Qualities of a God-appointed LEADER: Samuel had been an exceptional judge over Israel but he was old now (1 Sam 8:1). He failed to mentor and raise up godly sons to take his place when it was time for him to retire. His sons were corrupt and inadequate for leading the nation (1 Sam 8:4). On the other hand, the Israelites failed to recognize that God ALONE was their king, and their disobedience to God was the reason of their problems. Now, they wanted a king as they wanted to be like other nations and they relied more on human strength and leadership. It is important to note here that seeking God’s will and being obedient to Him will alone lead us to victory.
So, God appointed Saul through Samuel as the first king of Israel. There are many good qualities in Saul that God saw in him, which we can emulate in our lives:
- Physical Qualities: Saul was a choice and handsome young man and taller than everyone else in Israel (1 Sam 9:2; 10:23-24). However, physical appearance is not important as other qualities. Our Lord Jesus had no (physical) beauty that we should desire Him (Isaiah 53:2).
- Obedient to Parents/Elders: When Saul was asked by his father Kish to go and look for the missing donkeys, he obeyed without any hesitation (1 Sam 9:3-4). He was obedient and respectful to Samuel as we read in his encounter narrative with the prophet.
- Honoring God’s servants: Saul wanted to honor Samuel with a gift when he asks for his counsel. This must have been a good trait that he learned from his parents.
- Humility: Saul was a humble person, and we can see this trait in his reply to Samuel who had told him that on him was the desire of Israel. And Saul answered and said, "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 like this to me?" (1 Sam 9:21)
- Lack of self-promotion: Saul was not willing to reveal the prophecy of Samuel that he was chosen as the King of Israel (1 Sam 10:14-16). Also, when the selections for the king was being made, Saul was hiding among the equipment (1 Sam 10:22). Saul was not willing to promote himself in any manner.
- Restraint in his reactions: When some rebels questioned his ability to be the king, Saul kept silent. But some rebels said, "How can this man save us?" So they despised him, and brought him no presents. But he held his peace. (1 Sam 10:27)
- Willing to take risks: When the time came to rescue Jabesh Gilead from the Ammonites, Saul stepped out and took a risk to fulfill God’s plan. He exemplifies that God protects us as we take intelligent risks to accomplish His will.
- Magnanimous: After the victory against the Ammonites, some people urged Saul to bring out the people who doubted his ability to be the king of Israel and execute them. It is here that we see the magnanimity of Saul: But Saul said, "Not a man shall be put to death this day, for today the Lord has accomplished salvation in Israel." (1 Sam 11:13)