Who are we?

In this blog, there will be a variety of material: thoughts on Bible books, book reviews, historical characters, aspects of Scottish church history and other things.

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Starting with division (1 Samuel 10:20-27)

The national event had an unhappy conclusion. Saul was made king over a divided nation. I suppose his opponents were not too impressed by his hiding in the baggage, whereas others were led by God to support the new monarch; the majority sat on the fence until they would see how things worked out. Still it was a black mark on what should have been a day of unity.

It is obvious that Saul was very impressive in a physical sense. But did that in itself does not qualify for leadership. Are there any clues to his character or abilities in this passage? Perhaps two comments will be sufficient. 

First, when Saul was hiding in the baggage, is this a sign of humility or of fear? Humility can be displayed for two reasons. One is that the size of the task is too big for one and therefore running away is the best option; that is not godly humility but fear, and I suspect that is what Saul was like here.

Instead godly humility is astounded that the great God who is able to deal with the situation himself should use such a weak and insignificant person to bring it about. A humble person is one who accepts God’s will for him and does it depending on God’s strength and wisdom. 

Second, when Saul remained silent at the refusal of some to serve him, was this a sign of patient leadership or brooding revenge? How should a leader respond to those who refuse to recognise his authority? One way is to wait for an opportunity to get rid of them and another way is to try and win them over. Saul did get his opportunity for revenge (11:12-13) but instead he showed mercy. So Saul had wisdom in dealing with people, which was essential in a leader. But we have to remember that natural wisdom is not enough to lead God’s people.  And Saul would find it difficult to unite the nation under him.

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