Thursday, March 31, 2011

40 Days of Lint, Day Twenty: Who’s the Leader?

History is full of stories of men and women who have stabbed, poisoned, married, or lied their way to the throne. Many were willing to deceive and kill their own family members in order to reign. On the opposite end of the spectrum are those who ran from the throne legitimately theirs. Fear, political disdain, and selfish interests kept them from stepping up to take the scepter.

King Saul began as one of the latter, but ended his reign on the far end of the former camp. Until Saul was anointed king, Israel had not had a human ruler. God ruled His people through prophets and judges. But in Samuel’s old age, the people began to beg for a king so they could be “like all the other nations.” They badgered Samuel until God relented, but not without a warning of how their kings would take advantage of them. They wanted one anyway. So Saul was chosen.

Even though he was tall and handsome, Saul lacked self-confidence in the beginning. Even after Samuel anointed him and Saul received the gift of prophecy, he was still afraid to take the helm. At the inauguration ceremony, everyone stood around waiting to applaud their new king, but Saul had disappeared. 

“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’” (1 Samuel 10:22).

What a crazy turn of events! While men from other nations would murder for a chance to be king, God’s chosen king is hiding in a pile of luggage! I can’t say I blame him. I think that’s where I’d be. Who would want the responsibility of being the first ruler of God’s people after all His stern warnings?

What happened later, though, is far worse; Saul started to believe he was the glory of Israel. After a great start, leading the Israelites to victory in battle things began to unravel. Samuel didn’t show up to pray for his men when he was supposed to, and they started to melt away in fear. In a panic, Saul decided to serve, not only as king, but as priest, and began to offer sacrifices – a strictly forbidden action.

He went from being small in his own eyes, to a cocky king who let feelings dictate his actions. He became so proud, that he later set up a monument to himself for people to admire. His pride cost him the kingship. God wanted a man after His own heart on the throne. Saul failed, but his successor, David, earned that title from God’s lips.

It’s hard to stay in balance. We’re called to be humble, but God can’t use us if we’re so insecure about our qualifications or experience that we hide from positions of leadership. We’re called to be confident in ministry. However, God can’t use us if we operate on feelings rather than truth, go our own way, or rationalize to cover our disobedience. The only way we can be of use to God is to accept the assignment He gives us and let Him do it through us.

Saul’s story convicts me because I’ve fallen into the same traps he did, and more. Sometimes I don’t want the assignments He puts before me, and other times I take things into my own hands without consulting Him. Whatever’s hidden in the lint-filled pockets of our heart will eventually be revealed. Thankfully, when we blow it, God will forgive us when we ask, and give us a new assignment for His kingdom. When we’re determined to let Him rule He can do great things through us.  He is the One and only King.

Lint Removed: Hiding From or Taking Over God’s Assignment
Cleaning Process: Let God Rule the Throne

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