King Saul, the son of Kish, was the first king of Israel. As I was reading about Saul’s anointing today, something occurred to me when I read these verses:

9 As Saul turned to leave Samuel, God changed Saul’s heart, and all these signs were fulfilled that day. 10 When he and his servant arrived at Gibeah, a procession of prophets met him; the Spirit of God came powerfully upon him, and he joined in their prophesying.

1 Samuel 10:9-10 (NIV)

Was Saul saved? Is that what these verses are telling us?

I think it’s a logical question since 2 Corinthians 5:17 informs us that “if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! (NIV) It certainly might seem like that’s what happened in verse 9. We might also remember what Jesus told his disciples in Acts “you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you” (1:8 NIV). However, I don’t think we can apply these verses or New Testament thinking and think Saul was converted. At least, not as we who have been saved have been converted. 

There are many times in the Old Testament when the Spirit of the Lord comes upon a person. Othniel, Gideon, Jephthah, Samson, David, Amasai, Jahaziel, and Ezekiel are all people that come to mind. We also know that Moses and Joshua were given the Spirit by the Lord. When Elijah died, Elisha received a double portion of his spirit. Which I believe was the Spirit of the Lord. There may be other examples in the Old Testament that I have missed, but I think the point we can get is that the Spirit of the Lord could enter someone to empower them to do something and then leave. We see evidence of this with Samson.

The Spirit of the Lord came powerfully upon him so that he tore the lion apart with his bare hands as he might have torn a young goat. But he told neither his father nor his mother what he had done.

Judges 14:6 (NIV)

Then she called, “Samson, the Philistines are upon you!” He awoke from his sleep and thought, “I’ll go out as before and shake myself free.” But he did not know that the Lord had left him.

Judges 16:20 (NIV)

Then Samson prayed to the Lord, “Sovereign Lord, remember me. Please, God, strengthen me just once more, and let me with one blow get revenge on the Philistines for my two eyes.” Then Samson reached toward the two central pillars on which the temple stood. Bracing himself against them, his right hand on the one and his left hand on the other, Samson said, “Let me die with the Philistines!” Then he pushed with all his might, and down came the temple on the rulers and all the people in it. Thus he killed many more when he died than while he lived.

Judges 16:28-30 (NIV)

The text doesn’t tell us that the Spirit returned when Samson prayed to the Lord, but I believe Samson couldn’t have done what he did if God hadn’t given him the strength. 

We also know that the Spirit eventually left Saul.

Now the Spirit of the Lord had departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the Lord tormented him.

1 Samuel 16:14 (NIV)

Therefore, it’s safe to presume the Spirit came upon people and then left them. We know it left Saul because of all the evil he had done, and it left Samson because of his unbelief and actions. It returned to Samson because of his belief. 

If Saul wasn’t saved, then what can we glean from 1 Samuel 10:9-10? 

Verse 9 tells us God changed Saul’s heart. I believe God gave Saul a heart to govern. I think God took the good that he had already deposited in Saul and added to it. We know Saul was humble and cared about his family (cf. 1 Samuel 9:5,21). We also know God chose him to be Israel’s king (cf. 1 Samuel 9:17). Verse 10 tells us the Spirit of God came powerfully on Saul. When God changed Saul’s heart, he enabled Saul to receive the Spirit so it could work within him to do everything that needed to be done. I’m reminded of Solomon who asked for wisdom and was granted it. 

When we are saved, we literally become a new creation. We have the Holy Spirit dwelling within us, and we have access to the mind of Christ. Our minds are transformed and renewed; this changes the way we think (cf. Romans 12:2). None of this was possible before Jesus was glorified. 

But very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you.

John 16:7 (NIV)

Thus, Saul couldn’t have been converted as we might think. Concerning Saul’s salvation and whether or not he went home to be with the Lord. Only God knows the truth of that.

Do you know God? God knows you, and he loves you. He sees you as significant because you are. No one is insignificant to Him. He’s with you today, and he wants you to know him. Jesus died for your sins and mine so we could be free of guilt, be free from death, and live eternally with him. Eternal salvation is just a prayer away. 

Pray this prayer with me to accept the gift of salvation today:

Lord Jesus, forgive me for all my sins. I repent from my ways. Wash me in your blood and cleanse me from all unrighteousness. I believe that you died on the cross, were buried, and on the third day, God the Father raised you from the dead. Right now, Lord Jesus, I open the door to my heart, and I receive you into my heart as my Lord and personal Savior. Amen.

If you prayed that prayer, then congratulations! You are on the first step of a brand new life. Allow me to be the first to welcome you to my family, the family of God. There are abundant resources available online for new Christians. You can visit here for more information on what to do next. You can also leave me a comment, and I’ll do my best to help you on the next step of this incredible journey.