My professional background deals with what and how people value and measure performance. This is called "metrics". Everyone has a model for everything. Everyone has a process they use to value and measure performance in every area. Whether people are aware of their metrics or not is another issue...
God's metric when it comes to valuing kings is the heart.
First let's look at the specific circumstances surrounding Saul's official loss of his kingship. God told Saul (through Samuel) to wipe out the Amalekites: "Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass." (I Samuel 15:3)
Saul smites the Amalekites and brings back alive some animals and Agag (the king of Amalek). Samuel visits Saul. Samuel sees and hears that Saul didn't do what God told Saul to do. Samuel confronts Saul. Saul's response?
"And Saul said unto Samuel, Yea, I have obeyed the voice of the Lord, and have gone the way which the Lord sent me, and have brought Agag the king of Amalek, and utterly destroyed the Amalekites. But the people took of the spoil, sheep and oxen, the chief of the things which should have been utterly destroyed, to sacrifice unto the Lord thy God in Gilgal." (I Samuel 15:20-21)
Saul says HE obeyed God...it was the people who disobeyed God! Saul is facilitating his own purpose and progress at the expense of the people. Saul has been shown he did NOT obey God...and Saul's response was to claim he did and blame the people.
"And Samuel said, Hath the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the Lord, he hath also rejected thee from being king." (I Samuel 15:22-23)
God officially rejects Saul as king because he was rebellious and stubborn. Saul was confronted with being wrong and Saul's response was to justify himself instead of confessing and repenting. I call this the "I CAN'T BE WRONG" heart. This heart attitude is IMMEDIATELY obvious when someone is confronted and/or corrected.
"And Saul said unto Samuel, I have sinned: for I have transgressed the commandment of the Lord, and thy words: because I feared the people, and obeyed their voice. Now therefore, I pray thee, pardon my sin, and turn again with me, that I may worship the Lord." (I Samuel 15:24-25)
It takes Samuel stating God has reject Saul before he confesses and repents! Is it too late?
"And Samuel said unto Saul, I will not return with thee: for thou hast rejected the word of the Lord, and the Lord hath rejected thee from being king over Israel. And as Samuel turned about to go away, he laid hold upon the skirt of his mantle, and it rent. And Samuel said unto him, The Lord hath rent the kingdom of Israel from thee this day, and hath given it to a neighbor of thine, that is better than thou. And also the Strenght of Israel will not lie nor repent: for he is not a man, that he should repent." (I Samuel 15:26-29)
Saul tried to appeal to Samuel through the Physical...he grabbed Samuel's mantle. God is giving the kingdom to someone who is "better"...to someone who will obey God. Even though Saul confesses and repents, he still has to pay by losing the kingship. Justice demands this. Saul asks Samuel to worship with him. Samuel won't worship with Saul. Why?
"Then he said, I have sinned: yet honour me now, I pray thee, before the elders of my people, and before Israel, and turn again with me, that I may worship the Lord thy God. So Samuel turned again after Saul; and Saul worshipped the Lord." (I Samuel 15:30-31)
Now Samuel does worship with Saul. Why? The first time Saul asked, it was tied to keeping the kingship..."pardon (overlook) my sin". This time Saul admits his sin (and accepts the justice of losing the kingship), so worship is for the sake of glorifying God. Look at it this way...Saul's attitude (confession and worship) is tied to his salvation. Saul's actions are tied to his reward. Saul tried to link them and Samuel rejected Saul. Now Saul unlinks them. Saul's attitude gets right by accepting the punishment for his actions. Saul confesses with the right attitude and Samuel accepts it by worshiping with Saul. However, Saul still has to pay according to justice (reward) by losing the kingship.
This is still true today. Jesus' death on the cross pays for our salvation...for us disobeying God's Word and Voice (GRACE). It does not pay for the injustice that we do to others...everyone still has to pay for that. Currently, some Christians believe that they don't have to pay for the injustice they do to others...the Word of God says EVERYONE is rewarded (recompensed both good and bad) for their works. Man-made tradition tries to use God's Righteousness (God's Works) for Salvation in place of our works for reward so that we can have the same heart attitude as Saul. The Bible DOESN'T say this.
"Then said Samuel, Bring ye hither to me Agag the king of the Amalekites. And Agag came unto him delicately. And Agag said, Surely the bitterness of death is past. And Samuel said, As they sword hath made women childless, so shall thy mother be childless among women. And Samuel hewed Agag in pieces before the Lord in Gilgal." (I Samuel 15:32-33)
Notice Samuel is focused on justice. Throughout Saul's interaction with Samuel, we have seen how prayer works. In today's post, Saul keeps appealing to Samuel by saying, "I pray" and sometimes Samuel responds like Saul wants...sometimes he doesn't. Samuel is being guided by justice...to the point that Samuel lets Agag know WHY he is going to die: justice for what Agag did.
"Then Samuel went to Ramah; and Saul went up to his house in Gibeah of Saul. And Samuel came no more to see Saul until the day of his death: nevertheless Samuel mourned for Saul: and the Lord repented that he had made Saul king over Israel." (I Samuel 15:34-35)
First, Samuel mourns for Saul. Samuel doesn't personally hate Saul...Samuel is obeying God and equaling out justice. This is nothing personal, otherwise Samuel wouldn't mourn for Saul. Second, repent means to turn away. The Lord turns away from ever making a king like Saul again. Notice, there is NOT a confession step. Confession is required when a person sins. God did NOT sin by making Saul king. As we saw in yesterday's post, God responded to the request of Israel...warned them...and dealt with everyone's heart. God did everything possible. God did NOT sin...but He can still repent.
