Day 10
THE HOLY SPIRIT EMPOWERS FOR LEADERSHIP
ONE OF THE questions I will ask the Lord when we get to heaven is, “Why did You not raise up a
successor to Joshua? You made Joshua successor to Moses but provided no successor to Joshua.” It
is a mystery. Whatever the reason, Joshua was not succeeded by one man but by judges, or leaders
sometimes called deliverers, during the time between Joshua and Samuel. Four of these men have in
common that the “Spirit of the LORD came upon him” (Othniel, Judges 3:10; Gideon, Judges 6:34;
Jephthah, Judges 11:29; and Samson, Judges 14:6, 19, 15:14). We know little about Othniel, but we
know that in the case of the other three, each was characterized by a glaring weakness. Gideon was
probably the best of the lot, but his stature diminished when toward the end of his life he requested
that the people give him an earring. Gideon made the gold earrings into a gold ephod, which he
placed in Ophrah, his town. “All Israel prostituted themselves by worshiping it there, and it became a
snare to Gideon and his family” (Judg. 8:27).
John Calvin said that “in every saint there is something reprehensible.” He said this in his
commentary on Jephthah, who delivered Israel in an amazing victory over the Ammonites but would
always be known for his foolish vow. Jephthah vowed to God that if He delivered Israel in this major
battle, he would sacrifice anyone who “comes out of the door of my house” (Judg. 11:31). But who
should it be but his own daughter! (vv. 34–35). In the case of Samson, sometimes called the strongest
man who ever lived, he had a fatal weakness—a weakness for women. This weakness led to his
downfall. He fell for Delilah, but she accused him of not loving her because he would not reveal his
secret to her. He surely knew she was a bad person, but his desire for her overruled common sense.
He revealed his secret—he had never had a haircut. When he slept, she cut off his hair, and his
strength immediately left him. He became as weak as any man. The Philistines seized him, gouged out
his eyes, and bound him with shackles. But when his hair began to grow, his strength returned. He
brought down the temple, and all the people in it, getting vengeance upon them. He killed many more
when he died than while he lived (Judg. 16:30).
Leaders need more than empowerment. They need wisdom. Young Solomon had the presence of
mind to ask God for wisdom: “Give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people and to
distinguish between right and wrong” (1 Kings 3:9). Solomon’s wisdom was legendary in his own
day and ever after. The Spirit of God gave power for leadership to these judges, but that was all. Why
didn’t the Holy Spirit lead them to cleansing as well as power for leadership? You tell me. The Book
of Judges is summed up in the very last verse: “In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as he
saw fit” (Judg. 21:15); or, in other words, “Everyone did what was right in his own eyes” (ESV).
There is a melancholy debate in some circles—which is more important, character or gifting? You
would have thought that Christian leaders would have no difficulty answering a question like this, but
—believe it or not—there are a lot of them who actually say that gifting is more important than
character. In other words, if a person shows great leadership and oratory, and is able to prophesy or
do miracles, a person’s personal and private life does not matter. Really? No wonder the sexual
immorality among Christian leaders nowadays!
The Holy Spirit is able to empower, yes. And He empowers for leadership. True. But power is not
enough. We need purity too.
I fear that too many leaders want power only. Some of them have a vast following. Great charisma.
But that’s about it. I don’t mean to be unfair, but Paul did say that in the last days people would easily
be deceived. “For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit
their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching
ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth, and turn aside to myths” (2 Tim. 4:3–
4). Jesus said, “Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and
in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles? Then I will tell you plainly, ‘I never
knew you’” (Matt. 7:22–23).
Even though the Spirit of God still comes on some people—and they make a great show and wow
the people—we should never follow them as our models, much less our mentors.
These things said, it may be surprise you that Gideon, Jephthah, and Samson all earned a place in
the great faith chapter of the Bible—Hebrews 11. (See verse 32.) It goes to show that God is
merciful. He knows our frame, remembering that we are dust (Ps. 103:14).
For further study: Matthew 7:15–27; Romans 11:29; 1 Timothy 4:1–5; 2 Timothy 4:1–5
O Holy Spirit, grant me the discernment to recognize the absence of wisdom and purity
in leaders today. Let me not be among those who have itching ears and are not totally
interested in the truth. In Jesus’s name, amen.


Day 11
THE HOLY SPIRIT EMPOWERS FOR PROPHECY
OUR DEVOTIONAL TODAY is very similar to the previous one. The manner in which the Spirit of the
Lord was referred to in the Book of Judges is repeated in 1 Samuel; that is, when it comes to King
Saul.
We begin with Samuel—the first major prophet since Moses—and Israel’s request for a king.
