Leadership Lessons from King David Part VI
Be Kind to People
When we think of David, we think of a strong person – a strong leader who was a warrior and a king over an entire nation. This guy is got to be tough, resilient, unflinching, and made of steel. Yes, David is all of that but we also see a kindness in the way he treats people. This is especially seen in the story of (2 Sam.9:1-13), one of the most moving stories in the Bible.
David was a kind leader who wanted to honour his friends and their families. He wanted to “show God’s kindness”. He had not forgotten his promise to Jonathan (1 Sam.20:15, 42)
Mephibosheth, though crippled in his feet, had his family’s land restored to him and always ate at David’s table, simple because of his father, Jonathan’s, friendship with David. He became like one of the king’s sons. David had experienced God’s kindness, undeserved favour, and he often acknowledged this. 2 Sam 22:51. “He gives his king great victories; he shows unfailing kindness to his anointed, to David and his descendants forever." NIV
Ps 18:35. You have also given me the shield of your salvation; your right hand has held me up, your gentleness (you stoop down – NIV) has made me great. NKJV
As leaders, God has given us a degree of authority. That authority is to be used for ‘building people up’ not tearing them down. Yes, there are times where we need to confront, but even then we are called to ‘speak the truth in love’.
When we use our authority to encourage people and to show kindness to them, it can have a powerful impact. How do you treat the ‘little people’? Small acts of kindness go a long way! It could be as simple as – a smile, a hello, an apology, a ‘thank you’ (Bill Hybels story), an expression of interest, or a small gift. Be Aware of Your Vulnerability to Temptation
Story of David committing adultery with Bathsheba is well known, as are the ongoing negative consequences of his actions (see 2 Sam.11:1-27). David sends Joab off to battle and decides to stay home in Jerusalem (vs.1). Maybe David is getting tired of fighting the battles himself and thinks that he can take a back seat now. It is now about 10 years since he became king. Has complacency set in? The ark of God is out in the field of battle, not at home with David (vs.11). As a result, he places himself in a vulnerable position. There is no urgent cause or purpose to which he is directing his energies. This puts him in a situation where he is distracted, tempted and then drawn away into sin.
David breaks four of the Ten Commandments (Ex.20:13-17). This sin brought the death penalty (Lev.20:10. Deut.22:22). One sin leads to another and to further deceit. David commits adultery then tries to get Uriah to sleep with his wife so he’ll think that the baby is his. However, Uriah responds nobly and in so doing puts David’s actions to shame. David then plots Uriah’s death.
David had shamelessly violated God’s laws and he had abused his royal power, which the Lord had entrusted to him to shepherd the Lord’s people (5:2; 7:7-8).
Oh, how the mighty have fallen. Here is a man after God’s own heart who has been lifted from the sheepfold and into a place of prominence and influence. God has been good to him and he loves the Lord with all his heart. But, oh the depth of sinfulness in the heart of every man! David lets down his guard and then makes some decisions with awful consequences. He forgot or shunned God’s law in his heart and deceived himself into thinking it would be okay. He got caught up in a wed of temptation set by the enemy.
Thankfully, when confronted (2 Sam.12) David’s response was “I have sinned against the Lord”. No excuses, no “back-peddling”, no rationalisation or self-justification. He was forgiven, though the consequences of his sin continued to haunt him the rest of his life.
What a lesson for us today. How vulnerable are we! We are made of the same stuff and have the same potential for such senseless sin. God preserve us from this kind of evil. Lead us not into temptation!
Many years ago, I heard some training by Ken Williams (Wycliffe) on The Battle for Sexual Purity and I found it very insightful.
• Sexual sin is rarely the result of a blow-out. Almost always, it's the result of a slow leak. It's a slide, not a sudden fall. Every person caught in adultery said, “I never thought it would happen to me!”
• Understand the process of sexual sin. See the wisdom of God's ways and the consequences of disobedience.
• There are 5 stages in an inappropriate relationship – (1) appropriate interaction, (2) inappropriate levels of openness, (3) unwise amounts of time together, (4) inappropriate physical touch, (5) over the line.
• 2 and 3 create an ‘emotional connection’ or attachment.
• Establish some ‘early warning’ signs. Don’t wait until you’re near the edge of the rapids!
Some reflection questions:
• How are you going in the area of sexual temptation?
• Married people – any inappropriate emotional connections? Do you have appropriate boundaries (time, location, actions, etc)?
• Single people - any inappropriate physical touch?