Sunday, November 26, 2006

The Leadership Lesson of King Saul

For as long as there have been Christians there have been failed leaders. Recently Ted Haggard made the news and joined a list of names that have succeeded in proving to the world that hypocrisy exists within the ranks of Christian leadership Because of that one could surmise that Christianity = Hypocracy.

We know that is not true, however with leadership like Reverend Haggard, Jim and Tammy Bakker, Oral Roberts, Jimmy Swaggart, Billy James Hargis and Aimee Semple McPherson to name but a few that were implicated in sexual and or money scandals, we can see why the general image of Christianity may be tarnished and type cast.

The Bible gives us an important lesson that apparently these men and Miss McPherson overlooked.

In 1st Samuel we read about Saul, the Benjaminite that was anointed of God to lead God’s people. In the first sections of the book we learn that Saul was filled with God’s spirit and obedient to God. Saul listened to Samuel as well. The people of Israel wanted someone to rule over them, despite the fact that God was their ruler. So God gave them Saul.

Saul ruled over Israel for 42 years. He was the leader of his people against the Philistines.

During a battle with the Philistines, Saul was quick to act and did not wait for God’s command.
He took his eyes off the God of his Salvation, the God that set him up as a leader. Saul trusted in his own instincts. Instead of listening for God, he prepared a burnt offering. This was strike one of his downfall.

During the same war Saul called upon all of his men to fast before a big battle. Yet his own son Jonathan ate honey. When the half starved soldiers came upon animals left behind by the Philistines, they butchered them and ate the meat raw. In doing so they sinned against the Laws of God. Their sin was upon Saul. This was the second strike in his plummet.

God commanded Saul to destroy the Amalekites, their king, Agag, all of the Amalekites people and all of their cattle and property. Saul destroyed the Embolic, but did not kill King Agag and he allowed his soldiers to take the best of the herds. This was strike three.

Though Saul offered burnt offerings to the Lord and though he considered himself “religious”, his sin was rebellion. Saul did not listen to God and God said that was as bad as idolatry. Saul eventually put Agag to death, but not until Samuel had pointed out this necessity.

As we move along in our story of Saul young David the son of Jesse comes into the picture.

David is brought in to comfort Saul by playing music to ease his troubled spirit. We are all familiar with the story of King David. We know that in defeating Goliath and the Philistines, the Hebrew women sing, “Saul has slain thousands and David has slain tens of thousands. We all know that Saul eventually becomes insanely jealous of David. Instead of ruling his people, Saul goes on and on hunting down David and trying to kill him. The Philistines attack and Saul goes to his final battle. During this period Samuel has died. Saul has no one to offer him spiritual guidance and Saul has turned a deaf ear to God. He consults a witch and is told that he and his three sons will be killed in battle. Even at this Saul does not listen to God, but to be certain that the mediums fortune comes true, Saul commits suicide by falling on his own sword.

My point is that Saul WAS appointed as King of Israel by God. Saul did NOT have to lose his throne. Just as all of the “evangelists” mentioned did NOT have to have their reputations besmirched had they listened to God. They all fell nature to their own “Philistines”, their own worldly desires. In getting caught up in the cares and wants of the world, they lost their credibility in the eyes of God’s people and the world.

Oh Lord God Almighty. May our leaders learn about you and love you and walk in your ways and do that which is right in Your Eyes. May they not be like your servant Saul the former King of Israel. May they learn lessons from his misdeeds and may our leaders always keep their eyes and hearts upon You. We ask this in the Name of Jesus.

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