Samuel pleaded with them not to ask for a king, but he gave into them. From that moment Samuel did
his best to find them a king. Saul, the son of Kish, from the tribe of Benjamin was chosen. Samuel
prophesied to Saul, “The Spirit of the LORD will come upon you in power, and you will prophesy . . .
and you will be changed into a different person” (1 Sam. 10:6). Shortly after that “the Spirit of God
came upon him in power,” and he began prophesying (v. 10). Some of those who knew him asked,
“What is this that has happened to the son of Kish? Is Saul among the prophets?” (v. 11).
King Saul had a brilliant beginning. He was given great authority. On one occasion “the Spirit of
God came upon him in power, and he burned with anger. He took a pair of oxen, cut them into pieces,
and sent the pieces by messengers throughout Israel, proclaiming, ‘This is what will be done to the
oxen of anyone who does not follow Saul and Samuel.’ Then the terror of the LORD fell on the people,
and they turned out as one man” (1 Sam. 11:6–7).
But in a short period of time Saul became “yesterday’s man,” as I put it in my book The Anointing:
Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow. What went wrong? In a word, he took himself too seriously. Dr.
Martyn Lloyd-Jones used to say to me, “The worst thing that can happen to a man is to succeed before
he is ready.” That was Saul. The turning point came when Saul would not wait for Samuel to offer the
burnt offerings. So Saul said, “Bring me the burnt offering and the fellowship offerings.” Saul then
offered up the burnt offering—knowingly going against Scripture that stipulates only the priest called
of God can do that. Saul did it anyway. Samuel then showed up and said to King Saul, “You acted
foolishly.” Furthermore, “Your kingdom will not endure; the LORD has sought out a man after his own
heart” (1 Sam. 13:9–14).
Things were never the same again—for Saul or for Israel. Saul was rejected by God. The people
did not know this; only Samuel knew it. In the meantime Samuel anointed young David (1 Sam. 16:13)
—the man after God’s own heart. David killed Goliath, making Saul insanely jealous. Moreover,
“Saul was afraid of David, because the LORD was with David but had left Saul” (1 Sam. 18:12).
David had to go into hiding because of Saul’s jealousy and dogged determination to kill him. Saul
was more concerned about the threat of David than he was the Philistines—the enemy of Israel. Saul
was totally committed in his mind and heart to get rid of David. No persuading would change him,
whether from his son Jonathan or daughter Michal.
And now we examine a surprising, truly extraordinary occurrence. On one of his expeditions to
find David and kill him, King Saul began to prophesy. His prophetic gift had not left him. Strange as it
may seem, “the Spirit of God came even upon him, and he walked along prophesying until he came to
Naioth. He stripped of his robes and also prophesied in Samuel’s presence. He lay that way all that
day and night. This is why people say, ‘Is Saul also among the prophets?’” (1 Sam. 19:23–24).
Think about this. Put these two things together: Saul prophesying and simultaneously planning to
kill David. However can the two coincide? However could the Spirit of God come upon a man with
such a wicked goal? If the Spirit of God fell on David when being anointed by Samuel, how could the
same Spirit of God fall on the man whose sole obsession was to kill the man after God’s own heart?
You tell me. This goes to show some of the mysteries that surround the manifestations of the Holy
Spirit. What is more, Saul prophesied in the presence of Samuel, who had just anointed David to be
king. Why didn’t Samuel say something to Saul? He apparently remained silent.
There are some things that happen in the work of the Lord you cannot figure out. The Bible itself
doesn’t try to explain some things. We are left to “work out” our salvation with fear and trembling
(Phil. 2:12). I take “work out” to mean to sort out some dilemmas as best and honestly as you know
how. God does not spoon-feed us with every detail we would gladly welcome. He apparently expects
us to grow up and come to conclusions that give us peace of mind.
There is one verse that gives me a sense of sanity on this kind of issue: “God’s gifts and his call
are irrevocable [‘without repentance,’ KJV]” (Rom. 11:29). Like it or not, God gives gifts—and lets
us keep them—regardless of our character or conduct. This is why some people think that gifting has
priority over character. I don’t agree. I do not believe it is glorifying to God to live private lives that
ignore holy living even though our gift may flourish.
What say you?
For further study: Acts 21:10–14; Philippians 2:12–16; 1 Thessalonians 4:3–7; Hebrews 12:15–17
Dear Holy Spirit, there is so much in Your word that I do not understand. Please give me
grace to leave things with You but, at the same time, walk in a manner that brings great
honor and glory to Your name. In Jesus’s name, amen.Day 11
THE HOLY SPIRIT EMPOWERS FOR PROPHECY
OUR DEVOTIONAL TODAY is very similar to the previous one. The manner in which the Spirit of the
Lord was referred to in the Book of Judges is repeated in 1 Samuel; that is, when it comes to King
Saul.
