Yesterday, we began our Biblical examples of LEADERS with a look at the circumstances surrounding Israel's first king who was an Israelite. We saw that it was NOT God's Will that Israel had a king. We also saw how God views prayer. Today, we are going to see how the process of selecting a LEADER according to God and how this first king turned out.
God selects Saul to be the first king and even though it was not His Will for Israel to have a king, He is going to help them as much as possible. In fact, He even changes Saul's heart:
"And it was so, that when he had turned his back to go from Samuel, God gave him another heart: and all those signs came to pass that day." (I Samuel 10:9)
However, the people still don't know who the king is...how do they select a king? Do they vote? During the "selection of a king" process, Samuel makes sure everyone knows how and why Israel got to this point AND what God thinks about it:
"And ye have this day rejected your God, who himself saved you out of all your adversities and your tribulations; and ye have said unto him, Nay, but set a king over us. Now therefore present yourselves before the Lord by your tribes, and by your thousands." (I Samuel 10:19)
Samuel again states this is NOT God's Will and the following process is due to rejecting God as LEADER. The people are separate by tribes...
"And when Samuel had caused all the tribes of Israel to come near, the tribe of Benjamin was taken. When he had caused the tribe of Benjamin to come near by their families, the family of Matri was taken, and Saul the son of Kish was taken: and when they sought him, he could not be found. Therefore they enquired of the Lord further, if the man should yet come thither. And the Lord answered, Behold he hath hid himself among the stuff. And they ran and fetched him thence: and when he stood among the people, he was higher than any of the people from his shoulders and upward. (I Samuel 10:20-23)
Samuel selects the king in response to God telling him.
KEY POINT: Saul did not campaign for king!!!!!!
God selected the king...in fact, Saul WASN'T EVEN PRESENT WHEN HE WAS SELECTED AS KING!
Remember, a LEADER is one who facilitates the purpose and progress of OTHERS. If a society selects its "leaders" by an election, then the "leader" is facilitating THEIR OWN purpose and progress. THAT type of process GUARANTEES you will NEVER get a TRUE LEADER in charge! Notice in the Bible what happens when "leaders" campaign to become in charge.
"And Samuel said to all the people, See ye him whom the Lord hath chosen, that there is none like him among all the people? And all the people shouted, and said, God save the king." (I Samuel 10:24)
God selected someone whose appearance was like none other. Saul was a head taller than everyone. (Notice, the "God save the king" phrase comes from the Bible.)
"Then Samuel told the people the manner of the kingdom, and wrote it in a book, and laid it up before the Lord. And Samuel sent all the people away, every man to his house. And Saul also went home to Gibeah; and there went with him a band of men, whose hearts God had touched." (I Samuel 10:25-26)
Samuel documents the events. God provides support to Saul. So, God has done everything possible to help this king succeed. If he fails it WON'T be due to God. In fact, Samuel continues the warn the people in order to help them be successful.
"If ye will fear the Lord, and serve him, and obey his voice, and not rebel against the commandment of the Lord, then shall both ye and also the king that reigneth over you continue following the Lord your God: But if ye will not obey the voice of the Lord, but rebel against the commandment of the Lord, then shall the hand of the Lord be against you, as it was against your fathers. Now therefore stand and see this great thing, which the Lord will do before your eyes. Is it not wheat harvest to day? I will call unto the Lord, and he shall send thunder and rain; that ye may perceive and see that your wickedness is great, which ye have done in the sight of the Lord, in asking you a king. So Samuel called unto the Lord; and the Lord sent thunder and rain that day: and all the people greatly feared the Lord and Samuel." (I Samuel 12:14-18)
Samuel establishes that he is on God's side.
"And Samuel said unto the people, Fear not: ye have done all this wickedness: yet turn not aside from following the Lord, but serve the Lord with all your heart; And turn ye not aside for then should ye go after vain things, which cannot profit nor deliver, for they are vain. For the Lord will not forsake his people for his great name's sake: because it hath pleased the Lord to make you his people. Moreover as for me, God forbid that I should sin against the Lord in ceasing to pray for you: but I will teach you the good and right way: Only fear the Lord, and serve him in truth with all your heart: for consider how great things he hath done for you. But if ye shall still do wickedly, ye shall be consumed, both ye and your king." (I Samuel 12:19-25)
Now the people have been warned. Notice, God changed Saul's heart and a group of supporters. Samuel encourages the rest of the people to serve the Lord with all their heart. So, EVERYONE'S heart has been addressed. God (through Samuel) has done EVERYTHING to help a situation that was NOT in His Will work as well as possible. If this fails, there is NO WAY it can be God's fault. In fact, it would ONLY fail if people INTENTIONALLY chose to follow IS instead of OUGHT.
"Saul reigned one year; and when he had reigned two years over Israel, Saul chose him three thousand men of Israel; whereof two thousand were with Saul in Michmash and in mount Bethel, and a thousand were with Jonathan in Gibeah of Benjamin: and the rest of the people he sent every man to his tent." (I Samuel 13:1-2)
So, now we are just two years into Saul's reign...
"And Saul said, Bring hither a burnt offering to me, and peace offerings. And he offered the burnt offering. And it came to pass, that as soon as he had made an end of the offering the burnt offering, behold, Samuel came; and Saul went out to meet him, that he might salute him. And Samuel said, What hast thou done? And Saul said, Because I saw that the people were scattered from me, and that thou camest not within the days appointed, and that the Philistines gathered themselves together at Michmash; Therefore said I, The Philistines will come down now upon me to Gilgal, and I have not made supplication unto the Lord: I forced myself therefore, and offered a burnt offering." (I Samuel 13:9-12)
Saul decides to "force" himself to offer the burnt offering.
"And Samuel said to Saul, Thou hast done foolishly: thou hast not kept the commandment of the Lord thy God, which he commanded thee: for now would the Lord have established thy kingdom upon Israel forever. But now thy kingdom shall not continue: the Lord hath sought him a man after his own heart, and the Lord hath commanded him to be captain over his people, because thou hast not kept that which the Lord commanded thee." (I Samuel 13:13-14)
TWO HUGE POINTS:
Samuel declares that God no longer sees Saul as king...even though the people might still see Saul as king. Do we know how God views our traditions? Or do we think we can make God honor OUR traditions?
Samuel says that God is going to select a king who is after GOD'S own heart. God did His best helping everyone have a good heart. This failed because the "leader" ended up being about himself after two years. God's solution is to find a king whose heart is ALREADY towards God.
LEADERS have to be selected and continue to facilitate the purpose and progress of others. Everything that makes a "leader" focus on appearance (man-made tradition) is going to facilitate their own purpose and progress.