“Our king will judge us [justice], go out before us [leadership], and fight our battles [security]”
Justice, leadership, and security. It’s what we all want. Israel was no different. They said, “Our king will judge us [justice], go out before us [leadership], and fight our battles [security]” (1 Sam. 8:20). But could a human king be enough to satisfy these desires? Or perhaps we should ask, will our money, social status, & stuff be enough?
1 Samuel 9 presents the first candidate for Israel’s king. In our study of 9:1–10:16, Matt highlighted four tests of Saul’s ability to bring justice, leadership, and security to Israel.
First, the eye test: does he look good, or is he good? He’s an impressive young man from an important tribe and prominent family. He’s the clear choice, right? But his inner character doesn’t match his outer appearance. Though we trust our eyes, they are prone to deceive us. Remember Eve? Not everything that glitters is gold.
The second test was the direction test: is he headed in the right direction? Well, if Saul’s aimless, futile search for a donkey in 9:3-5 is any indication of his leadership, no. He will not lead the nation with a clear sense of God’s direction.
Third, there is the guidance test: who does he listen to? Saul is more concerned about what others think than about what God thinks. He is a puppet king, dependent on others for guidance, and easily swayed by popular opinion.
The fourth test is the weight test: can he handle the weight? The clear indication from the outset is “no.” Saul is reluctant to step into the leadership role, and even Samuel appears to be reluctant about him. So why do we load up people & things with expectations they cannot handle? “Is Saul also among the prophets?” This slogan for Saul’s reign doesn’t make us super hopeful that he‘s the one we’ve been looking for. The rest of Israel’s history continues this pattern. Even the greatest of Israel’s kings, David & Solomon, will disappoint us. But there is one who passes all the tests. He’s the son of David, the Messiah. Don’t follow Israel’s example and reject him in favor of a hollow crown. He alone can provide the justice, leadership, and security our hearts desire.
Why do we often place our trust in someone or something to bring justice, leadership, and security to our lives, rather than relying on God?
How can we discern a person's character beyond their outward appearance?
Why is it important for leaders to have a clear sense of God's direction for their lives and the lives of those they lead?
How does Jesus fulfill the role of the ultimate king who can provide the justice, leadership, and security that we desire?
What am I giving my time, affections, and attention to, and can it actually provide what I’m looking for?