4th September 2023
Read - 1 Samuel 12:1-5
Message Alan Burke
There is lots today written about what makes a good leaders, accountability, active listening, courage, communication, patients, integrity are but a few of the traits that I can see are key, others like being a visionary, adaptable, being a trend setter may sound great in the world of business but when it comes to the church they should be relegated to the sidelines. Today we come to a man who wasn’t a good leader, he was a great leader here in his farewell speech to the people we can see how he was a man who was accountable not to man but to God, he had listened but only acted when it was the will of God, he was courageous enough to say no, he communicated to them, he was patent and he was a man not only publicly but privately of integrity. That being said in this chapter he wants the people to focus not on him, or the one who follows him, instead he wants the people to look to the Lord. That is what every good leader should be doing, directing us to the Lord rather than themselves for we are but a breath, a fleeting shadow (Ps 144:4) but the Lord reigns forever.
Let’s look at these opening five verses of 1 Samuel 12 today as we think of Samuel and his time as leader over the people of God as he passes the baton over to Saul who is now the peoples king. Firstly Samuel draws their attention to how he had been their leader from his youth. Note the word that is translated as leader is literally the word ‘walk’ in Hebrews, so what Samuel is saying to them is I have walked before you, I have lead you, cared for you, devoted my life to you and now I am old and grey. Not only had he walked he had listened. Now there is something that we should note, Samuel listed to everything they said which is true but he did not give them every whim of their heart. He only responded to them as the Lord allowed, his task was to obey God not obey them as any leader who is apportioned by God. A Leader’s Integrity is vital to the health of the people of God, and although Samuel listen to the people, he was ultimately obeying God first before the people. If the Lord had said no then Samuel would have also acted with integrity in not listening to the people. He had not turned a blind eye to things that they had done in order to gain an easy life for himself, nor had he lead them for his own personal gain, Samuel was the kind of leader that we all long for, whether that is in the workplace, the political sphere or among the people of God. In all of this Samuel was not saying to the people, “look how great I am” but he was impressing the gravity of this transition, from judges to monarchy. The integrity of Samuel had been such that the people could not make any claim against him, against how he as acted on the LORD’s behalf or against his personal character.
You may have heard the phrase “absolute power corrupts absolutely" but this was not true of Samuel. His character and his conduct were crucial to his office as a man of God, the people testified to the truth of Samuel’s integrity. So here is a question for you to consider; if we were to ask those around us to give us their honest opinion about our character, how would they respond, would their comments be positive and encouraging? Or would their opinion be anything but? Would we be willing to stand like Samuel and risk the accusations come, the character faults be listed, the sins that everyone knows about but we are blind to? We are to be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God (Eph 5:1) We are to be imitators, imitate God’s holiness in all of our conduct. We are to be people who imitate our saviour and who are of integrity.
Q35 What is sanctification?
Sanctification is the work of God’ s free grace, (2 Thess. 2:13) whereby we are renewed in the whole man after the image of God, (Eph. 4:23–24) and are enabled more and more to die unto sin, and live unto righteousness. (Rom. 6:4,6, Rom. 8:1)