Here’s the unexpected twist. Saul decrees that his entire army is to fast until victory over the Philistines is complete. Everyone except Saul’s son, Jonathan, knows about this. Empty stomachs and the physical labour of battle don’t mix well. By evening the men are weak and tired.
Ironically the army comes across food in the forest, but refuses to touch it because of Saul’s order. Jonathan, not knowing any better, eats his fill and is refreshed.
Later that evening Saul wants to continue to chase the Philistines, but the priest intervenes telling Saul to ask God what to do next. Saul agrees, but no answer comes from God. Saul suspects sin in the army is the reason God isn’t answering.
He gathers all his army leaders and demands to know what’s happened.
“Then Saul said to the leaders, ‘Something’s wrong! I want all my army commanders to come here. We must find out what sin was committed today. I vow by the name of the Lord who rescued Israel that the sinner will surely die, even if it is my own son Jonathan!’ But no one would tell him what the trouble was.” 1 Samuel 14:38-40
Isn’t it interesting...not one of Saul’s leaders has the courage to speak up and tell him the guilty party is his own son?
I suspect no one speaks up because someone had the misfortune of speaking truth to Saul before and it didn’t go well. Perhaps Saul subscribes to the “shoot the messenger” theory…literally.
Saul doesn’t strike me as the type of guy who’s open to suggestions from the people, but as a leader it’s important to maintain an open dialogue with your staff. Team members should feel comfortable making suggestions that will improve the work place.
Saul’s Leadership Lesson #4
Stay humble and open enough that your leadership team and staff are comfortable bringing ideas to you. Keep an open dialogue between you and your staff.