Several years ago, I attended eight revival services where thousands of people, including pastors and leaders, gathered to receive a fresh touch of fire upon their lives and ministries. One night as I was observing hundreds of church leaders responding to an altar call, I suddenly had an open vision and heard the audible voice of God. In the vision, I was shown a large mountain where thousands of pastors and leaders were falling on their own swords. It was a horrifying scene to be sure. The next thing that I saw was a young man in a cave, crying out and weeping before the Lord. Then I heard the Father speak this phrase to me that I have never seen or heard before:
“I do not hear the cries that come from Mt. Gilboa, but I do hear the cries that come from Engedi.”
As these words from the Father began to sink into the depths of my heart, I began to weep and wail. I knew that the Father was showing me where many church leaders are headed- for Mt. Gilboa- where King Saul fell upon his own sword. Yet, I was also filled with hope, realizing that the cries from Engedi, the very place where young David humbled Himself and refused to be promoted unless it be from the hand of the Father, would be heard. It’s time for intercessors and saints to hold up church leaders like never before and search within our own hearts to see what God might be exposing in this hour!
7 Signs that Church Leaders are Headed for Mt. Gilboa
Out of this encounter with the Lord, He revealed to me that there are seven specific signs that mark the life and ministry of a church leader who is headed for Mount Gilboa. They are as follows:
- Insensitivity of Heart (1 Samuel 13:5-14)
30,000 chariots, 6,000 horsemen, and Philistines that outnumbered the sand on the seashore camped at Michmash against King Saul and the people of Israel. Samuel the prophet had mandated that Israel wait 7 days until his arrival to offer sacrifices to the Lord before the day of battle. After 7 days passed and Samuel did not arrive as scheduled, King Saul took matters into his own hands, forcing himself to offer the sacrifices, which was a violation of the law. Upon Samuel’s late arrival he said to Saul, “You have acted foolishly, you have not kept the commandments of the Lord your God, which He commanded you, for now the Lord would have established your kingdom over Israel forever. But now your kingdom shall not endure. The Lord has sought out for Himself a man after His own heart, and the Lord has appointed him as ruler over His people, because you have not kept what the Lord commanded you.”
Church leaders headed for Mt. Gilboa mistake the silence, and often time vagueness of God, as a sign to take matters into their own hands, rather than an opportunity to wait and become sensitive to the Spirit of God. It was the insensitivity of the heart of Saul to the Spirit of God that cost him his kingship. God was looking for a man that would wait upon him, that would desire one thing and one thing alone, “to gaze at His beauty and inquire of Him in the temple” (Psalm 27:4) The Father is looking for five-fold ministry leaders who wait for His leading, and will desire ministries that are born of the Spirit, not man-made religious structures that were created from the flesh.
- Failing to equip others for the days ahead (1 Samuel 13:22)
“So it came about on the day of battle that neither sword nor spear was found in the hands of any of the people who were with Saul and Jonathan.” The mark of a mature church leader is not how many people that they can control, but how many people they can release into ministry.
Church leaders that are headed for Mt. Gilboa build one-man ministries. They see ministry as a means to build up their reputation and status, rather than equipping others for the work of the ministry. Church leaders headed for Mt. Gilboa want to keep the flock spiritually stupid and dependent upon their leadership. They are quick to silence other voices that might influence people and typically smother any move of the Spirit that they themselves did not start.
- Building Monuments to Themselves (1 Samuel 15:12)
“And Samuel rose early in the morning to meet Saul; and it was told to Samuel, saying, ‘Saul came to Carmel, and behold, he set up a monument for himself, then turned and proceeded on down to Gilgal.”
Church leaders that are headed for Mt. Gilboa build monuments to themselves, rather than monuments to God who enabled them to walk victoriously. These leaders obtain all their rewards upon the earth and will have little, if any, eternal rewards in heaven . These men and women are numbers driven and see salvations and experiences with God as notches on their belts to puff themselves up. They typically answer the question, “How is your ministry doing?” with the response, “We have ______ amount of people attending our services.” King Saul saw assignments from the Lord as nothing more than opportunities to make himself look good among the people. He was full of pride and arrogance, and masked it behind being obedient to the Lord.
