1 Samuel 13: Lessons from Saul on the Consequences of an Ungodly Leader on a Nation

Introduction: Westerners typically assume that there are no consequences to a nation when an ungodly leader rules it. But Saul provides just one example of how an ungodly leader can cause consequences to an entire nation. In 1 Samuel 13, God reveals seven lessons on both the signs of an ungodly leader and the consequences of an ungodly leader’s actions upon an entire nation.

First, Saul initially sought to avoid conflict with the Philistines instead of liberating God’s people. When his faithful son Jonathan provoked the Philistines in an attack, Saul took credit for Jonathan’s actions and gave no credit to God. From this, God reveals that an ungodly leader is prideful and fails to give credit to God. Second, when faced with a massive Philistine army that sought to retaliate against the Jews, the Jews panicked in fear. Saul did nothing to exhort the people to trust in God to defeat their enemy. From this, God reveals that an ungodly leader fails to turn a people’s fears into trust in Him. Third, like his people, Saul panicked in fear as his army deserted him. Instead of waiting for Samuel for seven days as ordered and allowing Samuel to make sacrifices to God, Saul made the sacrifices on his own. From this, God reveals that an ungodly leader is disobedient to Him and acts presumptuously on his or her own will. Fourth, when Samuel confronted Saul for his sins, Saul offered excuses and failed to repent. From this, God reveals that an ungodly leader fails to repent when confronted with his or her sins. Fifth, because Saul refused to repent, Samuel judged him and told him that God would find a new leader to lead His people. From this, God reveals that an ungodly leader will be judged for his or her unrepentant sins. Sixth, Saul’s actions reduced his army to a mere 600 men and left them unprepared to stop a more massive Philistine army. From this, God reveals that an ungodly leader can cause God to remove His protections from a nation. Finally, without God’s protection, the Philistine blacksmiths were able to place a weapons embargo on Israel. The Jews faced a hopeless fight against the Philistines without comparable weapons. From this, God reveals that an ungodly leader can cause a nation to feel helpless without His protection.

1. An Ungodly Leader is Prideful and Fails to Give Credit to God. 1 Sam. 13:1-4.

  • Saul’s prideful failure to give credit to God for the Jews’ victory. After God gave the people Saul to deliver them, Saul tried to keep a low profile to avoid a war with the Philistines. After his son Jonathan took the mantel that he failed to assume, Saul took credit for the victory that God gave to the faithful Jonathan: “Saul was thirty years old when he began to reign, and he reigned forty two years over Israel. Now Saul chose for himself 3,000 men of Israel, of which 2,000 were with Saul in Michmash and in the hill country of Bethel, while 1,000 were with Jonathan at Gibeah of Benjamin. But he sent away the rest of the people, each to his tent. Jonathan smote the garrison of the Philistines that was in Geba, and the Philistines heard of it. Then Saul blew the trumpet throughout the land, saying, ‘Let the Hebrews hear.’ All Israel heard the news that Saul had smitten the garrison of the Philistines, and also that Israel had become odious to the Philistines. The people were then summoned to Saul at Gilgal.” (1 Sam. 13:1-4). Some might assume that Saul acted like Gideon when he sent soldiers home after creating Israel’s first standing army. But the actions of the two had nothing in common. Gideon sent soldiers away in response to God’s direction. God wanted to receive the credit in the battle. “The LORD said to Gideon, “I will deliver you with the 300 men who lapped and will give the Midianites into your hands; so let all the other people go, each man to his home.”’ (Jdgs. 7:7). In contrast, Saul sent away troops without consulting God (1 Sam. 13:2). The Philistines had a more technologically advanced army. Saul kept his army small to avoid provoking the Philistines. This meant that he had no plan to use his troops to liberate Israel. Instead, he wanted to keep a low profile to preserve the status quo. Without Jonathan’s faithful actions in attacking the Philistine garrison in Geba, the Jews never would have attacked the Philistines. Once his son forced his hand, Saul then took credit with pride for his son’s actions. But he was so insecure in his status as king that he could not even praise his son. Even worse, he never gave God credit for the victory.

