Stepping Outside Your Assignment
Pastor Priji shares 4 key leadership lessons from the story in 1 Samuel 13. It is necessary for us to remain aligned to our assignment to be successful in God’s eyes!
When God created us, He created us with an assignment, with a purpose, and one of the primary purposes why He created us is for us to have dominion, leadership and to enjoy everything God has given us and in parallel to pass it on to somebody else. The Bible classifies leaders generally into 2 broad categories, the ones that please God and the ones that failed God’s purpose in their lives. Even King David was a man who really pleased God and loved God, yet with all of his greatness he was weak in several areas. The ones that walked with God weren’t perfect but have equally as much troubles as others but there were some things that set them apart from the ones that failed God.
So, what are those things in our lives that puts us in these categories ?
Ask yourselves, ‘Do I have the same things? Do I struggle with the same things and problems? What’s my behavior, what manner is it in ?‘
If we study the life of King Saul, we understand this man was divinely chosen by God, and there was no mistake in this selection. This was not God’s first choice. God’s plan was for Israel to respect and receive God as their king but Israel decided they want a physical human king they can have and rule over them, so God gave them what they wanted. God used prophet Samuel to select Saul as the first king of Israel.
Once he became king, he started winning wars for Israel, bringing nations together, and doing what God wanted him to do. He was submissive to prophet Samuel, as a spiritual father to him.
At one time they heard king Saul prophesying. They asked ‘who is the father of this man?‘. They were talking about spiritual father. At this point he was demonstrating an anointing and characteristic he did not inherit from his physical father but his spiritual father.
Here are four mistakes that King Saul made and failed as a leader.
1. Rebelling Against Authority
In the first phase of his life when he began ruling over Israel, he was submissive to his leader, but at a later stage in 1 Samuel 13:8 it says – “then Saul waited there 7 days for Samuel.”
Saul waited on Samuel. But for some reason Samuel got delayed. Was that a mistake or is it God testing Saul’s heart? It could absolutely be God testing. When things don’t pan out, God wants to see if we are respecting and honoring the principle and people in our lives.
When Samuel still didn’t come, Saul took things into his own hands.
The first thing we need to see is that there was an instruction given to Saul by Samuel, saying Go there and wait for Samuel.
Saul’s duty was to continue to wait and remain obedient even though the father didn’t keep his end of the bargain, it was the son’s job to keep his end of the bargain and obey.
The first mistake Saul made as a leader was to rebel against authority.
Rebelling against authority in this day and age is looked at as normal, looking at authorities and ourselves as equal, saying God loves us all equally. But that’s not how God looks at it. In the New Testament and Old, there is an emphasis on obedience of submission to parents. Whether physical parents or spiritual, elders, leaders, even our bosses at work. There is an expectation God has placed over our lives that we would obey the authority He has placed over us.
First key to be a successful leader is to remain submissive to your spiritual authority. This also applies to your job, work or home, where if you are a woman then you have a man who is placed in relational authority and if you’re a son or daughter then you have your father and mother placed over you.
The one area where it affects the most is between our body, soul and spirit. The most important thing is our spirit. That is why our spiritual father needs to be of high prominence compared to your obedience to any other authorities over your life. Because when we obey our physical parents, we are obeying things pertaining to our physical life and we will inherit physical blessings. Likewise, spiritual blessings for obeying spiritual parents, blessings that will equip us to do the plans that God has set for us.
Even when things aren’t panning out the way we expected it to be or even when it’s a mistake from the person who gave us the instruction, we need to make sure not to rebel against authority.
2. Not Owning Up for Your Actions
The second mistake Saul made was that when Samuel eventually did come, he confronted Saul about his mistake of disobedience but Saul didn’t take responsibility for his mistake. It’s one thing to rebel against authority but it’s another thing is to justify your mistake instead of being vulnerable and accepting your mistake.
The Bible says Saul put the blame back on Samuel, in verse 11. Saul said ‘I saw my men scattering from me and you didn’t arrive when you said you would. Then I had these Philistines who were already willing to get into battle with me. My enemies were fighting me and my friends were leaving me and you didn’t keep your end of the bargain‘. So Saul gave three reasons for disobeying Samuel and in none of the three reasons included his stubbornness. At no point did he take responsibility for his failure or ownership of his disobedience. That is a big problem.
