Explore the Bible Study: Choosing Leaders Wisely

10:30 AM

When it comes to choosing leaders, let's face it; God is much better than we are! We have limited knowledge of a leader, but God sees the heart. This week's Explore the Bible Study: Choosing Leaders Wisely, provides one of the most fascinating examples of the Lord’s inclination to choose “the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are” (1 Cor 1:28). When our study concludes, we will experience God leading Samuel to anoint a rural shepherd boy, the youngest boy in his family, as the next king of Israel. Let's see if we can learn something that will help us choose future leaders. Check out these suggestions for guiding your discussion:

TARGET: The point of the text.
We should seek God's direction when choosing leaders.

LOOK UP: Getting focused on the text.
  • Display (Have the following characteristics displayed as the group enters): Height; Attractive Physical Appearance; Eloquent Speaker; Charismatic Leadership; Intellectual; Successful Career; Motivational Leader; Good Decision Maker; Integrity; Strong Moral Character
  • Discuss (Once group arrives): Which of these characteristics are most important when choosing a leader? Which are least important? How many focus on the external? What internal characteristics should be included? Does the position determine the characteristics that should be included? Which of these will people overlook in order to get the leader they like?
LOOK IN: Unpacking the text.

1 Samuel 16:1-5
  • Did God ask Samuel to select a king? (No, God had already selected the king.)
  • Since God had already selected a king, why was it important for Samuel to go? (God was going to teach Samuel something about the kind of leader that should be selected.)
  • Why was Samuel afraid of Saul? (Think back on what Samuel has told Saul previously – 1 Samuel 15:26-29.)
  • Would you consider God’s directions to take a cow to sacrifice an act of deception or protection for Samuel? Why or why not? 
1 Samuel 16:6-13
  • How many sons did Samuel examine?
  • What were the lessons God was teaching Samuel by rejecting Eliab? (Note: Later it is revealed that Eliab did not have a particularly strong character. He proved himself to be petty and jealous when David showed up at the battle – 1 Samuel 17:28)
  • What dangers lie in assuming that certain individuals are suited for leadership based on appearance or a generalization? (PSG, p. 75)
  • Why didn’t God just tell Samuel to anoint David?
  • Based upon verses 7 and 12, did God say that the visible is meaningless? (No, but it should not be the primary criteria for selecting leaders.)
  • Identify: Based on verses 11-13 what do we know about David? (Youngest son; shepherd; beautiful eyes; healthy, handsome appearance) Is there enough in this passage to indicate to you that David should be anointed king? (No)
  • Explain: Remember, God said earlier, “man does not see what the Lord sees . . . the Lord sees the heart.” God knew David’s heart – See Acts 13:22.
  • Based upon this passage, what is the Holy Spirit's role in developing strong leaders?
LOOK OUT: Responding to the text.

Read & Discuss the Following: Exodus 18:21; Titus 1:7-9 
  • Situation #1 – A church is considering two men for the job of pastor. Each comes with good recommendations and with support from the search committee. They both preach to the congregation, and both have good content and good delivery. One is tall, athletic looking, and strikingly handsome, but the other is physically unimpressive. Which one is likely to get the call? How might someone justify voting for the more handsome candidate based on the passage we studied and the Exodus and Titus passages what additional criteria should be considered?
  • Situation #2 – This presidential election there will most likely be two main presidential candidates from which to choose. Can we apply anything we learned today to this election? Since this position is a civic position and not a pastor position, would Exodus 18:21 be a better passage from which to draw our criteria? Does God already know who will be selected? (Yes) What is God trying to teach His church through this presidential election cycle?
Challenge: We all need to be praying for wisdom as we consider this year's presidential primary. We should pray about our choice when voting. But we should always remember that our leader, as Christians, is Jesus Christ, and He is in control regardless of the outcome!

Personal Reflection: Consider if you spend more time focusing on your external characteristics instead of focusing on your heart. Take some time this week and consider if your heart qualities are what they need to be. Focus on developing your heart for God instead of focusing on your external qualities. Consider if the Holy Spirit is controlling your life or if you are trying to lead without His power.

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