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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Daily D – Psalm 143:8-10
Psalm 143:8-10 Let me hear of your unfailing love each morning, for I am trusting you. Show me where to walk, for I give myself to you. Rescue me from my enemies, Lord; I run to you to hide me. Teach me to do your will, for you are my God. May your gracious Spirit lead me forward on a firm footing.
Daily D – Psalm 142:5
Psalm 142:5 Then I pray to you, O Lord. I say, “You are my place of refuge. You are all I really want in life.”
Daily D – Ezra 3:11-13
Ezra 3:11-13 With praise and thanks, they sang this song to the Lord: “He is so good! His faithful love for Israel endures forever!” Then all the people gave a great shout, praising the Lord because the foundation of the Lord’s Temple had been laid. But many of the older priests, Levites, and other leaders who had seen the first Temple wept aloud when they saw the new Temple’s foundation. The others, however, were shouting for joy. The joyful shouting and weeping mingled together in a loud noise that could be heard far in the distance.
Daily D – 2 Chronicles 35:22-25
2 Chronicles 35:22-25 After Josiah had finished restoring the Temple, King Neco of Egypt led his army up from Egypt to do battle at Carchemish on the Euphrates River, and Josiah and his army marched out to fight him. But King Neco sent messengers to Josiah with this message: “What do you want with me, king of Judah? I have no quarrel with you today! I am on my way to fight another nation, and God has told me to hurry! Do not interfere with God, who is with me, or he will destroy you.” But Josiah refused to listen to Neco, to whom God had indeed spoken, and he would not turn back. Instead, he disguised himself and led his army into battle on the plain of Megiddo. But the enemy archers hit King Josiah with their arrows and wounded him. He cried out to his men, “Take me from the battle, for I am badly wounded!”
Daily D – 2 Chronicles 32:31
2 Chronicles 32:31 However, when ambassadors arrived from Babylon to ask about the remarkable events that had taken place in the land, God withdrew from Hezekiah in order to test him and to see what was really in his heart.