We begin with Samuel—the first major prophet since Moses—and Israel’s request for a king.
Samuel pleaded with them not to ask for a king, but he gave into them. From that moment Samuel did
his best to find them a king. Saul, the son of Kish, from the tribe of Benjamin was chosen. Samuel
prophesied to Saul, “The Spirit of the LORD will come upon you in power, and you will prophesy . . .
and you will be changed into a different person” (1 Sam. 10:6). Shortly after that “the Spirit of God
came upon him in power,” and he began prophesying (v. 10). Some of those who knew him asked,
“What is this that has happened to the son of Kish? Is Saul among the prophets?” (v. 11).
King Saul had a brilliant beginning. He was given great authority. On one occasion “the Spirit of
God came upon him in power, and he burned with anger. He took a pair of oxen, cut them into pieces,
and sent the pieces by messengers throughout Israel, proclaiming, ‘This is what will be done to the
oxen of anyone who does not follow Saul and Samuel.’ Then the terror of the LORD fell on the people,
and they turned out as one man” (1 Sam. 11:6–7).
But in a short period of time Saul became “yesterday’s man,” as I put it in my book The Anointing:
Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow. What went wrong? In a word, he took himself too seriously. Dr.
Martyn Lloyd-Jones used to say to me, “The worst thing that can happen to a man is to succeed before
he is ready.” That was Saul. The turning point came when Saul would not wait for Samuel to offer the
burnt offerings. So Saul said, “Bring me the burnt offering and the fellowship offerings.” Saul then
offered up the burnt offering—knowingly going against Scripture that stipulates only the priest called
of God can do that. Saul did it anyway. Samuel then showed up and said to King Saul, “You acted
foolishly.” Furthermore, “Your kingdom will not endure; the LORD has sought out a man after his own
heart” (1 Sam. 13:9–14).
Things were never the same again—for Saul or for Israel. Saul was rejected by God. The people
did not know this; only Samuel knew it. In the meantime Samuel anointed young David (1 Sam. 16:13)
—the man after God’s own heart. David killed Goliath, making Saul insanely jealous. Moreover,
“Saul was afraid of David, because the LORD was with David but had left Saul” (1 Sam. 18:12).
David had to go into hiding because of Saul’s jealousy and dogged determination to kill him. Saul
was more concerned about the threat of David than he was the Philistines—the enemy of Israel. Saul
was totally committed in his mind and heart to get rid of David. No persuading would change him,
whether from his son Jonathan or daughter Michal.
And now we examine a surprising, truly extraordinary occurrence. On one of his expeditions to
find David and kill him, King Saul began to prophesy. His prophetic gift had not left him. Strange as it
may seem, “the Spirit of God came even upon him, and he walked along prophesying until he came to
Naioth. He stripped of his robes and also prophesied in Samuel’s presence. He lay that way all that
day and night. This is why people say, ‘Is Saul also among the prophets?’” (1 Sam. 19:23–24).
Think about this. Put these two things together: Saul prophesying and simultaneously planning to
kill David. However can the two coincide? However could the Spirit of God come upon a man with
such a wicked goal? If the Spirit of God fell on David when being anointed by Samuel, how could the
same Spirit of God fall on the man whose sole obsession was to kill the man after God’s own heart?
You tell me. This goes to show some of the mysteries that surround the manifestations of the Holy
Spirit. What is more, Saul prophesied in the presence of Samuel, who had just anointed David to be
king. Why didn’t Samuel say something to Saul? He apparently remained silent.
There are some things that happen in the work of the Lord you cannot figure out. The Bible itself
doesn’t try to explain some things. We are left to “work out” our salvation with fear and trembling
(Phil. 2:12). I take “work out” to mean to sort out some dilemmas as best and honestly as you know
how. God does not spoon-feed us with every detail we would gladly welcome. He apparently expects
us to grow up and come to conclusions that give us peace of mind.
There is one verse that gives me a sense of sanity on this kind of issue: “God’s gifts and his call
are irrevocable [‘without repentance,’ KJV]” (Rom. 11:29). Like it or not, God gives gifts—and lets
us keep them—regardless of our character or conduct. This is why some people think that gifting has
priority over character. I don’t agree. I do not believe it is glorifying to God to live private lives that
ignore holy living even though our gift may flourish.
What say you?
