This blog post focuses on the leadership differences between the first two kings of Israel. The Israelites went to Prophet Samuel to demand a king to rule over them. They wanted a king like other gentile kings. God was not pleased with their request but he honoured it by giving the people the leader they wanted – Saul.
King Saul got the kingdom on a platter of gold. He was never prepared for the leadership role which he assumed. He had the appearance of a leader – the looks, the family connections and the charisma but he lacked the leadership character. The Bible reported that Saul hid among the baggage on the day of his coronation and he hid most of his life when he had to face difficult decisions. He lacked the confidence to take on the challenges and responsibilities of power. His reign was destroyed by his negative traits and temperaments e.g. stupidity, stubbornness, disobedience, unfaithfulness, recklessness, pride, jealousy, anger, indiscipline, weakness, and fear. He looked the part but yet he failed as a leader and a king.
King David got the kingdom as a result of his preparation. The art of shepherding in the wilderness developed David’s leadership ability. The trials he faced as a fugitive built and refined his character. David never shied away from tackling leadership challenges. At the time when David was anointed as the next king of Israel, he was a ruddy-faced boy who lacked the leader’s appearance but had the leader’s heart. He was creative, inspiring, brave, courageous, strong, kind, forgiving, prepared, confident and God fearing.
The tale of these two men is evidence that not all that glitters is gold. Appearances can be deceiving. It is easy to be seduced by a leader’s appearance and charisma which can lead to overlooking that individual’s character flaws. The Israelites learnt this lesson to their peril with regards to Saul.
Every leader will be destroyed by his/her character flaws if they are not dealt with. You can rise above your character flaws if you are willing to address them. David made many mistakes during his reign but the difference between him and Saul was that he always dealt with them and repented of them. This is what separated him from Saul and also what made him succeed as the King of Israel unlike his predecessor.