Daily D – 1 Samuel 9:2; 10:20-24, 26-27; 11:12-15
1 Samuel 9:2 Kish had a son named Saul, as handsome a young man as could be found anywhere in Israel, and he was a head taller than anyone else.
1 Samuel 10:20-24 When Samuel had all Israel come forward by tribes, the tribe of Benjamin was taken by lot. 21 Then he brought forward the tribe of Benjamin, clan by clan, and Matri’s clan was taken. Finally Saul son of Kish was taken. But when they looked for him, he was not to be found. 22 So they inquired further of the LORD, “Has the man come here yet?”
And the LORD said, “Yes, he has hidden himself among the supplies.”
23 They ran and brought him out, and as he stood among the people he was a head taller than any of the others. 24 Samuel said to all the people, “Do you see the man the LORD has chosen? There is no one like him among all the people.”
Then the people shouted, “Long live the king!”
1 Samuel 10:26, 27 Saul also went to his home in Gibeah, accompanied by valiant men whose hearts God had touched. 27 But some scoundrels said, “How can this fellow save us?” They despised him and brought him no gifts. But Saul kept silent.
1 Samuel 11:12-15 The people then said to Samuel, “Who was it that asked, ‘Shall Saul reign over us?’ Turn these men over to us so that we may put them to death.”
13 But Saul said, “No one will be put to death today, for this day the LORD has rescued Israel.”
14 Then Samuel said to the people, “Come, let us go to Gilgal and there renew the kingship.” 15 So all the people went to Gilgal and made Saul king in the presence of the LORD. There they sacrificed fellowship offerings before the LORD, and Saul and all the Israelites held a great celebration.
Saul began well in his reign as king. Beginning well is good. There are two other parts of the equation requiring equal focus and those are the middle and the end. Saul began well. He was tall, handsome (9:2), and humble (10:22). He had a measure of wisdom (11:12-15).
It does not take long, however, for us to see Saul’s impulsive and impatient nature. Soon his rash behavior and his mercurial temper would almost lead to the death of his valiant son, Jonathan. It took the intercession and intervention of his leading men to stop Saul from enforcing his ill-advised command. (See 1 Samuel 14.)
No wonder we read these words of Samuel in 13:14:
the LORD has sought out a man after his own heart and appointed him ruler of his people,
because you have not kept the LORD’s command.”
Unearned characteristics like being tall and handsome must be accompanied by God-honoring character. Saul’s failure to lead with God at the center led God to find someone who would.
Leaders without character that honors God and benefits others cause all kinds of problems. Impulsive decision-making derails positive momentum. Impatience takes control from a leader’s hands and places him or her in untenable situations.
Leaders without character cannot stand for long.
Saul’s middle and Saul’s end declare this truth loudly and lamentably.
Lead with godly character.
Lead with sincere humility.
Lead with prayerful patience.
Lead like this or step aside so that someone who can will.
I will lead myself and others with character, humility, and patience.
Our Father, thank you for recording Saul’s story. As painful as it is to read, we require its warning. Thank you for recording David’s story. As enjoyable as most of his story is to read, we have lessons to learn from his bad decisions as well. Empower us to lead ourselves and others with character, humility, and patience. Amen.
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Deuteronomy 8:12-18 When you eat and are full, and build beautiful houses to live in, and your herds and flocks grow large, and your silver and gold multiply, and everything else you have increases, be careful that your heart doesn’t become proud and you forget the Lord your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the place of slavery. He led you through the great and terrible wilderness with its poisonous snakes and scorpions, a thirsty land where there was no water. He brought water out of the flint rock for you. He fed you in the wilderness with manna, which your ancestors had not known, in order to humble and test you, so that in the end he might cause you to prosper. You may say to yourself, ‘My power and my own ability have gained this wealth for me,’ but remember that the Lord your God gives you the power to gain wealth, in order to confirm his covenant he swore to your ancestors, as it is today.
Deuteronomy 6:4-9 “Listen, Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. These words that I am giving you today are to be in your heart. Repeat them to your children. Talk about them when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Bind them as a sign on your hand and let them be a symbol on your forehead. Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your city gates.“
Deuteronomy 1:2, 3 It is an eleven-day journey from Horeb to Kadesh-barnea by way of Mount Seir. In the fortieth year, in the eleventh month, on the first of the month, Moses told the Israelites everything the Lord had commanded him to say to them.