For further study: Acts 21:10–14; Philippians 2:12–16; 1 Thessalonians 4:3–7; Hebrews 12:15–17
Dear Holy Spirit, there is so much in Your word that I do not understand. Please give me
grace to leave things with You but, at the same time, walk in a manner that brings great
honor and glory to Your name. In Jesus’s name, amen.


Day 12
THE HOLY SPIRIT PREPARES US FOR SERVICE
WHEN SAMUEL POURED oil upon young David, anointing him to be the next king, the Spirit of the
Lord came upon him in power (1 Sam. 16:13). But there is one thing that did not happen, namely, a
further prophetic word from Samuel. If only Samuel had said, “David, it will be another twenty years
before you will become king.” No. Nor did Samuel prophesy, “You will be spending the next twenty
years running from King Saul just to stay alive.” And Samuel might have added, “Don’t worry, David,
this is part of your preparation.” God did not lead Samuel to say anything like that.
When God commits us to service for Him, He often tells us nothing regarding pitfalls and
disappointments along the way. We just fall into all sorts of trials and tribulations. No warning. They
just come. We learn by experience. God does not lead us directly from A to Z but from A to B, B to
C, etc. “One Day at a Time,” as the title of a popular gospel song goes. (I am told that is the most
requested song in hospitals.)
Some might ask, “Since the Spirit of the Lord came upon David in power, was he not then fit to be
king?” No. His anointing needed to be refined. Success came too soon for Saul. God was going to
ensure that the man after His own heart did not succeed before he was ready.
Perhaps you feel God has given you a definite anointing. You have thought that the Spirit of the
Lord coming on you in power means you are “ready to go.” Not necessarily. Everyone’s anointing
needs to be refined. Victor Hugo said, “Like the trampling of a mighty army, so is the force of an idea
whose time has come.” I would paraphrase that: “Like the trampling of a mighty army, so is the force
of one’s anointing whose time has come.” We all tend to think we are ready merely because of a
touch of God on us. The twelve disciples foolishly said to Jesus, “We are able” (Matt. 20:22, KJV).
God knows the truth about us. We all need more preparation.
The evidence of David’s anointing came when he killed Goliath (1 Sam. 17). It was the best thing
that happened to David; it won Saul’s favor. It was equally the worst thing that happened to David; it
incurred Saul’s wrath. But David was being prepared to be the next king. Charles Spurgeon is often
quoted as saying, “If I knew I had twenty years left to live, I would spend twenty of it in preparation.”
If your time has not yet come, it is because you need further preparation.
In 1956 I returned to Ashland, Kentucky, from my alma mater, Trevecca Nazarene College (now
Trevecca Nazarene University), with an undoubted anointing. I knew that God was going to use me
one day. I knew it beyond doubt. But my father was puzzled. Why had I abandoned the theology of my
old denomination if God was truly with me? I assured my father that within a year I would be totally
vindicated and in a great ministry that he would be proud of. A year later I wasn’t in the ministry at
all. Five years later I was working as a door-to-door vacuum cleaner salesman. It wasn’t until 1978
—some twenty-two years later, on a train from Edinburgh, Scotland, to King’s Cross station in
London—that my father looked at me and said, “Son, you were right; I was wrong. I am proud of
you.” I’m not sure I could have coped in 1956 if I had known I would have to wait so long.
God knows our frame, always remembering we are dust (Ps. 103:14). He knows how much we can
bear and therefore leads us exactly according to our need, our measure of strength, and what will be
needed down the road.
I don’t think David could have coped had he known in advance he would be running for his life for
twenty years. One year was hard enough! But all he would go through truly was part of his
preparation. He learned a lot. He learned the meaning of mercy in those years. How many times did
God spare David’s life when a vengeful King Saul was so close to killing him? God was so merciful.
This comes out in the psalms he was also writing. David could not have known that those psalms he
was writing during those twenty years would be a part of the canon of Holy Scripture. He learned to
be a grateful man. This too comes out in the psalms. He learned how not to grieve the Holy Spirit and
that he must not try to hasten his becoming king before God’s time had come. He learned also to fight
and survive. He was being trained to be like a general in the military. He learned leadership and how
to govern his faithful warriors. Most of all, he learned to trust God when all was utterly bleak. David
was indeed a man after God’s own heart.
God made sure that David would be ready when his time came. The day came. He turned out to be
the greatest king Israel ever had. It was all worth waiting for.
Are you waiting for your time to come? God is ensuring that you do not embark on any opportunity
until you are ready.
