1. Then Samuel addressed all Israel: “I have done as you asked and given you a king.
2. Your King is now your Leader. I stand here before you — an old, gray-haired man — and my sons serve you. I have served as your Leader from the time I was a boy to this very day.
3. Now testify against me in the presence of the LORD and before his anointed one. Whose ox or donkey have I stolen? Have I ever cheated any of you? Have I ever oppressed you? Have I ever taken a bribe and perverted justice? Tell me and I will make right whatever I have done wrong.”
4. “No,” they replied, “you have never cheated or oppressed us, and you have never taken even a single bribe.”
5. “The LORD and his anointed one are my witnesses today,” Samuel declared, “that my hands are clean.”
“Yes, he is a witness,” they replied.
1 Samuel 12: 1–5 NLT
Today’s Passage begins a New Chapter of The Story of Samuel, and as I read it over, Today’s Lesson stood out to me in a way I rarely encounter. I honestly don’t know how these DAILY WORD Posts come off. But if you read these Posts, and it sounds like I’m some kind of Biblical authority, I can assure you I am not!
More often than not, as I read through whatever Verses constitute “Today’s Passage,” by the time I reach the end of the Day’s Text, I typically have no clue what the Lesson behind it all is supposed to be. I start writing with no clear destination, and God always Provides Revelation before it’s all over. Pretty cool if you ask me.
But that’s not what happened when I read Today’s Passage. Today’s Lesson all but jumped off the page as I read this, and I can tell you, this time, I have some personal insight into what I’m writing because Today’s Lesson is all about the Proper Transition of Power.
Saul has just defeated the invading Ammonites and, through his boldness, has united the burgeoning Kingdom. And with all of Israel in one place at one time, Samuel takes the opportunity to coalesce all of the new King’s Power by transferring his Authority as Prophet and Judge to Saul.
To do this, Samuel first ensures the people see what Proper Leadership looks like. In all his time acting as Judge over Israel, from the time he was a young man until this Passage was written when he is, by his own admission, grey-headed, Samuel had never stolen from them, taken a bribe, or misused his Power. He’s been the consummate Leader, and no one disputes his claims. Now, he is Transferring his God-given authority to King Saul.
Even in this Transfer, Samuel still emotes that the people’s desire for a King is flawed. But he goes through with it just as God did, giving the people what they think they want. But how often do children know what’s best for them before fully developing into decision-making adults? And even then, how many decision-making adults make bad ones?
But it seems Samuel is past that, as he allocates to Saul God’s Mantel of Authorization before all of Israel. He has accepted their blunder and is moving past it to what comes next. What’s next is Samuel laying down his Power and handing it to Saul, a smooth Transition of Power.
As we look at international and, now, even domestic politics, we can see just how rare and tenuous it can be to have an individual in Power simply give it up once another Leader has been chosen. It is not always as smooth, efficient, or diplomatic as one would expect. And when the one in Power refuses to give it up, it often requires violence to oust them, if that is even possible, because once in Power, they have every option at their disposal to retain it.
But as much as we see a parallel to national politics in Today’s Passage, how does this relate to us as Christian Leaders Today? Well, when I began, I said I had some insight into Today’s Lesson. That insight comes through first-hand experience.
Over the Covid Lockdown, I witnessed no less than three Pastors expire, leaving their churches scrambling for new Leaders. None of these churches or their Leadership had a comprehensive plan in place should the worst happen, and the worst did happen, leaving those institutions reeling in the wake of their Pastor’s deaths.
The resulting circumstances can only be described as varying degrees of chaos, and the same can be expected whenever a Transfer of Power has not been adequately planned out. Especially in the areas of Leadership, God expects all things to be done Decently and in Order! 1 Cor 14:40
Samuel understood that dynamic and ensured the people knew he was stepping down and Saul was taking up the reigns. Samuel valued the Order God had Commanded and knew that if he didn’t solidify Saul’s authority, some people would never follow him.
Today’s Lesson is that Real Godly Leadership Respects the Bounds of the Office, and when it is time to step down and they have trained and instructed the next Leader, they lift up and support the new Head the same way they were underwritten.
Nowhere is the Smooth Transition of Power more important than amongst God’s people because all it takes to send an entire organization or even a nation off the deep end is one individual refusing to give up their position or, worse yet, no one stepping in, creating a Leadership Vacuum.
God requires Order, and sometimes it is up to us to see it through via organization, planning, and humility. The question becomes, what kind of Leader are you, and are you Prepared for The Transition?
Have a Terrific Tuesday And Never Forget That A Nation Is Most Vulnerable During A Transition Of Power!