Tested by Defiance

1 Samuel 17:24-25

Our enemies will defy us, and sometimes our friends will, too! Goliath defied the army of Israel – out of a proud and evil spirit. 1 Samuel 17:25 says, “So the men of Israel said, ‘Have you seen the man who has come up? Surely he has come up to defy Israel...’ ”

Defiance can be defined as everything from outright insubordination to passive lack of cooperation, from boldness in the face of evil to insolence toward servant leaders. The fruit doesn’t always indicate the root. There can be different causes for the same kind of behavior.

A wise leader discerns what type of defiance they are up against when people resist their leadership. There are emotional processes at work between people that can cause people to react to one another, like ice bergs colliding in the sea – the biggest issue is often what is unseen in the area of emotions and sensitive areas of ego and identity.

Sooner or later, you will meet a person who will defy you, or you may feel you must defy a person. The temptation is see defiance only as sinful rebellion, and not see more deeply what causes the rebellion, or what role we might play in provoking a person to rebellion and defiance. Most importantly, a discerning leader prayerfully discerns how God wants them to respond to the someone they see as defiant. Below are ten examples of ‘defiant’ behavior in the Scriptures, and ten different motivations for people’s defiance to leadership.

Ten kinds of defiance:

1. The Goliath defiance – deceived, evil defiance

2. The John Mark defiance – youthful, homesick defiance

3. The David defiance – sexual compromise defiance

4. The Absalom/Micah defiance – wounded child defiance

5. The Saul defiance – insecure leader defiance

6. The Jonathan defiance – wise leader defiance

7. The Bethsheba defiance – discerning spouse defiance

8. The Barnabas defiance – “stand up to a pushy leader” kind of defiance

9. The Apostles defiance – resisting ungodly leadership defiance

10. The Sloth’s defiance – the defiance of a lazy man

1 Samuel 15: Saul's Rebellion and Rejection as King

An individual, a family, a local church congregation, and a nation can lose their calling and and forfeit their destiny if they rebel against the Lord long enough and consistently enough. 1 samuel 15 is an example of God withdrawing his calling on a man’s life, and the impact God's judgment has on the nation. It is one thing for a nation to sin, but it is another matter for the church to sin against their nation by ceasing to pray and believe God for their nation. The United States and South Africa are both in great danger, not mostly from of crime and corruption or moral decay in society, but from Christians who run in fear or speak in criticism against their nation and it’s leaders.

Notice the progression in Saul's great failure and removal as the king of israel:

15:1-3 - detailed obedience is required of Saul in a very tough assignment of discipline and standing against evil.

15:4-9 - partial obedience is disobedience in God’s eyes; Saul saved the best for himself

15:12 - Saul erects a monument to himself. Disobedience leads to deception and self-exultation.

15:11 - Saul is rejected by God to be king

15:12 - Saul lies to Samuel about his sin

15:15 - Saul blames the people for his lack of courage of conviction

15:17 - Samuel acknowledges that one of the problems is that Saul suffers from inferiority and insecurity, “though you are little in your own eyes...” but he is still responsible: “were you not head of the tribes of Israel?”

15:20-21 - Saul again blames his followers for his fear and disobedience

15:24 - Saul acknowledges the root of his sin was the fear of the people and that he obeyed their voice, not God's voice.

15:26-28 - Samuel declares that on that day, Saul has lost his kingdom, and God is now judging him for his sin.

15:33 - Samuel slays the king that Saul was to have killed

15:34-35 - Samuel never saw Saul again to the day of his death.

15:35 - The Lord was sorry that he made Saul king.

With sadness, I can clearly remember when the Lord removed me from leadership. I was a young man, barely 29 years old, when God spoke to me in a time of turmoil and division in our community, and said because of my impatience and harshness toward people, he was removing me from leadership. My period of service to the Lord was ended, there and then.
For three hours I wept before the Lord, knowing my heart was more like Saul's than like God's heart. I felt God's displeasure, that he was sorry he had made me a leader over the people I was serving. I was impulsive, defensive, angry, and demanding of people. God was displeased with me. With this revelation, I repented deeply, I asked God to forgive me, and while I was in that place of brokenness, after three hours of repenting, the Lord said to quietly to me, "Now, I will restore you". It was a turning point for me. I experienced the sober reality that God is serious about obedience and about serving His people with the right heart.