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Affluent Christian Investor | October 23, 2017

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Saul and Signs: Miracles No Substitute for Wisdom in Choosing Leaders

David Plays the Harp for Saul, by Rembrandt van Rijn, c. 1650 and 1670.

Last week, we began to look at the story of King Saul’s’ ascent to power as the king of Israel. In Memo 803, we found Saul hiding when Samuel and Israel were looking to appoint him the king, and I asked you to consider where you also may be hiding from God’s choice and purpose. Perhaps you are hiding with noble intent, waiting for God to confirm or re-confirm your purpose assignment. If you are waiting for a supernatural confirmation, however, it may not provide what you really need. For what you really need is probably not more confirmation, but a change of heart. Let me explain.


When you read 1 Samuel 9 and 10, I challenge you to find a leadership assignment more confirmed with signs and wonders than Saul’s. Consider these supernatural events surrounding Saul’s coronation:

  1. When Saul went looking for Samuel, Samuel was the first man he met when he entered the village.
  2. Samuel told Saul what he was looking for (his father’s lost donkeys) before Saul had a chance to inform Samuel. Samuel informed him that the donkeys had been found
  3. The Lord had already spoken to Samuel that Saul was to be the king, and then Saul appeared on the scene right after the Lord spoke.
  4. Samuel poured oil over Saul’s head, and proceeded to tell Saul a number of things that would happen to him on the way back to his father; each one of those things came to pass, just as Samuel had foretold.
  5. When Saul encountered some prophets on the way home, Saul himself began to prophesy, to the amazement of those who were acquainted with his history, which had not included that spiritual practice or tendency.
  6. Then Samuel drew lots for all Israel to see, and Saul’s tribe, clan, and family were chosen by lot, with the final lot falling to Saul; all that proved God’s choice.

As I stated, there is no more confirmed event in the Bible, yet it was all to no avail. Even with all the supernatural activity that Saul experienced and encountered, he was a massive disappointment as king, never becoming much more than what his family had always been, and that was being a family of fighters.


The reality was that Saul was fearful, falsely humble, and cowardly. All the external miracles did not touch his heart condition, and that condition eventually unraveled all that God had orchestrated to promote Saul. And the same will happen to you if you are not careful. Yes, God will confirm and work through the fleeces you put before him to show you what He wants you to do. He will send prophets who will tell you what you had for breakfast and where you live through their prophetic insight.

If you don’t change the way you think, you will carry your doubt and fear into your purpose assignment and you will continue to search for all kinds of external evidence that you are on the right track. While those externals can be helpful, they cannot take the place of God’s transforming work in your heart, and we we know from Romans 12:2 that your transformation does not occur by a supernatural work, but through the renewing of your mind. Since the business of your mind is thinking, then unless you change your thoughts, all the supernatural that you encounter will do as much good as it did for Saul — which is not much good at all.

The big difference between Saul and David was the amount of development they went through for leadership. Saul had very little but had a lot of supernatural activity; David had a lot of character training but very little supernatural confirmation. Who do you think was the better king? So what is your chosen path to accept your purpose call? Are you looking for and relying on the supernatural, or are you willing to do the work to develop your gift and call? I won’t answer for you, but I urge you to reflect on that question in the coming week and then settle in your own mind what is needed to make you a champion after God’s own heart. Have a blessed week as you consider your answer.


Originally published on the Monday Memo with John Stanko.

John Stanko was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and attended Duquesne University where he received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in economics in 1972 and 1974 respectively.

Since then, John has served as an administrator, teacher, consultant, author, and pastor in his professional career. He holds a second master’s degree in pastoral ministries, and earned his Doctor of Ministry from Reformed Presbyterian Theological Seminary in Pittsburgh in 2011.

John founded a personal and leadership development company, called PurposeQuest, in 2001 and today travels the world to speak, consult and inspire leaders and people everywhere. From 2001-2008, he spent six months a year in Africa and still enjoys visiting and working on that continent, while teaching for Geneva College’s Masters of Organizational Leadership and the Center for Urban Biblical Ministry in his hometown of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Most recently, John founded Urban Press, a publishing service designed to tell stories of the city, from the city and to the city.


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