Saul was placed in a place of leadership over Israel and has the authority to remain obedient. Don’t ever give the reason that somebody else pushed you into being in the wrong place. Any time that we put the blame on our parents or friends or situations for being the ones to pressure us into doing the wrong things means we are not willing to take responsibility for our own actions.
So if you are currently living in disobedience to God, spiritual authority or any particular source, go and open it up to them in particular, and take responsibility for it rather than blaming it on somebody else.
If Adam and Eve, rather than blaming eachother but had taken responsibility for what had happened and went to God saying ‘please forgive us and give us another chance to do things the right way you wanted‘. God would have surely given them another shot at doing things the right way. But instead of doing that what they did was they justified themselves and put the blame on somebody else. That’s exactly what king Saul did and that categorizes king Saul as a leader that failed in his purpose.
If a leader is ashamed of owning up to his mistakes then that’s a terrible leader. A true godly leader is never ashamed to accept his failure.
3. Getting Swayed by People’s Opinions
The third mistake Saul did was that he was swayed by people’s opinions.
We make the worst kinds of mistakes because of what people say and think about us. In this particular story we see that Saul was looking at all his men and they were all rapidly slipping away back to their homes. Saul had gathered them with a momentum, but when he saw his troops slipping away, he thought to take things into his own hands and do something about it. That is because Saul thought his victory comes from the help of his troops. He forget that Gideon needed only 300 men to win a war against the Midianites. He forgot that God doesn’t need the help of people to bless or deliver victory.
In our pursuit to be godly we need to have a little bit more understanding in these areas and not be swayed by people.
Infact, what King Saul should have done was say ‘my loyalty is not towards people but first towards God and second to prophet Samuel who gave me the instructions.‘
King Saul was not supposed to be loyal to his people but rather his people were supposed to be loyal to their king.
A pastor’s calling in life is to obey God’s voice and their spiritual authority placed over them but anytime it is turned around saying ‘this person wants me to do this and that person wants me to do that‘ then that would just sway into pleasing people and becoming people pleasers. That is where it becomes a big shift from what God wants.
4. Stepping Outside Your Assignment
The fourth mistake which I think is the biggest mistake Saul did was that he demanded to bring the burned offerings and peace offerings which he sacrificed himself.
This is where he lost the whole battle. At this point not only did he fail to obey his prophet, not only did he fail to take responsibility for his actions, get swayed by people’s opinions but at this point he stepped outside his assignment and took over the assignment of his spiritual father who was placed above him. That is a big NO-NO in the kingdom of God.
If your pastor or leaders are not doing something, don’t step in for them but rather pray to God saying there is a need in your church in certain areas.
Whenever we step outside the assignment on our lives, we have failed. Everything else God can redeem us from – disobedience, irresponsibility, reliance on others etc. but when we step outside our assignment, there is no redeeming from that.
Jesus said it like this ‘I don’t do anything I don’t see my Father do, I only do the works I see my Father doing and when I see my Father doing something, I am intentional in doing the same thing‘.
Jesus lived His entire live intentional in fulfilling the assignment that was on His life. He said several times that He was not sent to the whole world but to the lost tribes of Israel. The 12 disciples can go to all nations and make disciples but Jesus’ assignment was to be in Israel and cater to the lost tribes.
The success of a leader is to know and understand what is your God given assignment and to stick to your assignment. When we lose focus of our assignment and where God has placed us, it will be a downward fall for us from there. We won’t be able to grow if so. Bible says ‘not everybody who calls me Lord, Lord, but those who do the will of God will enter into the kingdom of God.’
When we step out of grace then we have no anointing to do his will and that is when we make the wrong choices and mistakes.
David realized this fact very well, that king Saul was placed as the king of the nation so he was not going to be the one to kill king Saul. Even if king Saul was doing a miserable job, David knew it was not his job to speak anything against Saul, or hurt him, or bring him down.
This is the reason God was in love with the heart David carried, knowing that he was a man God can entrust with a nation and won’t step outside his calling.
So let us pray daily for our assignment, specific assignments for the week, for the family, for the church, for the city and nation, for every season of life and year. And for the grace to stick to the given assignments and not to do more or less than what has been assigned by God.
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