The major outcry of societies all over the world today, is the demand for effective leaders. Ranging from families to the nations. Everyone everywhere, seems to be feeling the heat of poor and ineffective leadership. At some point in the history of Israel as a nation, they lodged great complains to God for a new leader: for they felt a great need for a change of governance. But because of the manner of leader they demanded; God and Samuel were displeased, but nonetheless, their request was granted – Saul (an example of a babe-leader)!
Now it came to pass when Samuel was old that he made his sons judges over Israel. The name of his firstborn was Joel, and the name of his second, Abijah; they were judges in Beersheba. But his sons did not walk in his ways; they turned aside after dishonest gain, took bribes, and perverted justice.Then all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah, and said to him, "Look, you are old, and your sons do not walk in you rways.
Now make us a king to judge us like all the nations."But the thing displeased Samuel when they said, "Give us a king to judge us."So Samuel prayed to the LORD. And the LORD said to Samuel, "Heed the voice of the people in all that they say to you; for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me, that I should not reign over them. According to all the works which they have done since the day that I brought them up out of Egypt, even to this day — with which they have forsaken Me and served other gods — so they are doing to you also. Now therefore, heed their voice.
However, you shall solemnly forewarn them, and show them the behavior of the king who will reign over them."So Samuel told all the words of the LORD to the people who asked him for a king. And he said, “This will be the behavior of the king who will reign over you:He will take your sons and appoint them for his own chariots and to be his horsemen, and some will run before his chariots. He will appoint captains over his thousands and captains over his fifties, will set some to plow his ground and reap his harvest, and some to make his weapons of war and equipment for his chariots. He will take your daughters to be perfumers, cooks, and bakers.
And he will take the best of your fields, your vineyards, and your olive groves, and give them to his servants. He will take a tenth of your grain and your vintage,and give it to his officers and servants. And he will take your male servants,your female servants, your finest young men,* and your donkeys, and put them to his work. He will take a tenth of your sheep. And you will be his servants.And you will cry out in that day because of your king whom you have chosen for yourselves, and the LORD will not hear you in that day."Nevertheless the people refused to obey the voice of Samuel; and they said,"No, but we will have a king over us, that we also may be like all the nations,and that our king may judge us and go out before us and fight our battles."
1 Samuel 8:1-20
The Scriptures above reveals the evils that pervaded the society, which inspired their request for a change of national leadership. The point is, their desire for a leadership change, blinded their eyes to the inherent lapses in the manner of behavior of the new leadership. Samuel told them plainly that the new leader will literally be a babe-leader; but they didn’t heed his warnings. If we take close examination of the choice of Saul as the new national leader, and his entire leadership from I Samuel 9 to II Samuel 1; then, we will know who a babe-leader really is.
It is true that the society was filled with evils, bribes, perversion of justice and chronic underdevelopment; but did we take our time as a nation to examine the manner of the new leader that shall reign over us? Are we aware that bad leadership and ineffective leadership are both counter-productive? Sometimes, due to frustration and disappointment under an evil leader; a nation oftentimes request ineffective leaders – thinking that having ineffective leadership is far better than having bad leadership. Really, both are bad and will never take any nation ou tof reproaches.
1 Samuel 17 reveals one of the consequences of ineffective leadership – defeat in battles (economic, technological, educational, social, political, etc.). Goliath consistently for 40 days challenged a whole nation, and no one (including the leader) was able to respond to his challenges. No one, until David showed up – Really, being a babe-leader is never about age; and being an effective leader is not about it either. Effective leadership is more of the heart than muscles. Leadership is really not about strength of the body; but strength of character (courage in the face of challenges, integrity and self-discipline).
Woe to you, O land (nation), when your king (leader) is a child (babe),And your princes (rulers) feast in the morning!Blessed are you, O land, when your king is the son of nobles,And your princes feast at the proper time —For strength and not for drunkenness!
National leadership is never for personal gain or selfish interest; but babes are only concerned about themselves and themselves alone! And really, whatever happens at the national, permeate deep into the local levels;and even to the family levels – You see fathers, whose primary preoccupation is to better themselves, neglecting their wives and children.
SOME ATTRIBUTES OF BABE-LEADERS
I. Babe-leaders often demonstrate great humility at the beginning of their leadership. If you take a good look at 1 Samuel 9 & 10; you will see that babe-leaders often portray a look or appearance of humility at the early phase of the leadership.However, looking closely at 1 Samuel 10:20-24, we would discover that they are not really humble, but timid – and timidity is never the same as humility. Thus, babe leaders are timid leaders.
II. Babe-leaders are people pleasers. Although this sounds somehow – perhaps you might expect a leader to be a people person. O yes! But you see, there is a big difference between being s people person, and being a people pleaser. People pleasers really do not have minds of their own. They do things as suggested by theirfear of rejection by a core group of people. They are basically followers of somepeople’s opinions, threats, etc. They would prefer to overrule the law, bylaw, policy,constitution than to disobey some selected few. Babe-leaders are not ruled by the law; butt by the opinions, threats, etc. of the political party members. And the best explanation of this, is found in 1 Samuel 13:1-14.
III. Babe-leaders make hasty laws (and decrees). 1 Samuel 14 reveals how Saul made a hasty decree, which was really counterproductive to the good and well-being of the nation (and workers). Babe-leaders are always in a hurray to prove a point!
IV. Babe-leaders are insecure leaders. 1 Samuel 18:5-9 shows us also that babe-leaders are insecure leaders, who will always hunt down any presumable threat to their leadership. Honestly, King Saul of ancient Israel is a wonderful portrait of a babe-leader. In fact,he led the nation childishly.
He never had any plan of his own; but always a victim of circumstances.
He was never really in charge of the state affairs.
He was always afraid and doubtful – of his capacity, potentials and influence.
Really, the children of Israel got what they wanted (either directly or implicitly) – a babe-leader! Leadership is a complex task and such that demands a strong heart, mind and will.Really, someone should never become a leader just because he or she did well in the last level of responsibility – for that could have been his or her peak or capacity of influence and efficiency. A good leader as we know must be a good manager; but a good manager doesn’t have to be a good leader – management is quite different from leadership. And we as a nation must learn a great deal of lesson from this. We must get to a point where we tell ourselves that, a man may be good or fair as a manager or administrator; but we need a good leader. We must note carefully that a good leader is never a product of position; thus, we must be conscious of electing to political offices, those we have found by examination and scrutiny to be effective leaders on their own. I meant that a man is never a leader by being in a position; rather, it takes true followership and influence to become a leader.
So, let us learn to examine the leadership competences of candidates – and not being preoccupied with political affiliations and loyalties. Nations never develop under babe-leaderships; but effective leaderships – thus, we must have a shift in our thinking as a nation about our choice of leaders, for us to experience real growth and development.