Friday, June 19, 2015

What Does a Spiritual Leader Look Like?

1 Samuel 17:55-18:5
55 As Saul watched David going out to meet the Philistine, he said to Abner, commander of the army, “Abner, whose son is that young man?” Abner replied, “As surely as you live, Your Majesty, I don’t know.” 56 The king said, “Find out whose son this young man is.” 57 As soon as David returned from killing the Philistine, Abner took him and brought him before Saul, with David still holding the Philistine’s head. 58 “Whose son are you, young man?” Saul asked him. David said, “I am the son of your servant Jesse of Bethlehem.”

Saul’s Growing Fear of David
18 After David had finished talking with Saul, Jonathan became one in spirit with David, and he loved him as himself. 2 From that day Saul kept David with him and did not let him return home to his family. 3 And Jonathan made a covenant with David because he loved him as himself. 4 Jonathan took off the robe he was wearing and gave it to David, along with his tunic, and even his sword, his bow and his belt. 5 Whatever mission Saul sent him on, David was so successful that Saul gave him a high rank in the army. This pleased all the troops, and Saul’s officers as well.

In our Old Testament lesson today, we see the rise of the young shepherd boy named David. When he took on the Goliath the giant and singlehandedly defeated him, it sure turned people's heads, especially Saul the King. We can see the beginning of Saul's jealousy of David, as he keeps him with him and doesn't let him return home. We also see the growing relationship of David and Saul's son, Jonathan. It says they became "one in spirit", kind of like "blood brothers". This will present an interesting dynamic as David's influence grows and Saul's watchful eye will stay on him.

I think another part of the story of David and Goliath is the courage David had in The Lord that He would deliver him, go before him, and slay the giant. David would become the greatest earthly king in the history of the Israelites. He comes from a humble beginning as the son of Jesse, but his rise to power is because of his complete trust in God's power. Often we see leaders when they are finished and in their role. But every great spiritual leader is defined by winning the small battles when they are in training. David's real victory came when he trusted The Lord when, as a shepherd boy, he saved the lamb from the mouth from the lion out in the fields he was tending.

Leadership is about character and who you are when no one is looking. This is how one day they would say David was a "man after God's own heart". What a great thing to say about anyone! Where are life's circumstances or trials training you to be a man or woman after God's own heart? These are the everyday trials, big or small, that define who we trust when the chips are on the line. In these small decisions as we trust in God, we prepare ourselves for the bigger more life changing decisions that will surely come.

Let us close with the words of Psalm 9,

9 The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed,
a stronghold in times of trouble.
10 Those who know your name trust in you,
for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you.

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