Skip to main content

Leadership lessons from David.

Today I want to continue the series of leadership lessons from the Bible by taking a brief look at King David. Now, I freely admit that volumes upon volumes have been written about this man and a short blog post is not going to even begin to do him justice. Alas, I shall try anyway.

1. The first thing that I want to point out about David's leadership, and really his character in general, was his total dependence on God. As we look at his life as recorded 1&2 Samuel, 1 Chronicles and to a certain extent the Psalms, we see a man completely in love with God. One of the best examples of this is found in 1 Samuel 17 when David faces the Philistine Goliath. Two instances stand out among this narrative. The first is in verse 37 when David is explaining to Saul that he is willing and unafraid to fight this mountain of a man. He states quite matter-of-factly, "The Lord who rescued me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will rescue me from the hand of this Philistine (All quotations in this post will be from the HCSB)." I have to wonder what the tone of Saul's reply really was because he simply tells David, "Go, and may the Lord be with you." Was his statement tinged with laughter? Was it one of dismay and defeat? Did he wonder if he was allowing a young man to charge headlong into his certain death? All we know is that Saul tried his hardest to make sure David was prepared to fight by giving him his armor and weapon. In the end David didn't even want those things because, in our parlance, "they cramped his style." The second instance is found in David's words to Goliath on the field of battle and these are some of the most powerful words in all of Scripture. He tells Goliath:

You come against me with a dagger, spear and sword, but I come against you in the name of the Lord of Hosts, the God of Israel's armies-you have defied Him. Today, the Lord will hand you over to me. Today, I will strike you down, cut your head off, and give the corpses of the Philistine camp to the birds of the sky and the creatures of the earth. Then all the world will know that Israel has a God, and this whole assembly will know that it is not by sword or by spear that the Lord saves, for the battle is the Lord's. He will hand you over to us.

Not one time in all of this does David rely on his own skills or abilities. There is never a sense that David is saying, "I will do such and such." He puts the outcome in God's hands and he is confident in God's delivering power. David doesn't even put stock in the might of the Israelite army because he knows that even their military success lies in the power of God and His faithfulness to His people. How many times in our lives do we expect that our skills and abilities will get us to a certain point and then God will take over when we can do no more? This isn't a backwards way of looking at things, it is the wrong way to look at things. Whether we say it or not our underlying belief is something like the old, false adage that "God helps those who help themselves." The Biblical truth is that God helps those who depend on Him. Even the best that we can do on our own and in our own power is like filthy rags to God. The lesson here is to dependently and obediently rely on God for all things.

2. This second lesson is similar to the last lesson from Numbers 16 and it relates to David's spiritual maturity. What happens after David slays Goliath and he is anointed by Samuel as the next king of Israel, is that Saul repeatedly tries to kill David. For the next several years David is on the run and constantly trying to avoid Saul. The amazing thing is that David has a couple of opportunities to kill Saul during this time, yet he doesn't. The reason that he refrains from killing Saul when the opportunity arises is that David knows better than to strike the man of God. From the moment that David was anointed God's hand was on him and it was removed from Saul. Spiritually, he was now the true king of Israel but Saul remained the visible and effective king over the people but David didn't act on this truth. Even after the death of Saul and Jonathan, David still respected his position as "the Lord's anointed." In 2 Samuel 1 we see David ordering the death of the Amalekite who told him of Saul's demise and  then his song of lament over their deaths. There are two things that I can see here. The first is that David had the utmost respect for God and the person that He anointed as leader of the people. This is something that we struggle with in the Church today as we think nothing of rejecting and rising up against the people that God has placed in leadership over us. It is true that if a pastor or leader is doing things that are clearly contrary to God's ways then we have a responsibility to confront them and if it is not dealt with then we must remove them (see Nathan's confrontation of David's sin with Bathsheba). However, if the hand of God is on a leader then going against them is going against God's anointed and that is a bad place to be. Secondly, David displays the New Covenant ideal of loving, not only our friends, but also our enemies. His mourning of Saul's death shows that even though this man was trying to kill him, he still loved him. Of course, Jesus will later tell us this very thing during the Sermon on the Mount.

3. Finally, David never wavered in his devotion to God. Yes, he fell into sin just like all of us do but when it became clear to him what he had done he said this, "I have sinned against the Lord (2 Sam. 12:13)." His repentance stands as a great example to each of us. Furthermore, he was not too proud to accept correction from Nathan the prophet. How many of us, as leaders, are too caught up in our position to accept the advise and reproof of the Lord or our associates? The truth is, if we are walking with God we will be open to His divine correction that can either come from His Word, the Holy Spirit, or those around us. This doesn't bring us down. On the contrary, it builds us up and makes us into better leaders, better husbands, pastors, businessmen or whatever. If we honor God and walk closely with Him, He will honor us and be faithful to us just as He was to David.

These are surely only a few of the many lessons that we can draw from the life of King David. He stands as a shining example of a man after God's own heart and as a true and righteous leader. I pray that we will all take these lessons from God's Word to heart and become the leaders that He wants us to be.

Godspeed,
Christian

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Characteristics of a Godly Watchman Pt. 1: Vigilance

Most everyone has heard an alarm go off. It may be something as mundane as the alarm clock every morning that tells us it is time to get up and get ready for work, or it may be something as frightening as a fire alarm. No matter what the specific purpose of the alarm they all share one common theme: they are meant to alert people and warn them of impending danger.

In Joel 2:1 the Lord commands the prophet to; Blow a trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm on My holy mountainbecause the day of the Lord is coming. That is, God’s judgment is coming upon Israel for their sinfulness. Further along in the chapter, in verse 15, Joel is again commanded to blow a trumpet but this time it is to call the assembly of the people together so that they can, consecrate a fast. This tells us two important things about the role, or the duty, of the prophet of God. First, it tells us that the prophet is to act as an alarm to warn the people of God’s coming judgment. Secondly, the prophet is also to be the mo…

A Letter to Christian Girls.

Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, But a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised. Proverbs 31:30

Tonight my wife has been asked to speak to a group of Christian girls on the issues of dating, purity, relationships, etc. As part of that, the youth pastor of this church asked if I would write a letter to the group of young women from a guy's point of view. Now, I can't say as I remember ever having written a letter to a group of teenage girls but I do have some pretty strong feelings about the way our culture has portrayed love, marriage and particularly women. So, what I would like to do in this post is reproduce for you some of this letter. I may add some here and subtract some there but I want this to be my letter to all the Christian, young ladies out there.



What I want to do, through this letter, is share some things from a “guys” point of view because it’s no secret that we see things a little differently than you ladies do. You may think that all we think about …

My Boss is a Jewish Carpenter?

Have you ever seen that bumper sticker? The one that says "My boss is a Jewish carpenter." I certainly have and generally when I see it I quietly agree with the driver and take the encouragement that comes with seeing a fellow soldier in the Lord's army. Just this evening, though, I had a thought as I was driving home from Bible study. "Should Jesus be my boss?" Now before you go casting judgment on the thought let me explain what I mean. I propose that instead if being a "boss" we should be looking at God and Christ as "Master." I'll explain by looking at some differences in the idea of boss and master.

Difference #1: Why were you hired?

When an individual is hired for a job by an employer it is for a specific reason. Perhaps a particular skill, talent or level of education qualifies someone for a particular job. The employer hires the person that is the most qualified to fulfill the task. Granted, this is the way it is supposed to work. …