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Monday, September 12, 2016

Starting Well, Ending Poorly

What do you think of when you think of King Saul?  First image I get is him begging his armor bearer to kill him, and when that did not work falling on his sword.  He did not end well.  But he started really well.
Starting Well, Ending Poorly
Look at these passages:
1 Samuel 9:21
1 Samuel 10:16
1 Samuel 10:23
1 Samuel 10:27
1 Samuel 11:13

The picture painted is one of a humble man who is surprised and resistant to the attention.  He does not seek attention or acclaim.  Rather he hid from it.  What happened?  How did he get off track?

He did so quickly.

Now look at:
1 Samuel 13:8 – 9, 11
1 Samuel 13:14
1 Samuel 15:7 – 21

Saul either forgot or never realized the purpose of authority (more on that tomorrow).  He became more interested in what people thought of him, whether they esteemed him and followed him, rather than doing what the Lord had commanded him to do.

That is a subtle trap.  A couple of weeks ago I was working with a group of people in another country.  The first day the conversation, although in a language I do not speak, was spirited and the feedback from the interpreter was encouraging.  The next day the energy in the room was significantly less.  I could not tell how they were responding to the passages we were discussing.

My initial reaction was to wonder what was going wrong.  I wrote about that in my journal – by the way, that is one of the best ways for the Lord to get my attention.  It slows me down and I am able to hear His prompting much better.  The key for me is to be honest about what I am thinking and with what I am struggling – the Lord reminded me that it was not about their reaction.  It was about my obedience to Him.  My doing what He had laid on my heart to do.  The result was not my responsibility, it was His.

That is partially what Saul forgot.  It is a trap for any leader.  It is easy to get focused on the result of what we are doing rather than whether we are doing what God had directed us to do.  Sometimes we can get so focused on doing, that we forget to ask what it is He wants.

It is then that we are beginning to walk in Saul’s path.

Not a good direction.

1 comment:

  1. You make a terrific point - slow down; listen to God. Give Him a chance to work His way. So often I find that as I seek the Lord for a plan He will give a sketchy one with a desired outcome. But the steps along the way are not always so clear and often (usually?) don't go as I expected. Part of walking by faith, I think - and letting Him get the glory for what He is doing.