Jonathan acted with bravery in fighting the Philistines1

  • Give up your pride and give the credit to God for His victories. Saul’s pride led to his insecurity. Saul’s pride in claiming God’s victory for his own led to his downfall. “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before stumbling.” (Prov. 16:18). “A man’s pride will bring him low, but a humble spirit will obtain honor.” (Prov. 29:23). “Whoever exalts himself shall be humbled; and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted.” (Matt. 23:12; Lk. 14:11). Saul’s boastful trumpet was evil because it gave no credit to God for His victory through Jonathan. “But as it is, you boast in your arrogance; all such boasting is evil.” (Ja. 4:16). “Your boasting is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump of dough?” (1 Cor. 5:6). If Saul wanted to boast, he should have boasted that only God could have pulled off their victory with such a small force. “If I have to boast, I will boast of what pertains to my weakness.” (2 Cor. 11:30). Do you boast about another’s success? Or, do you give the credit to God?

  • Fighting God’s battles will likely make you “odious” to the world. Jonathan’s brave act in trying to liberate God’s people made all the Jews “odious” to the Philistines (1 Sam. 13:4). When Moses and Aaron stood up to Pharaoh, the Jewish elders also complained that they had made the Jews “odious” to Pharaoh. “They said to them, ‘May the LORD look upon you and judge you, for you have made us odious in Pharaoh's sight and in the sight of his servants, to put a sword in their hand to kill us.’” (Ex. 5:21). Saul may have feared that being God’s insurgent against the Philistines would cause him to lose his life and his kingdom. Yet, seeking friendship with the things of the world causes hostility with God. “You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.” (Jam. 4:4). “Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” (1 Jo. 2:15). Will you fight God’s battles, even if it makes you “odious” to the non-believers around you?

2. An Ungodly Leader Fails to Turn a People’s Fears into Trust in God. 1 Sam. 13:5-7.

  • Saul’s failure to reassure the people’s fears by exhorting them to trust in God. Faced with a numerically and technologically superior enemy, the Jews panicked in fear. As their leader, Saul failed to bolster the people’s faith by urging them to trust in God: “5 Now the Philistines assembled to fight with Israel, 30,000 chariots and 6,000 horsemen, and people like the sand which is on the seashore in abundance; and they came up and camped in Michmash, east of Beth-aven. When the men of Israel saw that they were in a strait (for the people were hard-pressed), then the people hid themselves in caves, in thickets, in cliffs, in cellars, and in pits. Also some of the Hebrews crossed the Jordan into the land of Gad and Gilead. But as for Saul, he was still in Gilgal, and all the people followed him trembling.” (1 Sam. 13:5-7). The people wanted a leader like the other pagan nations around them to fight their enemies (1 Sam. 8:5). They rejected God as their king (1 Sam. 8:7). Saul was exactly like the pagan leaders. His faith was weak. Thus, he did not tell the people to trust in God to deliver them. Without a faithful leader guiding them, the people suffered without hope. Their faith in Saul was useless.

Saul relied upon himself in battle without turning to God2

  • When the Jews put their faith in God, God terrorized the Jews’ enemies. If Saul had faith, he would have reminded the Jews that God was faithful to keep His promise to cause the Jews’ enemies to fear them: “I will send My terror ahead of you, and throw into confusion all the people among whom you come, and I will make all your enemies turn their backs to you.” (Ex. 23:27). ‘“This day I will begin to put the dread and fear of you upon the peoples everywhere under the heavens, who, when they hear the report of you, will tremble and be in anguish because of you.’” (Dt. 2:25). “I will send an angel before you and I will drive out the Canaanite, the Amorite, the Hittite, the Perizzite, the Hivite and the Jebusite.” (Ex. 33:2). His power defeated Pharaoh’s army at the Red Sea. His power also defeated the kings of Jordan. His power also delivered the Promised Land to the Jews. He wants you to know that He is powerful enough to fulfill His promises to you as well. Yet, if you don’t know His promises, how much faith can you have in them? If you have a leadership role like Saul, are you encouraging others?