- The Need to be Politically Correct (1 Samuel 15:24)
“Then Saul said to Samuel, ‘I have sinned; I have indeed transgressed the command of the Lord and your words, because I FEARED THE PEOPLE AND LISTENED TO THEIR VOICE.”
King Saul was given specific instructions to slaughter the Amalekites, and all they possessed, for what they did to Israel coming out of Egypt. Saul defeated the army, yet spared their King Agag and the choicest of the spoil. King Saul was so blind to his own disobedience that he was at first surprised at Samuel’s anger toward his disobedience to the instruction of the Lord. As Samuel delivers a word of judgment to Saul, he finally reveals why he chose to sin; he feared the people and listened to their voice.
Church leaders that are headed for Mt. Gilboa feel that they must be politically correct in any and all situations. Their desire to please the people around them overshadows their need to listen and obey the voice of the Lord. These leaders oftentimes believe that they are walking in the will of the Lord, just as Saul did, because they have been given over to compromise and deception. They are unwilling to slaughter the “Agag’s” in the land. These leaders have settled for partial obedience, but do not understand that partial obedience is no obedience at all.
- Walking in False Humility ( 1 Samuel 15:30)
“Then Saul said, ‘I have sinned; but please honor me now before the elders of my people and before Israel, and go back with me, that I may worship the Lord your God.”
Even in King Saul’s confession of his sin and arrogance, he was so full of pride that he sought to be honored amongst the people. Church leaders that are headed for Mt. Gilboa never truly repent of their sins, nor do they make it a public matter. They are full of excuses and are unwilling to submit to the process of restoration, no matter how many years that might take. The high cost of pride is the forfeit of wisdom. Those that walk in false humility will fail time and time again, until their desire to be honored, even in their failures, is uprooted and removed from their lives.
- The Need to Have a Hand in Everything ( 1 Samuel 17:38)
“Then Saul clothed David with his garments and put a bronze helmet on his head, and he clothed him with his armor.”
Young David was the only man in Israel who did not fear Goliath on the day of battle. He took the giant of a man down with one stone and eventually cut his head off, yet King Saul still had a need to have his hand in the battle. By Saul attempting to clothe David in his armor, this was not an act of compassion or concern, this was an attempt to take credit for David’s protection on the day of battle. David was wise to throw off the armor and go with what he knew would work; the leading of the Lord.
Church leaders that are headed for Mt. Gilboa simply feel the need to have a hand in every single expression of church and ministry. They demand to know every detail and expect every person to report to them at all times. Their desire to control and manipulate is stifling and exhausting to those around them. These leaders refuse to release people on the day of battle. They must have a hand in other people’s successes and victories.
7.Insecurity and Unknown Identity that Fuels Jealousy (1 Samuel 18:8-9)
“Then Saul became very angry, for this saying displeased him; and he said, ‘They have ascribed to David ten thousands, but to me they have ascribed thousands. Now what more can he have but the kingdom. And Saul looked at David with suspicion from that day on.”
Church leaders that are headed for Mt. Gilboa look at the successes of those that they are serving as a threat to their leadership. While they voice approval and affirmation to those around them, inwardly they are filled with jealousy. Insecurity and unknown identity are the fuel for why church leaders headed for Mt. Gilboa do not trust others with responsibility and have the need to take credit for the victories of others.
Can you imagine if young David would have defeated Goliath wearing Saul’s armor. As they cheered for David in the streets, Saul would have shouted, “Yes, but he was wearing MY armor!” King Saul was so jealous of the anointing that David walked in that he would spend the rest of his Kingship pursuing David and trying to kill him, rather than pursuing the real enemies of Israel. Church leaders that are headed for Mt. Gilboa spend more time trying to discredit and tear down ministries and people than actually engaging the real enemy, Satan.
In a upcoming blog, we are going to look at the life of David and why God heard his cries from Engedi. In the meantime, let’s take some time today to search within our own hearts and see if there be any Saul like tendencies or ways in us. May we also take the time to pray for our church leaders and ask God to protect them from pride, a political spirit, or jealousy.
Marked for Eternity,
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