When should you kill Saul?

In your efforts to bring a leader down you will lose sight of your own development as a leader.

Photo credit to silver marquis

No leader is perfect.  I can think of a hand full of times where I've been put on a pedestal only to have it kicked out from underneath me.  The fall hurts.  Every leader has disappointed someone.  Every leader has failed.  So what do we do when you feel like those you are asked to follow aren't cutting it?

I had a few thoughts about this question as I was reading 1st Samuel this month.  If you don't know the story let me bring you up to speed:  Saul is the first King of Israel, chosen by God, and anointed by the appointed spiritual leader Samuel.   Saul starts off hot but eventually disobeys God.  Why?  Because he's a man and directions are challenging and we get blinded by success.

So, God tells Samuel about the next guy for the job.  God picks a shepherd named David.  He has a good resume: Killed a few bears, killed a few lions, and also sunk a stone in the forehead of a giant and then loped off his head.  Long story short Saul finds out he is going to be ousted and plots to kill David.  David finds out and flees for his life.

The interesting twist to the story is David has a two chances to kill Saul.  Yet neither time he drops the sword on Saul, instead he chooses to spare him acknowledging Saul is still the anointed King.  Saul himself is brought to tears by David's mercy and declares him the better man.

As I was reading this story I took down some leadership lessons and I'd love to share them with you.

1.  God's plan can have space for wrongs - We find multiple leaders in the Bible that have led everyone the wrong direction and some are even abusive.  We can read about leaders like Pharaoh, Saul, Judas, and even David who make leadership mistakes.  But God's plan is always redemptive, although for some of these characters the end isn't pretty, God's Kingdom still advances as a result.  Don't confuse man's circumstances with God's sovereignty.  

2.  Leaders develop in caves - David flees to hide in a cave.  In this cave he has the first chance at killing Saul while Saul is going number two!  Here's a thought: You can take a leader down in vulnerable times but you're probably going to step in some crap.  As much as we don't like to admit it struggle can develop gifts we didn't know we had.  David's writings in this time of struggle is the first place most Christians go when comfort is needed or we are perplexed on how to complain to God.  Can you imagine if we didn't have the Psalms David wrote?  Many of us learn how to be honest with God from reading David's words. 

3.  Followers are easy to find but true friends are rare - David has a whole army of men with him and they are valuable.  But it was Jonathan, Saul's son, who was a committed friend and told David to get the heck out of Dodge.  People like to be friends with leaders so that they are near someone who's willing to make the hard decisions and lead the battles for them.  A true friend of a leader walks beside them and not behind them.

4.  Sow destruction, reap destruction - It's that simple.  Not to mention the huge waste of energy on bitterness, anger, and the desire for revenge.  You might get what you want but it's going to come at the cost of your personal health or possibly your own reputation.  

Spending emotional energy trying to get rid of the "Saul's" in your life will keep you from developing as a leader.  In these challenging times put more trust in God then in the leader, sharpen your own gifts, focus on relationships with true friends, and reap faith, hope, and love.  

What have you learned about dealing with the "Saul's" in your life?  Please comment below!