  • When you walk with God, He promises to cause your enemies to fear you as well. God also promises that an obedient individual or nation will receive the fear or respect from his or its enemies: “So all the peoples of the earth will see that you are called by the name of the Lord, and they will be afraid of you.” (Dt. 28:10). In the Bible, there are many examples of when other nations feared the Jews because of God. For example, Pharaoh feared God’s wrath when he almost took Abraham’s wife Sarah as his wife (Gen. 12:17-20). Likewise, after defeating the Amorites, the Jews traveled back to the plains of Moab where they stayed until God gave the word for Joshua to take them into the Promised Land (Nu. 22:1). There, the Moabites feared the Jews (Nu. 22:3-4). Their fear caused the Moabite King Balak to hire the sorcerer Balaam in an unsuccessful attempt to cast a spell on Israel (Nu. 22:7). The kings of Canaan again feared the Jews and their God when they invaded. The Canaanites “heard how the LORD had dried up the waters of the Jordan before the sons of Israel until they had crossed, that their hearts melted, and there was no spirit in them any longer because of the sons of Israel.” (Josh. 5:1). “Then the chiefs of Edom were dismayed; the leaders of Moab, trembling grips them; all the inhabitants of Canaan have melted away. Terror and dread fall upon them; by the greatness of Your arm they are motionless as stone; until Your people pass over, O LORD, until the people pass over whom You have purchased.” (Ex. 15:15-16). All who oppose Israel are subject to the curse that God promised to Abraham (Gen. 12:3). Today, the nations that surround Israel again fear it because God has blessed it. Are you walking with God to allow His Holy Spirit to cause your enemies to fear or respect you?

  • With faith, God will also give you the courage to face your enemies. Unlike the Jews under Saul, God wants you to have faith in Him when facing your battles. Without faith, it is impossible to please Him: “And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.” (Heb. 11:6). He has given you a Spirit of strength, not fear: “For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline.” (2 Tim. 1:7). Are you acting boldly in faith for His glory? Are you letting fear rule any portion of your life? If so, repent of your fear and trust in Jesus to deliver you.

3. An Ungodly Leader is Disobedient to God and Acts Presumptuously. 1 Sam. 13:8-9.

  • Saul’s failure to wait for God’s timing and his sin of presumption. Saul knew that he needed God’s help. But he was unwilling to wait on Samuel to make sacrifices. Thus, Saul thought that he could force God to help by making the sacrifices on his own. “Now he waited seven days, according to the appointed time set by Samuel, but Samuel did not come to Gilgal; and the people were scattering from him. So Saul said, ‘Bring to me the burnt offering and the peace offerings.’ And he offered the burnt offering.” (1 Sam. 13:8-9). Here, Saul committed sins including disobedience and presumption.

  • Saul’s sin of disobedience. Samuel told Saul to wait seven days at a place called Gilgal before he would come. The place and the duration of the wait should have sounded familiar to Saul. At this exact same place, Samuel told Saul to wait seven days before his anointing as king. “And you shall go down before me to Gilgal; and behold, I will come down to you to offer burnt offerings and sacrifice peace offerings. You shall wait seven days until I come to you and show you what you should do.” (1 Sam. 10:8). God tested Saul’s obedience and his patience. Saul passed God’s test of waiting seven days when there was no pressure. But he was unwilling to wait when the stakes were high. Just as Saul had to patiently wait seven days for his anointing, he had to wait patiently for God to deliver the Jews from the Philistines. Samuel later explained that God values obedience over sacrifice. “Samuel said, ‘Has the LORD as much delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed than the fat of rams.” (1 Sam. 15:22). Unlike Saul, God wants you to be obedient by waiting on His timing. “Rest in the LORD and wait patiently for Him; do not fret because of him who prospers in his way, because of the man who carries out wicked schemes.” (Ps. 37:7). “I waited patiently for the LORD; and He inclined to me and heard my cry.” (Ps. 40:1(b)). “I wait for the LORD, my soul does wait, and in His word do I hope.” (Ps. 130:5). Do you also patiently wait upon the Lord and His timing?

  • Saul’s sin of presumption. Moses warned the Jews not to act presumptuously by acting without the direction of the priests. Those who failed to do so would be judged: “The man who acts presumptuously by not listening to the priest who stands there to serve the LORD your God, nor to the judge, that man shall die; thus you shall purge the evil from Israel.” (Dt. 17:12). Saul presumed that he could fulfill the role of God’s priest when that was not his role. When the Philistines previously attacked the Jews while Samuel made a burnt offering at Mizpah, God responded by routing the Philistines “Now Samuel was offering up the burnt offering, and the Philistines drew near to battle against Israel. But the LORD thundered with a great thunder on that day against the Philistines and confused them, so that they were routed before Israel.” (1 Sam. 7:10). Saul apparently presumed that he could force God to intervene by simply repeating Samuel’s prior actions. He made the sacrifices a good luck charm the same way the Jews previously turned the ark into a good luck charm (1 Sam. 4:3-10). The Jews also made the sin of presumption by trying to invade the Promised Land after God judged them and told them that the first generation would need to die off in the wilderness because of their sins. “So I spoke to you, but you would not listen. Instead you rebelled against the command of the LORD, and acted presumptuously and went up into the hill country. The Amorites who lived in that hill country came out against you and chased you as bees do, and crushed you from Seir to Hormah. Then you returned and wept before the LORD; but the LORD did not listen to your voice nor give ear to you. So you remained in Kadesh many days, the days that you spent there.” (Dt. 1:41-46). Many years later, King Uzziah also acted presumptuously when he tried to serve as both priest and as king. God responded by striking him with leprosy (2 Chr. 26:18-19). Never assume that you are following God’s will when you are either disobeying His Word or acting on your own.

