Devotionals & Prayer

May 22
A Summer of Sauls

by Julie Clapp

​“The Spirit of the Lord will come powerfully upon you… and you will be changed into a different person.” (1 Samuel 10:6)

So I’m thinking that crowning your country’s first king EVER is kind of a big deal. No, I’m thinking it’s a REALLY big deal. So when I read the story of Saul’s inauguration, I’m somewhat perplexed.

The Israelites decide they want to be just like other countries so they ask God for a king. God warns them that this is not the best option, but they refuse to listen. So God tells Samuel to give the people what they want – their first king.

And here’s where things get strange. The Bible doesn’t say much about the man God chooses to be the first king of Israel. He’s a Benjamite named Saul. We also learn that he’s “a handsome young man. There was not a man among the people of Israel more handsome than he. From his shoulders upward he was taller than any of the people.” (1 Samuel 9:2)

Scripture tells us Saul is tall and good-looking. That’s it! He’s eye candy. No mention of his faith in God, no description of his character. We don’t know if Saul was seeking the Lord or listening to the Lord, but we do know that someone was listening – a prophet named Samuel.

Samuel was intimate with the Lord and heard His voice clearly. So Samuel passed along God’s message to the man who had no idea he would be king: “The Spirit of the Lord will come powerfully upon you… and you will be changed into a different person.” (1 Samuel 10:6)

And that’s exactly what happened. “As Saul turned to leave Samuel, God changed Saul’s heart, and all these signs were fulfilled that day.” (1 Samuel 10:9)

Saul had absolutely nothing to do with his calling to be king. Nothing. It was Samuel who listened and got Samuel where he needed to be. Then God changed Saul.

In Young Life, we constantly remind ourselves that God is the One who changes the hearts of kids. The story of Saul is another reminder for me. These kids we’re chasing may be just like Saul – they may be good-looking or smart or athletic. Or they may be awkward or frustrating or addicted. They may not seem interested in the Lord at all.

In some ways, we’ve got a big responsibility. We need to be like Samuel, so connected to the Lord that we can hear His voice. “Talk to this person about Jesus. Ask that friend how they’re doing. Keep inviting that kid to camp.” We’ve got to listen and then get kids where they need to be. Maybe that’s camp or maybe it’s a Starbucks down the street. We get them there, and then we let God do his thing.

This summer, thousands of kids and leaders from across Dallas/Fort Worth will head to Young Life camp because their leaders have gotten them where they need to be. Some of those kids will get on buses as early as June 4.

Will you join me in praying that these kids have an experience like Saul? Let’s pray that the Spirit of the Lord will come powerfully on each of them and that they will be changed into different people.


Julie Clapp has been on Young Life staff for 16 years, working for the region and now as the national WyldLife director. She serves as a volunteer WyldLife leader in Lake Highlands and thinks junior high kids are awesome. Julie loves USC football and Rocky Road ice cream from Baskin Robbins.​​

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