The People Become Like the Leader: A lesson from David and Saul

Saul and David were the first and second kings of Israel respectively and they both had personalities that rubbed off on the people that they led. The stories of these two men, who possessed very different personalities, help to portray the truth that, the people ultimately become like their leader, and this is whether they know it or not. A look at the lives of these two men reveals they had opposite personalities. Saul was a man full of uncertainty and fear and David was a confident and fearless man. This truth was exposed on the day that David fought against Goliath. Saul was the leader of the armies of Israel and should have given his men the courage required to go against the giant but because he was fearful, the entire camp trembled in fear until David showed up and killed the giant. The interesting thing is the way David went about killing the giant; the Bible records that he ran to meet Goliath. While Saul and the entire army ran away from Goliath, David ran to meet him. This incidence clearly shows that one man was fearful and the other fearless; their dispositions ultimately affected the people they led.
One instance that shows how Saul’s fear was passed on to his men is at Gilgal, where he prepared to fight against the Philistines. The Bible records that, all the people followed him trembling. It is not surprising that they followed him trembling, he was a fearful leader and must have been trembling himself; perhaps not outwardly but interestingly even if inwardly it can be sensed and passed on to those who follow.
Another instance is when Goliath boasted before the armies of Israel; the Bible records that when Saul and all Israel heard the words of the Philistine, they were dismayed and greatly afraid.”
Finally, prior to his last battle, in which he was killed, Saul consulted with a medium to bring Samuel up because he wanted to enquire how the battle would go. Samuel told him without mincing words that he and his sons would be killed in the battle and the Bible records that immediately, Saul fell full length on the ground and was dreadfully afraid because of the words of Samuel. It is little wonder he died in the battle and it is little wonder after he died his men could not carry on fighting rather they took to their heels and fled. He was without doubt a fearful leader and gave birth to men who were equally fearful.
David on the other hand was a mighty man of valour and knew no fear; while he kept his father’s sheep, a lion came and took one of the sheep to kill it; but David ran after the lion, delivered the sheep from its mouth and killed it. The bear came and the same thing happened, therefore, when he saw Goliath intimidating God’s sheep (the armies of Israel) he was not afraid; he simply went out against the giant the same way he had gone out against the lion and bear and slayed him.
David was bold and fearless, so his men were also bold and fearless. When you read the accounts of these men it is amazing the boldness they had; once David was fighting against the Philistines and the garrison of the Philistines at that time was in Bethlehem and David thirsted and longed for a drink from the well of Bethlehem; as soon as he voiced it, three of his men broke through the camp of the Philistines, drew water from the well and brought it to him. Can you imagine going into the enemy’s camp? It takes a very high level of boldness and courage to do that, it is not a feat for the lily livered but this is not surprising; after all they were becoming like David, their leader. Then there was Abishai one of the mighty men who lifted up his spear against three hundred men and killed them; one man killed three hundred men. Indeed, it is a feat that can only be accomplished by the fearless. Then Benaiah (also one of the mighty men) killed two lion-like men of Moab, he also killed a lion. Surprised? No reason to be; David who led them had killed a lion as a young lad so his men must have realised there was really nothing to killing a lion. These are by no means the only accomplishments of David’s mighty men but they do help to buttress the fact that these men were as fearless as their leader, David.
Saul was fearful and so those who followed him became fearful; David was fearless and those he led became fearless. Like it or not, the people ultimately become like their leader.
Eturuvie Erebor
Taking-the-Lead Seminars.

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