If you work in some kind of management or a high level position, you probably see a direct line from your performance to that of your leader’s success. Not the case with a ruler of a country. A few months ago, I was talking to a friend about our elected officials. He told me, “if the president fails it is our [Christians] fault.” That idea that our president’s success hung in the balance of Christians was worth looking into. And this is what I found out.
Immediately, King Saul came to mind. There was no person that preceded his rule over Israel. In actuality they did not need this because God was their King. Despite this fact, they decided to be as the other nations. 4 Then all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah, 5 and said to him, “Look, you are old, and your sons do not walk in your ways. Now make us a king to judge us like all the nations.” 6 But the thing displeased Samuel when they said, “Give us a king to judge us.” So Samuel prayed to the LORD. 7 And the LORD said to Samuel, “Heed the voice of the people in all that they say to you; for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me, that I should not reign over them. (1Samuel 8:4-7)
A ruler is chosen by God
10 Then Samuel took a flask of olive oil and poured it on Saul’s head and kissed him, saying, “Has not the LORD anointed you ruler over his inheritance? (1 Samuel 10:10) The bible tells that Saul was enjoyed a long tenure. 13 Saul was thirty years old when he became king, and he reigned over Israel forty-two years. (1 Samuel 13:13) During that time he sinned against God. Like Saul, none of our leaders are blameless. All succumb to sin in some way and at some time. The important factor is what follows. How did Saul and the following king, David respond to sin.
Having experience to rule was not necessary – Obedience to God is required
Blamed his disobedience on others – pressure from fearing his men
Samuel called him on his sin – False repentance
Invited Samuel to accompany him – cared more about looking honorable before people
Later tried kill David out of jealousy
24 Then Saul said to Samuel, “I have sinned, for I have transgressed the commandment of the LORD and your words, because I feared the people and obeyed their voice. 25 Now therefore, please pardon my sin, and return with me, that I may worship the LORD.” (1 Samuel 15:24-25)
30 Then he said, “I have sinned; yet honor me now, please, before the elders of my people and before Israel, and return with me, that I may worship the LORD your God.” 31 So Samuel turned back after Saul, and Saul worshiped the LORD. (1 Samuel 15: 30-31)
Obvious Love for God
He did not have experience to be ruler
Respected God’s anointed (King Saul)
Sinned against God with Uriah’s wife, Bathsheba
Tried to have Uriah killed in battle
David truly repented. He says, 10Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. 11 Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. 12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me. (Psalm 51: 10-12)
The comparison shows two distinct responses to personal sin. Although they both owned it, they did not equally and rightly own up to it. A grave disservice is done to people when excuses are made for their sinful behavior. We the church must pray for our leaders, continually. However, a person is ultimately responsible for their own actions. Remember what the Israelites said to Samuel, “and your sons do not walk in your ways.” We cannot make people follow the righteous path, but we can be an example by how we live. The Israelites wanted a ruler and even though God chose one for them, King Saul still needed to walk in obedience. Leaders are not exempt from God’s power and authority. They must choose to obey God. And it is not always an easy choice, so please pray often for all our leaders.