Summary: What does a spiritual leader look like? Is he tall or short? Does he have a deep voice? What about his family background, are they rich or poor?
What does a spiritual leader look like? Is he tall or short? Is he a broad “all round leader” or is he thin? Does he have prominent features like a sloping forehead or high cheekbones? Does he have a deep voice or squeaky? What about his family background, are they rich or poor?
Israel was looking for a leader and apparently they had certain characteristics in mind. What we find in 1 Samuel chapter 8 is a period of transition. Up to this point we have what we know as the period of the Judges. During this period as the needs arose God would rise a leader for that purpose.
The other nations are taunting Israel and they want a king to rule them. They wanted a Monarchy, but this was a bad choice because in effect Israel was rejecting God’s rule over them. But God would demonstrate his Grace and work through the Monarchy as He did through the Judges.
Samuel had appointed his sons Joel and Abijah as Judges for Israel. They let the people down and pursued dishonest gain and allowed all sorts of corruption. The people gathered and told Samuel that because his sons do not walk in the ways of the Lord to appoint a king. This was confirmed to Samuel in his conversations with the Lord.
Ultimately God is King of all national and the Sovereign Lord of all. And the LORD told him: “Listen to all that the people are saying to you; it is not you they have rejected, but they have rejected me as their king. 1 Samuel 8:7
God’s providence is seen in search of a donkey. Saul was destined by God to be Israel’s first king. Saul was an impressive young man without equal among the Israelites. He was a head taller than anyone else. Today he could be a franchise basketball player. He looked very impressive! Saul came from a good family with some wealth and they owned donkeys and had servants.
The donkeys were lost and God would work through this. It was through the search for the missing donkey that Saul met Samuel. The Lord revealed to Samuel the day before that God would send a Benjamite for Samuel to anoint as king.
Saul searched for the missing donkeys and he was about to give up. That is when his servant suggested they contact and enquire from the “Man of God” that is, Samuel. They were going to Samuel as more of a fortune teller than a man of God. They intended to pay Samuel for information on the lost donkeys.
When Samuel saw Saul he knew this was the man. He was what Israel wanted; tall, handsome and from a good family. It is too easy to overemphasize the physical attributes. It can overshadow the more important question for a spiritual leader, where does he stand in his relationship with God.
What kind of moral character make up the man who will lead the people and shape the nation. Saul looked the part of the leader, but there is more needed than outward appearance.
1 Samuel 9:20 Samuel told Saul the donkeys were found and revealed that there were big plans for him.
“As for your donkeys which were lost three days ago, do not set your mind on them, for they have been found. And for whom is all that is desirable in Israel? Is it not for you and for all your father’s household?”
Saul gave a response of humility. Chapter 9 Vs 21, “Am I not a Benjamite, of the smallest of the tribes of Israel, and my family the least of all the families of the tribe of Benjamin? Why then do you speak to me in this way?”
Samuel shared heart to heart with Saul and even gave him a message from God. This was who God was telling Samuel to anoint as king of Israel. Spiritual leaders should operate out of a sense of call from God. So after a festival meal and a nights rest Samuel privately anoints Saul as king. Then Samuel took the flask of oil, poured it on his head, kissed him and said, “Has not the LORD anointed you a ruler over His inheritance? 1 Samuel 10:1
The anointing was God’s assurance that is was God’s act for Saul to be king. This call would be sealed by a series of signs from God. When God gives a spiritual leader confirmation through a sign it should enable the leader to operate with a deep sense of call and full dependence on God.
Samuel makes a series of predictions all of which come true. The most important of these predictions is that Saul would meet a procession of prophets coming down from the place of worship and they would be prophesying and playing instruments.