Godliness Affects Leadership

1 Samuel is an amazing picture of how Godliness affects leadership.  Take for example the contrast between King Saul and King David.

  1. Rationalization for Sin – In Samuel 13, Saul is facing defeat from the Philistines, so he asked for the priest Samuel to come onto the field to offer a sacrifice to God. But he wasn’t patient, so he offered the sacrifice himself which was unbiblical and disobedient.  When Samuel confronted him about it, Saul lied.  When he was caught in the lie, he then blamed the people. At that point, Samuel tells Saul that his kingdom will be given to another.
  2. Endangers the People He Leads – Later on in a battle with the Philistines (1 Samuel 14), Saul foolishly declares that any of his solders who eat before the victory is won will be put to death. His son, Jonathan, doesn’t know about this vow.  Jonathan eats, feels better, battles the Philistines and wins.  Saul foolishly declares that Jonathan must die, but the people ransom Jonathan so he isn’t executed.
  3. Selfish – Saul is then commanded to go and strike the Amalekites down. God commands him not to leave any single thing alive and to devote everything to destruction.  Saul instead takes their best livestock and keeps the King of the Amalekites alive (1 Samuel 15).
  4. Ignores God’s Honor – When Goliath threatened the Israelite army (1 Samuel 17), Saul didn’t lead them into battle and didn’t inspire anyone enough to fight for him and the people of God.

Now we know that David is not perfect.  He lied and deceived the priest when he was hungry.  As a result, David sinned, a mass of priests died, and an entire city was wiped out (1 Samuel 21-22).  But here is the difference between David and Saul.

  1. Ownership of Sin – Unlike Saul who lied when confronted with his sin, David admits his sin. He shows what true sorrow and repentance looks like. The next time David is put in a stressful place, he asks God for wisdom about what to do, not one, not two, but three times (1 Samuel 21-22).
  2. Protects the People He Leads – Whereas Saul threatened his men with death to motivate them, David leads a group of debt-dodging soldiers into battle, and when they express their concern and weariness, David takes their concern to God in prayer (1 Samuel 23).
  3. Selfless – When Saul disobeyed and withheld the best for himself against the Amalekites, when David fought for Israel, he obeyed completely and God gave them the victory (1 Samuel 18).
  4. Defends God’s Honor – And when Saul wouldn’t fight for Israel against Goliath, David boldly defended the honor of God (1 Samuel 17).

Godliness isn’t required to be a good leader as evidenced from the many amazing leaders in our world, but if someone has faith in Jesus, their Godliness directly affects their leadership.  Humility, faith, and boldness will either bolster one’s leadership or the lack of those things will hinder it.

May we pray for humility, faith, and boldness today as we are called to some measure of leadership.  David shows us that we don’t have to be perfect; we just need to be greatly dependent on the grace of Jesus.

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What Holly Golightly & King David Teach Us About Bitterness

In Truman Capote’s “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”, we meet Holly Golightly.  She is a New York socialite struggling between two lives.

In her past, she was Lula Mae, a fourteen-year-old who stole turkey eggs to survive.

In her present, she can’t seem to commit to any relationship.

These two worlds collide when she learns that her beloved brother dies while she simultaneously rejects the one person who appears to accept her and all of her foibles.  Her past and her present are both uncertain.

What is the temptation of the human heart when there is unresolved hurt from the past and an unsecured present?  Bitterness.  Bitterness, by definition, is unresolved conflict with either a person or God.  Either type is toxic.

Believe it not, Holly Golightly is a lot like King David in 1 Samuel 22.  Yep.  I just said that.  King David and Holly Golightly are a lot alike.

You see, King David has an unresolved past and a shaky present.  He deceived Ahimelech, the priest, and because of that, King Saul orders the death of Ahimelech, 85 priests, and every man, woman, child, and livestock from Nob, the city of priests.  Additionally, David is the anointed king of God’s people, but he doesn’t sit on the throne.

David could be overwhelmed with guilt.

He could shake his fist at God.

He could ball up into fetal position and give up.

What does he do?

1 Samuel 22:20 But one of the sons of Ahimelech the son of Ahitub, named Abiathar, escaped and fled after David. 21 And Abiathar told David that Saul had killed the priests of the Lord. 22 And David said to Abiathar, “I knew on that day, when Doeg the Edomite was there, that he would surely tell Saul. I have occasioned the death of all the persons of your father’s house. 23 Stay with me; do not be afraid, for he who seeks my life seeks your life. With me you shall be in safekeeping.”

David takes responsibility for his sins, and he commits to protecting Ahimelech going forward. David doesn’t know what’s going to happen next, but he knows blame shifting is not going to work.  Getting angry God is not to work.  He owns his sin and commits to faithfulness in the present.

That’s what we are all called to do when we struggle with bitterness.  Ephesians shows us how:

Ephesians 4: 25 Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another. 26 Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, 27 and give no opportunity to the devil. 28 Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need. 29 Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. 32 Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.

Put away falsehood or excuses.  Speak truth where necessary.  Repent.  Put away bitterness and wrath, and seek to forgive as Christ forgave you.  Not easy, but it is the pathway out of bitterness and a protection against potential bitterness.

Gordon

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