One of my favorite ways to study the Word of God is through the lives of Biblical Biographies. I love seeing how they lived, succeeded and even failed. As I was reading through the kings this year, many of the prominent characters stood out to me in a fresh way. Over the next few weeks I am going to point out some of the lessons that I learned from each one.
I will start this mini character series with a leader that stood head and shoulders above all the rest in stature, but not in character. Enjoy this journey with me as we begin by taking a look into the life of Saul. Here are some of my greatest takeways.
1) HE FORCED HIS MINISTRY
. . . I forced myself therefore, and offered a burnt offering (1 Samuel 13:12). It is real easy to quickly assign blame to Saul for forcing the situation and starting the sacrifice without the priest. However, we all have been guilty of “Impatience goodness.” Yes, in the name of “doing right” we actually “do wrong” because God’s timeline does not fit our calendar. I have observed that when I wait for God’s timing regardless of how inconvenient, HE always comes through in my ministry.
2) HE PLACED LEADERSHIP BEFORE PRAYER
. . . the same was the first altar that he built unto the Lord (1 Samuel 14:35). In the context of this scripture we see Saul building his first altar nearly TWO YEARS after he was king. It is good that he finally built and altar – now, is always the best time to build an altar – but it is sad that he waited so long. In order to have lasting success, you must build your altar BEFORE you build your ministry.
3) HIS MOTIVES WERE ROOTED IN DISOBEDIENCE
. . . Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice (1 Samuel 15:22). Once Saul was called into question for his disobedience he was full of excuses and justification of why he handled the matter the way he did. I have learned through my own life and the lives of others that excuses and justifications are just masks of disobedience. The Bible instructs us, “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh (Matthew 12:34).” The Godly leader in Saul’s life told him that to obey (Just do what you were instructed to do) was better that sacrifice (The feeble attempts of all of Saul’s own greatness). I have learned if I will get it right the first time I will not have to spend the rest of my time justifying my actions to God.
4) LEADERS ARE REPLACEABLE
. . . And the Lord said unto Samuel, How long wilt thou mourn for Saul, seeing I have rejected him from reigning over Israel? fill thine horn with oil, and go, I will send thee to Jesse the Beth–lehemite: for I have provided me a king among his sons (1 Samuel 16:1). None of us are irreplaceable. I have watched the most talented leaders disqualify themselves from ministry and God ALWAYS raises someone else up and His kingdom ALWAYS moves forward. God’s WILL must be accomplished with or without us.
I desire to be the leader God has called me to be, by the grace of God I pray for a “holy patience” to wait for God to plan my path for ministry. I am learning that this happens when I align my plan with His plan by building an altar before I attempt to build a ministry. I must always examine my motive and life in the mirror of God’s grace and know that I have but just a short time to play a part in God’s narrative and if I am not acceptable in His sight to participate in His plan, He will use somebody else.