Samuel, A Comforter in Times of Trouble

by Joshua Welch

Great lessons about leadership can be learned from Samuel in Scripture. One of those lessons is found in an easily overlooked verse in 1 Samuel 19:18. In this chapter, Saul has begun his obsessive mission to destroy David (1 Samuel 19:1). Though Jonathan tries to dissuade Saul from his unjust attacks Saul still tries to send attackers to his daughter Michal’s house (19:11). Thankfully, Michal informs David of her father’s intents and David must secretly escape and flee the city while Michal covers for him (19:12-17). So, where does David go for security and comfort?

So David fled and escaped, and went to Samuel at Ramah, and told him all that Saul had done to him. And he and Samuel went and stayed in Naioth” (19:18).

One of the unsung attributes of Samuel’s leadership was acting as a confidante to David in his time of trouble. David needed somewhere to stay when his home became unsafe. Samuel provided a safe refuge. David needed someone to talk to when many of his closest friends were the family of Saul himself. Samuel provided a listening ear. David needed someone else in leadership who understood and could advise David through the difficulty. Samuel took him to the city of Naioth to try and get him to a more unsuspecting location in an attempt to help.

There will be times spiritual leaders are asked to provide comfort, in confidence, to those who are hurting. A wife in an abusive relationship may need a place of safety as problems are sorted. A couple suffering from marriage problems may need a helpful, listening ear who will not risk the couple’s relationship by “spilling the tea” to others but keep the conversation in confidence. Those facing relationship struggles may need help finding guidance through the problems without it becoming an embarrassing public matter. Even pastors need somebody to pastor them through the problems at times.

Samuel’s discreet handling of David’s problems is a great example of what leaders may be called upon to do from time to time. Not all of leadership takes place in the public eye, sometimes the best leaders are those that are trusted in the handling of private affairs. When leaders botch the confidence others place in them, the Proverb writer says, “Confidence in an unfaithful man in time of trouble is like a bad tooth and a foot out of joint” (25:19). Leaders must be trustworthy!