Samuel is led by God to find the next king. All the sons from Jesse's family are presented to Saul. Saul is thinking it is the oldest. However, God speaks to Samuel about His metric:
"But the Lord said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature: because I have refused him: for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart." (I Samuel 16:7)
God does NOT go by appearance. God goes by the HEART! Remember, God hardened Pharaoh's heart. God gave Saul another heart. God touched the hearts of a band of men to support Saul. Samuel told everyone to serve the Lord with all your heart. Now God is looking on the heart for a person who is after God's own heart. God measures and values our performance by our heart. The heart is the cause of our actions. The actions aren't what God measures and values...they PROVE to us what is the CAUSE. Our actions are the EFFECTS of what is TRULY in our heart...regardless of what we say is in our heart.
Even though David gets made a king as a youth, he doesn't reign until he is 30. David marries Saul's daughter. When David is king and brings the ark back, he dances before it.
"Then David returned to bless his household. And Michal the daughter of Saul came out to meet David, and said, How glorious was the king of Israel to day, who uncovered himself to day in the eyes of the handmaids of his servants, as one of the vain fellows shamelessly uncovereth himself!" (II Samuel 6:20)
Notice, Michal is ALL about appearance. David's response?
"And David said unto Michal, It was before the Lord, which chose me before thy father, and before all his house, to appoint me ruler over the people of the Lord, over Israel: therefore will I play before the Lord. And I will yet be more vile than thus, and will be base in mine own sight: and of the maidservants which thou hast spoken of, of them shall I be had in honour." (II Samuel 6:21-22)
David isn't about appearance...he is about God. Appearance is based on man-made tradition. Valuing appearance is valuing the EFFECT. God values the CAUSE.
We saw how Saul handled being confronted with his sin...and it resulted in him losing the kingship. What about David?
II Samuel 11 tells the story of David and Bathsheba. David stays home from war and sees Bathsheba bathing on her roof. David commits adultery with Bathsheba. She becomes pregnant. David tries to cover up the sin by bring Uriah (Bathsheba's husband) back from the war to be with Bathsheba. Uriah sleeps outside because he is thinking about his duty to Israel. David sends orders with Uriah to put Uriah in the front of the fighting and pull back. The leader of the forces (Joab) follows these orders and Uriah is killed in battle. Bathsheba mourns.
"And when the mourning was past, David sent and fetched her to his house, and she became his wife, and bare him a son. But the thing that David had done displeased the Lord." (II Samuel 11:27)
David is in charge of the nation. He constantly makes decisions that result in people getting killed. Why was it wrong to give orders to Joab? Because this decision PERSONALLY benefited David. David was facilitating his own purpose and progress at the expense of his followers (Uriah). David was NOT being a LEADER.
Nathan confronts David with his sin. Nathan gives the word of the Lord to David...it ends with the following:
"Now therefore the sword shall never depart from thine house; because thou hast despised me, and hast taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be thy wife. Thus saith the Lord, Behold, I will raise up evil against thee out of thine own house, and I will take thy wives before thine own eyes, and give them unto thy neighbor, and he shall lie with thy wives in the sight of this sun. For thou didst it secretly: but I will do this thing before all Israel, and before the sun." (II Samuel 12:9-12)
Notice, AGAIN justice is being served. God is telling David (through Nathan) the penalty he must face and WHY...and the reason why has to do with justice. What is David's response?
"And David said unto Nathan, I have sinned against the Lord. And Nathan said unto David, The Lord also hath put away thy sin; thou shalt not die." (II Samuel 12:13)
Saul gave an excuse. Saul had the "I CAN'T BE WRONG" heart. David gives NO excuse. David has the "I COULD BE WRONG" heart. David's response AND Nathan's conclusion is given BOTH in one verse. That's pretty short. The result is David still pays (with the death of the child) but he continues to be king...because he is a man after God's own heart. (Again, notice that David is a man after God's own heart. Even though he confesses and repents, David still pays through justice when it comes to reward. The confession and repentance ONLY deal with his fellowship with God...with salvation. The SAME is true today.)
Let's wrap up this teaching on LEADERS and hearts with one more story. Absalom is David's son.
"And it came to pass after this, that Absalom prepared him chariots and horses, and fifty men to run before him. And Absalom rose up early, and stood beside the way of the gate: and it was so, that when any man that had a controversy came to the king for judgment, then Absalom called unto him, and said, Of what city art thou? And he said, Thy servant is of one of the tribes of Israel. And Absalom said unto him, See, thy matters are good and right; but there is no man deputed of the king to hear thee. Absalom said moreover, Oh that I were made judge in the land, that every man which hath any suit or cause might come unto me, and I would do him justice! And it was so, that when any man came nigh to him to do him obeisance, he put forth his hand, and took him, and kissed him. And on this manner did Absalom to all Israel that came to the king for judgment: so Absalom stole the hearts of the men of Israel." (II Samuel 15:1-6)
Absalom campaigned to do the king's role...he facilitated his own purpose and progress.
Absalom stole the hearts of the men of Israel.
God looks on the heart in order to measure LEADERSHIP.
God does NOT consider people who are stubborn and can't consider they are wrong as worthy of the responsibility of LEADERSHIP.
God sees a LEADER as someone who has a soft heart and is able to be corrected.
How do we measure and value "leaders"?