The study of Saul and his leadership among the nation of Israel is fascinating. It indicates that of man who started well. He appeared to display clear signs of humility and decisive leadership which was a blessing to the people of God. However, he ended up as a selfish vindictive individual who was not at all helping the people of God.
So what went wrong? The first blemish that is to be detected comes in 1 Samuel 13. Here the Philistines are massed against the Israelites. The people are quaking as the enemy range against them. At this point Saul takes things into his own hands. We read of Saul: So he said, ‘Bring me the burnt offering and the fellowship offerings.’ And Saul offered up the burnt offering (1 Sam. 13:9).
At this point Samuel arrived. he asks Saul about what he had done. Saul give s a spiritual answer which includes I thought, “Now the Philistines will come down against me at Gilgal, and I have not sought the Lord’s favour.” So I felt compelled to offer the burnt offering.’ (1 Sam. 13:12). Whereupon we read ‘You have done a foolish thing,’ Samuel said. ‘You have not kept the command the Lord your God gave you; if you had, he would have established your kingdom over Israel for all time. But now your kingdom will not endure; the Lord has sought out a man after his own heart and appointed him ruler of his people, because you have not kept the Lord’s command.’ (1 Sam. 13:13-14).
Where did Saul first start to come unstuck it was in his attitude to the Word of God. Although he had spiritual and understandable reasons for departing from the law of the Lord he still displayed a spirit which would place expediency before complete obedience to the Word. After all it was only the priests who were commanded to make sacrifices to the Lord and Saul was not of the priestly line.
So when we look for leaders among God’s people it is vital that we look at their attitude to the Word of God. We read of the deacon that he is to be someone who must keep hold of the deep truths of the faith with a clear conscience (1 Tim. 3:9)
If you are looking at someone who is inclined to compromise on the Word then you are looking at someone who should not be taking a position of leadership among God’s people.