How Do You Recognize A Leader That Can Change a Nation?

By human standards, David was not qualified to be a leader. He was too young, too untrained, too “wrong family”. David became a warrior...but his tender spirit was his defining trait (See The Maxwell Leadership Bible, page 340). David was defined as a man by two things:

  • tender heart - he spent time alone with God in tender intimacy to build a personal relationship with God
  • tough spirit - he was made tough and could fight God’s battles as a warrior that God could call on to fight his battles

David began his leadership journey as the last of the family hierarchy, the one on the bottom. While his brothers looked down on him, God lifted him up. When his family bypassed him, God did not. God sees who you are, God sees who we are as a nation, and he doesn’t forget his promises to us. God sees the young leaders He wants to bring out and He uses you and me to do that. God uses intentional relationships to disciple His future leaders.

David’s life demonstrates this truth: faithfulness in small things is rewarded by God, faithfulness in physical things - for David that was taking care of the sheep - is rewarded by spiritual rewards, and faithfulness serving another man’s plans and vision, is rewarded with your own spiritual responsibilities to take care of for God. Faithfulness results in larger assignments of influence and greater responsibilities of leadership.

David grew into a warrior one step at a time: he first fought the lion and the bear, then he fought Goliath, then the Philistines. And that is still how he grows young leaders, one step at a time, one battle at at time.

How do you recognize a David in our midst? 1 Samuel 16

  1. Don’t look at good looks - verse 7
  2. Don’t look at his family or race - verses 8-11
  3. Don’t look for existing recognition - verse 8-9
  4. Don’t look at his past - verse 11 (keeping the sheep)
  5. Don’t look at what others look at - verse 3

The Saul Syndrome

Can a leader or nation lose their calling and destiny? 
There is more than one example in Scriptures of this happening. King Saul in the Old Testament is but one example. Saul suffering from a pattern of inner brokenness and outer rebellion that caused him to lose his kingship. He suffered from what I call the "Saul Syndrome". He is how it works, a vicious cycle of in security and rebellion: It starts with a lack  of identity, which leads to deep inferiority, which produces cycles of crippling insecurity, which results in rash acts of impulsiveness, which deepens into independence and rebellion = the Saul Syndrome cycle, one inner issue leading to another, and to another.

1 Sam 9:2, 10:23 - There were two polar extremes in Saul, the flesh and the spirit battled for control in his life; Saul lost the inner battle but won the leadership prize through outer appearance and stature; he was tall and good looking, he possessed charisma of personality, but inside he was insecure and lacked identity of who he was as a man of God.

There are seven consequences of the Saul Syndrome: 

Contagious lack of courage - Both courage and cowardice are like a virus; the people catch what the leader carries in his or her heart. Saul would not fight Goliath, but David did - 2 Sam 23 - David inspired the armies of Israel to fight, but Saul inspired them to inaction and fear. Where a  leader with courage leads, people follow.

Fearing what the people think, leading to acts of religious piety to impress people. Without courage it doesn’t matter how good your intentions are. See 1 Samuel 15. Saul offered burnt offerings to the Lord, but it was an act of disobedience and cowardice - he tried to impress the people, not obedience to the Lord. The sacrifice the Lord requires is a sincere heart and a broken spirit.

Running from opportunity. Godly courage empowers you to do what you are afraid of doing in the natural - Saul hid among the baggage when it was time to time to come forward to be anointed king - 1 sam 10:22

Jealousy of others. But where there is courage, we break free of the slavery of insecurity and possessiveness. Saul was jealous of David because of lack of inner courage and confidence in who God had called him to be.

Indecisive. When leaders have courage the people will have commitment.  There are some decisions leaders make without hearing God tell them to do it, it is simply the courageous thing to do. Those kind of decisions are the result of inner core values birthed in a person through testing and trial, and staying close to God.

Fear of letting go of the past to embrace change and a new future. A leader with courage will let go of the familiar to face a new future.

Disloyalty in relationships. The Saul Syndrome produces unreliable leaders.