“When they said, ‘Give us a king to judge us,’ Samuel considered
their demand wrong, so he prayed to the LORD. But the LORD
told him, ‘Listen to the people and everything they say to you.
They have not rejected you; they have rejected me as their king’.
. . Samuel told all the LORD’s words to the people
who were asking him for a king.” 1 Samuel 8:6-7,10
Being a good leader requires many things. It means listening
to gather information, even when the information you gather is
not good. It means asking questions for clarity. Being a good
leader means listening to dissenting voices and giving them a
seat at the table. It means seeking wisdom from above. Good
leaders must make hard decisions. Sometimes these decisions
mean telling people what they need to hear, even if it’s not what
they want to hear. Samuel did all of these.
The people demanded a king. Samuel knows this is not what
is right or best for the people, but still he listens. He invites
their input. He takes that input and gives it to the Lord. He was
a God-fearing man. The Lord tells Samuel to listen to them. I
imagine this was no easy task. But it’s necessary for the leaders
to be willing to listen to opposition voices.
But perhaps one of the hardest things to do as a leader is to tell
people what they need to hear but don’t want to hear. I Samuel 8
is not the first instance where Samuel did this. At the beginning
of Samuel’s ministry, he brought hard news to Eli, the priest. His
sons would die, and the prophetic ministry would be taken from
him. And now Samuel must again deliver bad news. It’s not the
news the people want to hear but it is the news the people need
to hear even though they reject it. They will receive a king, but it
will not turn out the way they expected.
Father, we ask for leaders of strong character who are willing
to listen to others and most importantly listen to the Lord. We
ask for leaders who are trustworthy and capable to make tough
decisions even in the face of opposition. Wise discernment tells
us that our nation needs a shepherd who will do what is best for
the people they represent and the nation. In Jesus’ name, Amen.