The leader we need or the leader we want

One story in Old Testament is particular. It was a time when the prophet Samuel was the judge for the nation of Israel. People came to their judge with a valid concern, they didn’t want Samuel son’s to be their judges when Samuel passes to the next life. Why? Because they were not just like their father, they were corrupted. And always people know when their leaders are corrupted. Samuel was sad, but not surprised from their accusations towards his son.

What was surprising was the next request: they wanted a king like other nations. Two different topics, but to the people’s minds looked like they were connected. But the truth it was not. It was an excuse ask directly not to be led by a prophet, who was led by God. God explained later to Samuel that in fact the people were against God, not Samuel.

People in that time were not much different that the people of our times. Both groups want flesh-oriented leaders, not spirit-led leaders.

The king would be more demanding on the taxes and other physical aspects to the nation, but will be less demanding on their spiritual disciplines. The king would have sons who could be corrupted, and the people would accept them as their princes and some as their future kings. People wanted leaders who would not disturb them with God’s ways. They wanted leaders like all the other nations. Leaders who enjoy themselves in wars and its profit, in pleasures, in wild festivals. Imagine being led by a holy prophet, who doesn’t like dirty jokes or half-naked women in the celebrities. No, people wanted Egypt. Egypt never left their hearts. Egypt called them to do what they want even as slaves to humans. Holy prophets were calling people to serve God and be free.

Samuel was the leader they needed, but not what they wanted. Samuel lived for so many years after the election of the first king Saul. People didn’t wait for Samuel to be near death to ask for a successor. They wanted a change of the system – from theocracy to kingdom.

What today we do as churches might be similar with what the people did in Samuel’s time. We want leaders who don’t preach words that are uncomfortable, because the sin within us is more attractive than the holiness offered by the Lord. We want leaders who are like us, who speak like us. Indirectly we are saying that we don’t need correction and we don;t allow anyone to correct us in our journey. We are prophets of our own life, we prophesy what looks good to us. In that way we gather people who are like us and elect or hire leaders who are like us.

God again speaks through his prophets calling his people out of Egypt and Babylon. Out of the system of this world, following people after God’s heart.

What kind of leaders are you following- likable or truthful?

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