For further study: 1 Samuel 24:1–7; 26:8–11; Psalms 23; 136; Isaiah 40:31; Matthew 20:20–28
Gracious Holy Spirit, thank You for the way You refine us. Forgive me for trying to rush
You. I know that time belongs to You and is in your hands. Make me patient and grateful
until my time comes. In Jesus’s name, amen.Day 12
THE HOLY SPIRIT PREPARES US FOR SERVICE
WHEN SAMUEL POURED oil upon young David, anointing him to be the next king, the Spirit of the
Lord came upon him in power (1 Sam. 16:13). But there is one thing that did not happen, namely, a
further prophetic word from Samuel. If only Samuel had said, “David, it will be another twenty years
before you will become king.” No. Nor did Samuel prophesy, “You will be spending the next twenty
years running from King Saul just to stay alive.” And Samuel might have added, “Don’t worry, David,
this is part of your preparation.” God did not lead Samuel to say anything like that.
When God commits us to service for Him, He often tells us nothing regarding pitfalls and
disappointments along the way. We just fall into all sorts of trials and tribulations. No warning. They
just come. We learn by experience. God does not lead us directly from A to Z but from A to B, B to
C, etc. “One Day at a Time,” as the title of a popular gospel song goes. (I am told that is the most
requested song in hospitals.)
Some might ask, “Since the Spirit of the Lord came upon David in power, was he not then fit to be
king?” No. His anointing needed to be refined. Success came too soon for Saul. God was going to
ensure that the man after His own heart did not succeed before he was ready.
Perhaps you feel God has given you a definite anointing. You have thought that the Spirit of the
Lord coming on you in power means you are “ready to go.” Not necessarily. Everyone’s anointing
needs to be refined. Victor Hugo said, “Like the trampling of a mighty army, so is the force of an idea
whose time has come.” I would paraphrase that: “Like the trampling of a mighty army, so is the force
of one’s anointing whose time has come.” We all tend to think we are ready merely because of a
touch of God on us. The twelve disciples foolishly said to Jesus, “We are able” (Matt. 20:22, KJV).
God knows the truth about us. We all need more preparation.
The evidence of David’s anointing came when he killed Goliath (1 Sam. 17). It was the best thing
that happened to David; it won Saul’s favor. It was equally the worst thing that happened to David; it
incurred Saul’s wrath. But David was being prepared to be the next king. Charles Spurgeon is often
quoted as saying, “If I knew I had twenty years left to live, I would spend twenty of it in preparation.”
If your time has not yet come, it is because you need further preparation.
In 1956 I returned to Ashland, Kentucky, from my alma mater, Trevecca Nazarene College (now
Trevecca Nazarene University), with an undoubted anointing. I knew that God was going to use me
one day. I knew it beyond doubt. But my father was puzzled. Why had I abandoned the theology of my
old denomination if God was truly with me? I assured my father that within a year I would be totally
vindicated and in a great ministry that he would be proud of. A year later I wasn’t in the ministry at
all. Five years later I was working as a door-to-door vacuum cleaner salesman. It wasn’t until 1978
—some twenty-two years later, on a train from Edinburgh, Scotland, to King’s Cross station in
London—that my father looked at me and said, “Son, you were right; I was wrong. I am proud of
you.” I’m not sure I could have coped in 1956 if I had known I would have to wait so long.
God knows our frame, always remembering we are dust (Ps. 103:14). He knows how much we can
bear and therefore leads us exactly according to our need, our measure of strength, and what will be
needed down the road.
I don’t think David could have coped had he known in advance he would be running for his life for
twenty years. One year was hard enough! But all he would go through truly was part of his
preparation. He learned a lot. He learned the meaning of mercy in those years. How many times did
God spare David’s life when a vengeful King Saul was so close to killing him? God was so merciful.
This comes out in the psalms he was also writing. David could not have known that those psalms he
was writing during those twenty years would be a part of the canon of Holy Scripture. He learned to
be a grateful man. This too comes out in the psalms. He learned how not to grieve the Holy Spirit and
that he must not try to hasten his becoming king before God’s time had come. He learned also to fight
and survive. He was being trained to be like a general in the military. He learned leadership and how
to govern his faithful warriors. Most of all, he learned to trust God when all was utterly bleak. David
was indeed a man after God’s own heart.
God made sure that David would be ready when his time came. The day came. He turned out to be
the greatest king Israel ever had. It was all worth waiting for.
Are you waiting for your time to come? God is ensuring that you do not embark on any opportunity
until you are ready.
For further study: 1 Samuel 24:1–7; 26:8–11; Psalms 23; 136; Isaiah 40:31; Matthew 20:20–28
Gracious Holy Spirit, thank You for the way You refine us. Forgive me for trying to rush
You. I know that time belongs to You and is in your hands. Make me patient and grateful
until my time comes. In Jesus’s name, amen.