The First 100 Days

BIBLE VERSE FOR TODAY…. “…the next day Saul put the people in three companies. And they came into the midst of the camp in the morning watch and struck down the Ammonites…Then Samuel said to the people, “Come, let us go to Gilgal and there renew the kingdom.” So all the people went to Gilgal, and there they made Saul king before the Lord in Gilgal.”  1 Samuel 11:11,14-15 ESV

We have just ended the first 100 days of a new President. During this time I have found myself asking, “why is the “first 100 days” out of a four-year term of office so important?” My pondering was probably more of an expression of frustration than a lack of understanding. My pastoral and political experience have allowed me to learn the leadership reality that we see in Israel’s first King.

Saul was selected by the Lord and anointed by Samuel to be Israel’s first King. This was a fairly dramatic process. All the tribes were present and the tribe of Benjamin was chosen. Then one of the clans of the tribe Benjamin was chosen. Then one of the families of the clan was chosen. Finally the individual was called forth to be the King. However, instead of jumping to the forefront with fanfare, there was awkward silence, because Saul was hiding.

When he was finally presented there were shouts and the instructions and the anointing and gifts, there was a King in Israel! But not all were excited. We read, “….some worthless fellows said, “How can this man save us?” And they despised him and brought him no present.” (1 Samuel 10:27 ESV)

But there were those who were quick to “jump on Saul’s side” and be supportive and loyal. Such is the case when any new leader arises, whether in a church, organization or government. Some will immediately be supportive, some will “hold off” some will even oppose, whether vocal or in silence.

What we can observe is this, “It is one thing to be chosen for a position, it is another to gain confidence, respect and loyalty.” Saul like any other newly appointed leader needed a “win” to really establish his kingdom.

The opportunity was presented when there was a conflict with a neighboring people. Saul steps forward, calls fighting men into action and a great victory is won. That military victory was the key event that established Saul as King.

We see Saul cemented in the hearts of people as King expressed in two ways. The “loyalists” wanted revenge on the naysayers,  Then the people said to Samuel, “Who is it that said, ‘Shall Saul reign over us?’ Bring the men, that we may put them to death.” (1 Samuel 11:12 ESV) But Saul stepped forward and restrained them; another expression of his character, authority and leadership.

Then we see that the “kingdom was renewed” “…they made Saul king before the Lord in Gilgal.” Wait! Saul had already been anointed!? It is one thing to be “given a leader” – it is another to accept that leader. We the validation of Saul as King went from Samuel saying, “Israel this is your King!” to Israel saying, “Saul, you are our (my) King.”

What is true for a leader of an “organization” is true of our lives. It is one thing to understand that “Jesus is Lord” by virtue of a theological understanding. It is another to know Him as “my Lord” by virtue of a personal relationship and a commitment to allow Him to rule in our hearts and lives.

Prayer for today…. Lord, the most important realm of leadership, is that which governs my life. I don’t just want to recognize Your Lordship, I want to embrace it, and allow You to be the ruler of all. Allow me to be an eager and willing subject.