Chapter 11 of 1Samuel records Saul’s first official act as king. It also answer’s the critics of chapter ten who say “how can this man save us?”

Jabesh-Gilead is under attack from the Ammonites. They appeal for peace and offered the terms that every citizen must have one eye gouged out, the Ammonites would let them live. The elders of Jabesh sent a plea for help to all Israel, but no one would come! They were too wrapped up in “everyman doing what was right in his own eyes” to get involved with other’s problems. But when the message came to Saul, he sent pieces of a divided carcass to the cities with an angry response, “whoever does not come out after Saul and Samuel, so shall it be done to his oxen.”

For the first time since Joshua, Israel received a command with authority from a central government. When the Spirit of the Lord came upon Saul, it was made clear that the nation could not long survive with everyone concerned only about their own interests. It was absolutely essential for them to shift from “doing their own thing” to “I am my brother’s keeper.”

In the middle of the great depression back in the early 30’s, Herbert Hoover said, ” Time and time again the American people have demonstrated a spiritual quality, a capacity for unity of action, of generosity, a certainty of results in time of emergency that have made them great in the annals of the history of all nations. This is the time and this is the occasion when we must arouse that idealism, that spirit. … This civilization and this great complex, which we call American life, is builded and can alone survive upon the translation into individual action of that fundamental philosophy announced by the Savior nineteen centuries ago. Part of our national suffering today is from failure to observe these primary yet inexorable laws of human relationship. Modern society can not survive with the defense of Cain, “Am I my brother’s keeper?”

I wonder if that’s not part of our problem today as well.