at least one near death experience and was persecuted a lot|
*I realized that this blog was titled Two Pauls but there was only one Paul and two Sauls, thus the title was corrected.