Nahash the Ammonite came up against Jabesh Gilead, and besieged them. They tried to make an agreement with him, but he said the only way they could be safe is if they allowed him to put out all their right eyes, to shame them. They asked for 7 days to decide, and sent messengers into all the land of Israel asking for help. The messengers came to Gibeah of Saul and he heard the plight of Jabesh. He was very angry and cut up a yoke of oxen and sent them among the Israelites with the message that anyone who did not come up with Saul to fight against Nahash would have the same done to their oxen. The Israelites came out as one, and 330,000 men went out in three companies to fight against Nahash. They went out at the morning watch, and killed Ammonites until the heat of the day. The few who survived were scattered. The people then asked to kill all those who rejected Saul as king, But Saul said that no one should be killed that day, for the Lord had accomplished salvation in Israel. They all returned to Gilgal, made Saul king, offered peace offerings, and rejoiced greatly.
This is a lesson in leadership. Several times prior to the selection and anointing of Saul, it was stated that there was no king in the land, so everyone did what was right in their own eyes. In this case, messengers called for help for the inhabitants of Jabesh. The people did not seem to be in a hurry to respond. Saul, moved upon by the Spirit of God, made a grand gesture that called out the Israelites. They responded, and Jabesh was defended. When there is a work to be done, people can be tepid in their response. It is only when a leader steps up, that God’s work can have the best chance to succeed. Get the right leaders in place, and follow them to the battle. Then, the battle will be the Lord’s!