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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Jonah 4:2, 3 So he complained to the Lord about it: “Didn’t I say before I left home that you would do this, Lord? That is why I ran away to Tarshish! I knew that you are a merciful and compassionate God, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. You are eager to turn back from destroying people. Just kill me now, Lord! I’d rather be dead than alive if what I predicted will not happen.”
Joel 2:12, 13 That is why the Lord says, “Turn to me now, while there is time. Give me your hearts. Come with fasting, weeping, and mourning. Don’t tear your clothing in your grief, but tear your hearts instead.” Return to the Lord your God, for he is merciful and compassionate, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. He is eager to relent and not punish.”
Hosea 14:8, 9 “O Israel, stay away from idols! I am the one who answers your prayers and cares for you. I am like a tree that is always green; all your fruit comes from me.” Let those who are wise understand these things. Let those with discernment listen carefully. The paths of the Lord are true and right, and righteous people live by walking in them. But in those paths sinners stumble and fall.”