Marks of an unwise, selfish leader (1 Samuel 14)

20130922-094431.jpgIn 1 Samuel 14 we see the further evidence of the decline of Saul’s leadership. We sometimes talk of losing your leadership capital. Well Saul seemed to mortgage the lot in this chapter. What did he do wrong?

  1. He was passive and lacked initiative. Jonathan should not have had to be the one to decide to lead the attack against the enemies. Saul left a leadership vacuum his son filled. It’s sad that his own son felt he couldn’t discuss his idea with his own father. We can only guess the reason, but some leaders don’t take too kindly to suggestions which come from others. (1 Samuel 14:1)
  2. He rashly laid a hard burden on the people. In an effort to look strong, some leaders make unbearable demands on their followers. Perhaps today it might be a lack of grace towards a businessman who struggles to attend midweek meetings due to business trips. What was Saul thinking of in asking the people to fast when they were going into war? (1 Samuel 14:24)
  3. He made plans without consulting God. (1 Samuel 14:36)
  4. He was overzealous in punishment. To threaten death to whoever had defied him cornered him into a desire to murder his own son and heir. How many leaders today in an effort to maintain church purity have disciplined someone who is repentant of sin? There is a lot to be said for grace! (1 Samuel 14:39)
  5. By his own folly he caused a rebellion against his wrong leadership decision. What respect must the people have lost for him that day. (1 Samuel 14:43-45)
  6. He “attached” the best people to himself. His insecurity bolstered, this was very different to what David would do. (1 Samuel 14:52)

About Adrian Warnock

Adrian Warnock has been a blogger since April 2003, and part of the leadership team of Jubilee Church, London for more than ten years, serving alongside Tope Koleoso. Together they have written Hope Reborn - How to Become a Christian and Live for Jesus, published by Christian Focus.

Adrian is also the author of Raised With Christ - How The Resurrection Changes Everything, published by Crossway. Read more about Adrian Warnock or connect with him on Twitter, Facebook or Google+.

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  • http://lotharlorraine.wordpress.com/ Lothar Lorraine

    I find one thing troubling about this description.

    I agree that each of these features are unworthy for a leader.

    But Saul did something far worse. He previously ordered soldiers to kill babies and pregnant women alike.

    How can we, as defenders of unborn humans, consider this as pious?

    Many thanks for your answer.

    Friendly greetings from continental Europe.

    Lothars Sohn – Lothar’s son

    http://lotharlorraine.wordpress.com

  • Esther Bande

    Reading this article on the marks of a selfish leader, No. 4 points towards being overzealous in punishment. It has been a practice in many churches to suspend members who, through substantial evidence, are deemed to have engaged in sin, especially if they hold leadership positions in church. Can this be taken as an overzealously punitive act?

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