4. An Ungodly Leader Fails to Repent When Confronted with His Sins. 1 Sam. 13:10-12.

  • Saul’s failure to repent when confronted. When Samuel confronted Saul for his sins, Saul offered excuses and refused to repent. “10 As soon as he finished offering the burnt offering, behold, Samuel came; and Saul went out to meet him and to greet him. 11 But Samuel said, ‘What have you done?’ And Saul said, ‘Because I saw that the people were scattering from me, and that you did not come within the appointed days, and that the Philistines were assembling at Michmash, 12 therefore I said, ‘Now the Philistines will come down against me at Gilgal, and I have not asked the favor of the Lord.’ So I forced myself and offered the burnt offering.’” (1 Sam. 13:10-12). In most English translations, it states that Saul came out to meet Samuel. But the Hebrew suggests that he wanted to bless Saul. This suggests that Saul was attempting to impress Samuel with his piety. When Samuel confronted Saul, Saul showed his piety to be false when he blamed others for his actions. He then blamed Samuel for coming at the last possible moment.

Samuel confronted Saul regarding his disobedience and presumption3

  • When God has revealed your sins, repent. When Samuel revealed Saul’s sins, Saul should have repented: “When Your people Israel are defeated before an enemy, because they have sinned against You, if they turn to You again and confess Your name and pray and make supplication to You in this house, then hear in heaven, and forgive the sin of Your people Israel, and bring them back to the land which You gave to their fathers. When the heavens are shut up and there is no rain, because they have sinned against You, and they pray toward this place and confess Your name and turn from their sin when You afflict them, then hear in heaven and forgive the sin of Your servants and of Your people Israel, indeed, teach them the good way in which they should walk. And send rain on Your land, which You have given Your people for an inheritance.” (1 Kgs. 8:33-36). When Joshua and his men sinned at Ai by acting presumptuously, he tore his clothes in grief and cried out for God not to allow His name to be profaned by their sins: ‘“9 For the Canaanites and all the inhabitants of the land will hear of it, and they will surround us and cut off our name from the earth. And what will You do for Your great name?’” (Josh. 7:9). When God reveals your sins, do you repent so that you can be forgiven? (1 Jo. 1:9).

  • Humble yourself so that you will accept corrections. Instead of hardening his heart with excuses, God wanted Saul to circumcise his heart so that he would accept Samuel’s correction. “So circumcise your heart, and stiffen your neck no longer.” (Dt. 10:16; 30:6; Ro. 2:28-29; Col. 2:10-11). When you accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior and allow the Holy Spirit to guide you, He will also circumcise your heart if you let Him: “in Him you were also circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, in the removal of the body of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ;” (Col. 2:11). When you soften or circumcise your heart, God will reward you with a heart to know Him: “I will give them a heart to know Me, for I am the Lord; and they will be My people, and I will be their God, for they will return to Me with their whole heart.” (Jer. 24:7). “But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days,” declares the Lord, “I will put My law within them and on their heart I will write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.” (Jer. 31:33; Col. 2:11). In the areas where you are stiff necked in your walk with God, will you invite the Holy Spirit to soften your heart?

