Recently, I have been listening to the Old Testament as I get ready for work in the mornings. As the drama of leadership transition unfolded through I and II Samuel, I and II Kings, and I and II Chronicles, one particular phrase grabbed my attention. "...But Saul held his peace" [I Samuel 10:27 BSB].
Saul was the initially reluctant King who was plagued by insecurity throughout his season of leadership. And while there is a plethora of "what-not-to-do-when-you-become-a-leader" wisdom to be gleaned from his kingship, there is a moment of unwitting brilliance from which, I believe, we can learn.
Samuel, the priest, anointed Saul by taking a flask of olive oil and pouring it over Saul's head. Samuel then explained, "I am doing this because the Lord has appointed you to be the ruler over Israel, his special possession" [I Samuel 10:1 NLT]. When the time of the pronouncement came, Samuel brought all the tribes of Israel before the Lord. Dragged out of hiding, Saul stood head and shoulders above anyone else. "Then Samuel said to all the people, 'This is the man the Lord has chosen as your king. No one in all Israel is like him!' And all the people shouted, 'Long live the king!'" [verses 20-24].
And this is where the haters rear their ugly heads. "When Saul returned to his home at Gibeah, a group of men whose hearts God had touched went with him. But there were some scoundrels who complained, “How can this man save us?” And they scorned him and refused to bring him gifts" [26-27]. The Message paraphrases it saying, "But the riffraff went off muttering, 'Deliverer? Don’t make me laugh!' They held him in contempt and refused to congratulate him." And from the Voice translation, "Still, some worthless skeptics and unbelievers asked, 'How can this no-name from Benjamin protect us?' and they refused to honor him with an appropriate gift."
Can you relate? Perhaps you have received a similar response when you have stepped into a God-appointed season of leadership. Is the voice of those whom God has moved to join with you being drowned out by the skeptics and the naysayers? I believe there is something we can learn from Saul's response.
While other translations meaningfully describe Saul's response using the phrases, "But Saul paid them no mind" [MSG], "But Saul kept silent" [VOICE], and even "But he was as one deaf" [DARBY], the language of the NRSV powerfully spoke to me. "...But he held his peace" [I Samuel 10:27]. Think about that for a moment. He held his peace. Selah.
Saul refused to give away his peace to people who did not recognize, acknowledge, affirm, or approve of the authority and calling of God on his life. He did not lose grip on his hope. He did not allow joy to slip through his fingers. Instead, he held his peace. What a powerful example for us.
As you journey through your season of leadership, would you receive the same Spirit-granted grace? Hold on to your joy. Hold on to your hope. Refuse to give away your peace to people who do not honor the God-poured anointing on your life. And, receive fresh grace, right now, to walk in the very love lavished on you by Jesus Christ: A love that is, "...large and incredibly patient... gentle and consistently kind to all. It refuses to be jealous when blessing comes to someone else... [It] does not brag about one’s achievements nor inflate its own importance." It is a love that, "does not traffic in shame and disrespect, nor selfishly seek its own honor. [It] is not easily irritated or quick to take offense. [It] joyfully celebrates honesty and finds no delight in what is wrong. Love is a safe place of shelter, for it never stops believing the best for others. Love never takes failure as defeat, for it never gives up. Love never stops loving" [I Corinthians 13:4-8 TPT].
As you walk in the grace of divine Love, know this, precious one. The One to whom you are clinging is holding on to you. Your Redeemer is strong; the Lord Almighty is his name. He will vigorously defend you and will bring you rest. [See Jeremiah 50:34 NIV].
As you abide and remain in Christ, may the Psalmists prayer become yours. "With passion I pursue and cling to you. Because I feel your grip on my life, I keep my soul close to your heart" [Psalm 63:8 TPT]. Grace, peace, and rest be yours. Amen.
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