2 Sam 3:38-39 (NASB)
38Then the king said to his servants, "Do you not know that a prince and a great man has fallen this day in Israel?
39"I am weak today, though anointed king; and these men the sons of Zeruiah are too difficult for me May the LORD repay the evildoer according to his evil."
David is lamenting at this point over the murder of Abner, who was once on the side of Saul’s family after David took over as king. However, Abner did eventually declare his allegiance to King David, and with a pure heart intended to serve him. The problem was Joab (who was with David) still held a grudge against Abner for previously killing his brother. But we see here David’s response as a leader and it teaches us a profound lesson today. David’s response is one of mourning and regret, it comes from a place of weakness, despite him being the anointed King. He declares these “sons of Zeruiah are to difficult for me”, and gives up repayment of this evil to the Lord. I don’t believe David thought he couldn’t carry out this judgment/punishment himself, especially after he had received command of a significant army and had defeated and punished many in the past. But we see a posture David takes that we all as leaders should try and emulate. Jesus pointed these “attitudes” out in the Beatitudes (Matt 5:1-8) Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven, blessed are those that mourn, for they shall be comforted, … blessed are those that hunger and thirst for righteousness for they shall be satisfied, blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. These are the character traits David shows us all in this one moment.
The application for me is to recognize that David’s strength as a leader does not come from his strength, but from his “attitude”. It is from his heart, which pleases God most amongst men, that he is able to lead.
Here are Four “Attitudes” leaders should have to lead like David.
1. Poor in spirit. - This is really an attitude of humbleness with respect to God and others. To not lean on your own power and understanding, but to lean on God’s wisdom, and guidance.
2. Mourningful - Again this attitude is not a pitiful state of weakness but rather, one that mourns when God’s best isn’t being done, or God’s anointed or righteous ones are being struck down or persecuted.
3. Hunger and thirst for righteousness - Now this is a attitude that is powerful, but it is designed to come after one comes from a place of poor in spirit, and mourningful. It is from that place that proper thirst for righteousness comes, one that is not vengeful or prideful but one that comes seeking God’s righteousness in a situation.
4. Pure in heart - ultimately this is David, and the place we want to be seeking solutions to our leadership problems. Pure in heart is the ability to see things as God see’s them, not as the world or circumstances might indicate. This is where a leader must rely on God to help them lead , despite their own “blind spots”.
Dear heavenly Father thank you for today’s lesson, may it be sealed to my heart. I pray Lord that you reveal in me your plan to lead like David did. I come wanting to empty myself of any thing of the past that was not from you, and become more like David, and transformed to the image of Christ.