5. An Ungodly Leader Will Be Judged For Unrepentant Sins. 1 Sam. 13:13-14.

  • Saul’s judgment for his unrepentant sins. Because Samuel failed to repent of sins, God judged him as an unfit leader. Yet, out of mercy and grace, God withheld his immediate punishment and limited it to Saul’s future generations. “13 Samuel said to Saul, ‘You have acted foolishly; you have not kept the commandment of the Lord your God, which He commanded you, for now the Lord would have established your kingdom over Israel forever. 14 But now your kingdom shall not endure. The Lord has sought out for Himself a man after His own heart, and the Lord has appointed him as ruler over His people, because you have not kept what the Lord commanded you.’” (1 Sam. 13:13-14). Some might think that Samuel overreacted. But Saul was God’s anointed representative. Just as Moses was held to a higher standard as His representative, so was Saul. Had Saul been faithful and obedient, God would have established Saul’s dynasty forever. Now, God would appoint a representative with the right heart. God, however, showed mercy and grace by delaying Saul’s punishment. God allowed Saul to rule for another 20 years to give him the chance to repent, an opportunity that Saul would squander.

Samuel gives God’s judgment upon Saul for his unrepentant sins4

  • God cares more about your heart than your actions. God promised that He would appoint: “a man after His own heart, and the Lord has appointed him as ruler over His people,” (1 Sam. 13:14). This was a prophecy that God would one day appoint David as king. “After He had removed him, He raised up David to be their king, concerning whom He also testified and said, ‘I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after My heart, who will do all My will.’” (Acts 13:22). Pastor David Guzik gives several reasons why David and not Saul was a man after God’s heart: “i. A man after God's heart honors the LORD. Saul was more concerned with his will than God’s will. David knew God’s will was most important. Even when David didn’t do God’s will, he still knew God’s will was more important. All sin is a disregard of God, but David sinned more out of weakness and Saul more out of a disregard for God. ii. A man after God's heart enthrones God as king. For Saul, Saul was king. For David, the LORD God was king. Both David and Saul knew sacrifice before battle was important. But David thought it was important because it pleased and honored God. Saul thought it was important because it might help him win the battle. Saul thought God would help him achieve his goals. David thought that God was the goal. iii. A man after God’s heart has a soft, repentant heart. When Saul was confronted with his sin he offered excuses. When David was confronted with his sin he confessed his sin and repented (2 Samuel 12:13). iv. A man after God’s heart loves other people. Saul became increasingly bitter against people and lived more and more unto himself, but David loved people. When David was down and out he still loved and served those who were even more down and out (1 Sam. 22:1-2).” (David Guzik on 1 Sam. 13).5 Is your heart burdened by worldly or godly things?

6. An Ungodly Leader Can Cause God to Remove a Nation’s Protections. 1 Sam. 13:15-18.

  • Saul’s sins removed God’s hedge of protection from the Philistine’s raids. Saul’s sins not only had consequences for his family. They also caused the nation to suffer as God removed His hedge of protection. “15 Then Samuel arose and went up from Gilgal to Gibeah of Benjamin. And Saul numbered the people who were present with him, about six hundred men. 16 Now Saul and his son Jonathan and the people who were present with them were staying in Geba of Benjamin while the Philistines camped at Michmash. 17 And the raiders came from the camp of the Philistines in three companies: one company turned toward Ophrah, to the land of Shual, 18 and another company turned toward Beth-horon, and another company turned toward the border which overlooks the valley of Zeboim toward the wilderness.” (1 Sam. 13:15-18). Saul’s army was reduced to one-fifth of its size, from 3,000 to a mere 600 men (1 Sam. 13:2, 8). Saul was from the tribe of Benjamin. God previously judged his tribe and reduced it to a mere 600 men after their sexual sins and their refusal to repent during Israel’s first civil war. “47 But 600 men turned and fled toward the wilderness to the rock of Rimmon, and they remained at the rock of Rimmon four months.” (Jdgs. 20:47). In the Bible, the number six symbolizes man because God made mankind on His sixth creation day. The number 600 symbolized mankind’s judgment. Because of the evil desires within their hearts, all mankind has been ensnared by sin and is under judgment: “By transgression an evil man is ensnared, but the righteous sings and rejoices.” (Prov. 29:6; 11:5; 5:22; Ro. 3:23). Thus, every person must repent and turn to Christ to be saved from certain judgment (Jo. 3:16). This was something that neither Saul nor his tribe was willing to do.

