Leadership Lessons From David

Today’s reading is 1 Samuel 30 and Psalm 31.

One of the things I love about writing for Bible Journal is it really makes me take a step back and ask myself what God is teaching us through Scriptures where I may have easily glanced over it during a quick read. Today, I was blown away by 2 great leadership examples through David in 1 Samuel 30.

First, we see in 1 Samuel 30:6 David “strengthened himself in the Lord His God.” How did David do this? He came to Lord in prayer, asking for wisdom as to what to do, and then he took action by following the Lord’s direction pursuing Amalekites. Let’s not glance over how terrible it looked for David. His town had been burned and his family was gone leaving him not knowing if they were dead or alive. David faced trouble with Saul, but I often think of the people always loving David due to his victory over Goliath amongst others, but apparently it was still a “what have you done for me lately world” back then because we also read in verse 6 the people talked of stoning him. Psalm 31 gives us a prayer by David which is likely very similar to what David prayed during this time. We know in Matthew 11:28 Jesus tells us, “Come to me all who labor and are heavy laden, I will give you rest.” God doesn’t care if you haven’t turned to Him in the past and if it took things getting really bad before you turned to Him for the first time or again in some cases. He just wants your heart..now.  He wants you to believe fully that He will pull you through it trusting in Him. What challenge are you facing today you don’t think you can handle or rebound from? “Strengthen yourself in the Lord” by praying for wisdom and guidance…then trust in Him and act upon His direction.  This is what David did and his family was safely returned through he and his people’s victory over the Amalekites.

The second lesson we learn from David is when things are going great and the Lord gives us victory, we give the glory to God. For it is Him who does these things through us. How easy is it to be prideful in thinking…”look at what I did”….when things are going well. We are all guilty of this. Psalm 31:23 tells us that is not a good thing to do. Those who went into battle did not want to give their winnings to those who stayed back, but David says in 1 Samuel 30, “You shall not do so, my brothers, with what the Lord has given us and given into our hand the hand that came against us.” David immediately recognizes in the presence of others this victory came from God and gives him the credit.  I love the quote, “Being humble does not mean thinking less of yourself, it means thinking of yourself less.”  Why should we think less of our self and that we are not capable or that God doesn’t have big things planned for us? Psalm 139:13 tells us we were created by the Almighty God and he “knit” us together. Thinking less of our self essentially means thinking less of God then since He created us, doesn’t it? But, in being humble, we DO think of ourselves less, and we give to those around us just as David models in 1 Samuel 30:24. We must think to ourselves, “For it was not me who did this, but God through me.”  David realized not everyone is meant to be a mighty warrior and go into battle.  He shared with those for whom God had a different role.

Both leadership lessons of strengthening ourselves in the Lord by trusting in Him through prayer, believing He can pull us out of any situation no matter how impossible it looks because our confidence is in Him, not our self, and then giving the glory to God are summed up by Paul again in Ephesians 3:20-21.

“Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.”

Let us move forward today in confidence and give him the glory!

Obedient To Our Beliefs


Numbers 5; Psalm 39; Song of Solomon 3; Hebrews 3

We lead extraordinarily busy lives. Between the pressures and problems of our work lives and the turmoil of training children to have healthy lives, we find ourselves chasing one thing after another, never stopping. If you are like me, there is a still small voice in your heart that is crying out for more. So what do we do? We choose more. We think that working harder, maybe earning that next promotion, will finally silence that nagging voice. We transfer the belief of more to our kids, assuming that my happiness comes from more, theirs does too. We add new activities and focus attempt them more intensely. The result: more pressure, more turmoil and more problems.  Too often these become manifested in depression, substance abuse and a myriad of illnesses. Exactly the opposite of what our heart is crying out for and definitely not the life that God promises us. He is calling us to one simple thing, obedience.

I don’t think of myself as disobedient. Maybe that is why I find myself annoyed when I read Biblical truths about disobedience. In fact, Instead of translating disobedience truthfully, I reinterpret it with positive words like progressive and enlightened.   These twists of truth allow me to avoid guilt while fully embracing, even amplifying my individuality. My prayers are also shaped by this belief. I ask God to help me in the places I am falling short. They sound like, “God give me that promotion,” or, “please help Junior play well today. He deserves to win.” All seems well until God doesn’t perform for us. When we fail to get recognized at work or our kids fall into trouble, we accuse Him of not providing and our restlessness accelerates. James 4:3 confirms this, “you ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.” Today, in Hebrews 3, we read a related comment. It says, “Today if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts.” (Hebrews 3:15).

If we want to have rest as God promises throughout Scripture, we must look toward obedience. This means that I can no longer avoid the hard work of transformation. The first step of obedience is listening.  When I pause and listen for God, I realize that the still small voice in my heart is not asking for more. Instead, recognizing that this is the still small voice of God, I hear Him calling me, calling me to obedience. Waiting in silence, He convicts me that my past re-interpretations are nothing more than a hard heart.   This hardness gives way to misbelief in my individuality and self-importance.  According to the Bible, they are more than misbelief, they are unbelief  (Hebrews 3:19).  My unanswered prayers, therefore, are not the result of God’s punishment or wrath, but my unbelief!  OUCH!

There is hope. When we turn our cry of desperation toward Jesus, stopping to listen, he responds. Thankfully, he does not ask for more than that.  When we do, He assures us of the rest we are looking for. (Matthew 11:28-29)

I found myself captured by the picture I added to this post.  Our stories parallel the boy’s burning of the ladder rungs.  He believes that the fire will keep him alive while we believe that “more” will lead to rest. His comfort is temporary, short-lived even.  What about ours?  Proverbs 14:12 says it clearly.  “There is a way that seems right to a man that leads to death.”  

Thanks to Pawel Kuczynski for creating a fantastic illustration of how our true beliefs shape our actions.