By Allen Domelle, Old Paths Journal
1 Samuel 13:8-9
“And he tarried seven days, according to the set time that Samuel had appointed: but Samuel came not to Gilgal; and the people were scattered from him. And Saul said, Bring hither a burnt offering to me, and peace offerings. And he offered the burnt offering.”
Before Saul was anointed to be king, he was known by God as “a choice young man, and a goodly.” God said that “there was not among the children of Israel a goodlier person” than Saul. This is quite the statement for God to say about an individual. However, in the verse above, we see that Saul presumptuously intruded into the duties of the priest when Samuel was late to his appointment. Saul was afraid that the people would leave him if he didn’t do something quickly as the enemy’s army gathered around them. This fine young man had now become a demanding man who thought he could do whatever he wanted without any retribution from God. However, Saul found out that God was not happy with his actions, and those actions caused his family to lose the kingdom.
What happened to this “goodly” young man? What was it that caused such a good young man to become a man who thought he could do anything that he wanted? The thing that happened to Saul was that he gained power. Power is the greatest revealer of a person’s character. When you think that nobody can tell you what to do is when your character is truly revealed. Your character is not revealed by who you are when people are telling you what to do, but it is revealed when nobody can do anything to you because of your position. Several lessons can be learned from the great revealer.
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First, right and wrong do not change because you have acquired position. The things that were right before you gained position are still right after you hold a position. The things that were wrong before you had the power to do what you want are still wrong after you have gained position. Just because no person underneath you can do anything to you doesn’t mean that you can do anything you want to do. Position is not a right to do what you want to do, but it’s a responsibility to carry out what is the right thing to do.
Second, position is a great opportunity to carry out what is right to a greater degree than you did before you had position. Whatever you did to gain the attention of God and those who promoted you before you gained position should be continued after you have gained power. The reason God allowed you to gain position in the first place is because he wanted you to use that power to do the right you used to do in a greater fashion. Power from position should be used to help organize others to help you to do more right for God.
Third, power and position are not a license to do what you want to do. You may think that you can do whatever you want, but God is always greater than you and will hold you accountable to the power He has given you. God does not take it lightly for those in position to abuse their power by doing wrong or hurting those they lead. Though you may be able to control by force those you lead, you cannot control God by your position.
My friend, your character is revealed when nobody can tell you what to do. A child’s character is revealed when they become an adult. An adult’s character is revealed when they gain position. Let this devotional be a reminder to always do right even when nobody can tell you what to do.
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