November 1, 2021
Scripture: Then the people said to Samuel, “Who is it that said, ‘Shall Saul reign over us?’ Bring the men, that we may put them to death.” But Saul said, “Not a man shall be put to death this day, for today the Lord has worked salvation in Israel.” 1 Samuel 11:12-13 ESV
Observation: Saul started so well. He held his peace when the naysayers who despised him dishonored his position as the newly appointed king of Israel (10:27). Then, the Spirit of the Lord rushed upon him when he heard the news that the Ammonites were oppressing the people of Jabesh-Gilead, and he responded with righteous anger and rallied 330,000 fighting men to wage war against the Ammonites (11:6-9). After a successful campaign routing the Ammonites, the people approached Samuel and demanded that Saul’s opponents be killed (above verses). But Saul would have none of it. At this early stage of his reign, he understood the source of his strength and protection. He did not need to exact revenge, and he continued to keep his peace.
Unfortunately, Saul would later lose sight of his source of strength and position as ruler of Israel and downslide to paranoid narcissism and depression.
Takeaway: We all are leaders, whether in high positions of authority or simply as parents or individuals leading ourselves. Assuming we aspire to lead ourselves and others well, Saul’s early reign provides a godly example (keeping our peace, boldly rallying those under our influence to fight against oppression, and refraining from exacting revenge against our enemies). And we would do well to remember the end of Saul’s reign as a cautionary tale: that we must never lose sight of the source of our salvation as well as our strength and position of authority.
Prayer: Father God, please help us to rely on your Spirit to empower and guide us. And please help us to remain humble in heart and never lose sight of your grace that is our means of salvation, strength, and leadership authority. Amen.
Rev. Gordon Green, M.Div., M.A. Counseling