“We want a human being to lead us in battle, not a God whom we cannot see.” This was basically Israel’s request to one of the judges of their time whose name was Samuel. In humility God submitted to Israel’s wishes and appointed a leader that stood out to human eyes. Saul was a handsome fellow and stood taller than the rest of his people. One might say that mere cosmetics don’t qualify him to be a good leader. How does handsomeness help in battle? Well, maybe that’s God’s subtle point. When choosing a leader it’s not all about looks. It’s about the leader’s heart. Reading up on Israel’s history with its first king we see that Saul’s leadership went awfully wrong. However, Saul’s successor was a man after God’s own heart. King David, as flawed as he was, had a heart devoted to God and thus became the prototype of successful human leadership.
To this day people have a tendency to idolize human leadership. People love to see what they worship. God’s reaction to this request is quite interesting in that He lets us have it. If the same had happened on a human level – replacing one leader with a different one – the rejected leader would have been highly offended. God, however, is not offended. Our rejection hurts Him, He grieves over it, but He is not sulking and playing power poker like His human counterparts do. While God is rightfully our King He is by no means an abusive leader. Like a shepherd He gently guides us. And if we reject Him, He steps aside and lets us experience ungodly leadership so we can notice the difference and appreciate Him all the more.
Ultimately, with Jesus, God gave us the “Word made flesh”, God materialized into a human being, and thereby He answered Israel’s initial request to give us somebody we can touch and see to lead us in life’s battles. Born into King David’s ancestry line Jesus, the Son of God, became human. Through Jesus we know that God wants to reveal Himself to us. God wants to be seen, He wants to be recognized. The question is, do we notice?