Without God’s protection, Philistine raiders attacked the Jews6

  • Fighting your battles without God frequently leads to defeat. The 600 men that were left with Saul could never have defeated the Philistines on their own. God warns that if His people refuse to repent and turn back to Him, He may allow them to be defeated in battle: “The Lord shall cause you to be defeated before your enemies; you will go out one way against them, but you will flee seven ways before them, and you will be an example of terror to all the kingdoms of the earth.” (Dt. 28:25). “I will set My face against you so that you will be struck down before your enemies; and those who hate you will rule over you, and you will flee when no one is pursuing you.” (Lev. 26:17). When the Jews were disobedient to God, they were defeated in battle: “The Philistines drew up in battle array to meet Israel. When the battle spread, Israel was defeated before the Philistines who killed about four thousand men on the battlefield.” (1 Sam. 4:2). “So the Philistines fought and Israel was defeated, and every man fled to his tent; and the slaughter was very great, for there fell of Israel thirty thousand foot soldiers.” (1 Sam. 4:10). Are you trying to fight your battles without God? If so, you are unlikely to be successful.

7. An Ungodly Leader Can Cause a Nation to Feel Helpless Without God. 1 Sam. 13:19-23.

  • Saul’s sins left the Jews helpless from the enemy’s attacks. Without God’s protection, the Jews were also left helpless without iron weapons against a more technologically advanced enemy: “19 Now no blacksmith could be found in all the land of Israel, for the Philistines said, ‘Otherwise the Hebrews will make swords or spears.’ 20 So all Israel went down to the Philistines, each to sharpen his plowshare, his mattock, his axe, and his hoe. 21 The charge was two-thirds of a shekel for the plowshares, the mattocks, the forks, and the axes, and to fix the hoes. 22 So it came about on the day of battle that neither sword nor spear was found in the hands of any of the people who were with Saul and Jonathan, but they were found with Saul and his son Jonathan. 23 And the garrison of the Philistines went out to the pass of Michmash.” (1 Sam. 13:19-23). The Philistines had so effectively cut off the Jews access to military technology that only the royal family had iron weapons. God was removing everything that the Jews could do to rely upon themselves. He did this so that the Jews would learn to trust Him alone.

God withdrew His hand of protection, and Israel lost the battle of Michmash7

  • Living outside of God’s protections will leave you helpless before your enemy. For a wayward society or individual, there is no protection without God. Like an exposed carcass, the wayward person or society will be weak and unable to stop those who might prey upon them: “Your carcasses will be food to all birds of the sky and to the beasts of the earth, and there will be no one to frighten them away.” (Dt. 28:26). “As for those of you who may be left, I will also bring weakness into their hearts in the lands of their enemies. And the sound of a driven leaf will chase them, and even when no one is pursuing they will flee as though from the sword, and they will fall.” (Lev. 26:36). “The anger of the LORD burned against Israel, . . . so that they could no longer stand before their enemies.” (Josh. 2:14). “The LORD has done what He purposed; He has accomplished His word which He commanded from days of old. . . . He has exalted the might of your adversaries.” (Lam. 2:17). “I will make void the counsel of Judah and Jerusalem in this place, and I will cause them to fall by the sword before their enemies and by the hand of those who seek their life; and I will give over their carcasses as food for the birds of the sky and the beasts of the earth.” (Jer. 19:7; 7:33; Ps. 79:2). “The wicked flee when no one is pursuing, but the righteous are bold as a lion.” (Prov. 28:1). If you are fighting your battles without God, you may eventually feel powerless against enemies and forces that you cannot control. Give these battles to God and live in peace.

  • The sins of a leader can affect the entire community. Saul’s actions show that the ungodly actions of one leader can impact an entire nation. Hundreds of years earlier, Joshua reminded the people that the sin of one person caused the entire nation to lose in battle: ‘“Did not Achan the son of Zerah act unfaithfully in the things under the ban, and wrath fall on all the congregation of Israel? And that man did not perish alone in his iniquity.’” (Josh. 22:20). Solomon also warned that: “Wisdom is better than weapons of war, but one sinner destroys much good.” (Ecc. 9:18). Christians cannot turn a blind eye toward the sins of their leaders. Believers are meant to be His salt and light on Earth (Matt. 5:13-16). Salt stings when it is applied to the wound of sin. If the Church ceases to be an irritant toward sin in the world, it will lose its saltiness and become worthless in Jesus’ eyes: “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men.” (Matt. 5:13). These verses challenge the libertarian worldview that has invaded the Church. The Church falls short of God’s calling when it ceases to irritate the immoral society around it. The Church has largely stopped speaking out against sin in society in the hopes of being seeker friendly to nonbelievers. The result is a Church that has lost its saltiness. Are you praying for the nation’s leaders to repent?