Scripture Passage: 2 Samuel 24:1-15
When Leaders Don’t Listen the People Suffer
David gave an instruction that the children of Israel be counted and would not listen to Joab when he tried to talk him out of carrying out this exercise which was against God’s word. The Bible says, “notwithstanding, the king’s word prevailed against Joab and against the captains of the host.” The people were counted as David desired and it led to the outbreak of a plague which claimed the lives of seventy thousand men. People died needless deaths because their leader would not listen to wise counsel but insisted on having his way.
The lesson here is this; when leaders don’t listen the people suffer. Therefore, a leader must be willing to listen to others. Nobody has monopoly of knowledge and we can all learn from one another if we are willing to listen.
Prayer: Father, help me to listen especially when it counts.
Scripture Passage: 2 Samuel 16:1-4; 19:24-29
Leaders Judge Those They Lead Not By Their Words but By Their Actions
Ziba came to King David with provision as he fled into exile. He claimed that Mephibosheth was at Jerusalem saying, “Today shall the house of Israel restore me the kingdom of my father.” As a result, David gave half the land belonging to Mephibosheth to Ziba and never went back on that decision; not even when Mephibosheth came down to meet him as he returned from exile, and refuted Ziba’s story. In my opinion, David judged both men on what they did. Ziba came to him in his hour of need and Mephibosheth did not.
The lesson here is this; Leaders judge those they lead not by their words but by their actions. Hence, no matter how good your intentions may be and how well you articulate them, experienced leaders will judge you based on what you do. Therefore, it is important that your words and actions line up.
Prayer: Father, cause my words and actions to line up.
Scripture Passage: 2 Samuel 15:1-14
Rebellion Usually Follows a Leader’s Loss of Integrity
After the Bathsheba incident and his attempt to cover it up, David lost integrity. Not long after, Absalom led a rebellion against his father and he did this with the support of many in Israel. This indicates that the people were already in rebellion, they only needed a leader to initiate what was in their hearts.
The lesson here is this; Rebellion usually follows a leader’s loss of integrity. The leader who loses integrity will soon discover that the people begin to rebel against him and against his leadership. Nothing is as upsetting as a leader who sins and then tries to cover it up instead of admitting his errors. If a leader admit his faults, the people will usually forgive him. This is because the issue is not the leader messing up, but trying to pretend that he has not erred when he has. When this happens, rebellion is usually in tow.
Prayer: Father, help me to maintain my integrity and admit my mistakes.
Scripture Passage: 2 Samuel 13:19-21
The Leader who has Lost Integrity Finds it Difficult to Correct the Misdemeanour of Others
Prior to the incidence with Bathsheba, David was quick to correct those he led when they failed. But, with the Bathsheba affair, he lost integrity. As a result, when Amnon raped Tamar, albeit David was angry, he did nothing to correct Amnon. However, by keeping silent, he was not only consenting to Amnon’s injustice to Tamar, he was also giving a license to anyone else in his household who wished to act as Amnon did.
The lesson here is this; the leader who has lost integrity finds it difficult to correct the misdemeanour of others. Character is an important requirement in leadership as character fosters trust and trust is at the foundation of leadership. People follow leaders they trust. But no one will trust a leader with a questionable character. David passed the character test until the occasion of Bathsheba, the wife of Uriah.
Prayer: Father, help me to maintain my integrity.
Scripture Passage: 2 Samuel 13:21-29
When the Leader Fails to Act, Someone Else Will
When Amnon raped Tamar, Absalom waited for David to act and when he failed to, Absalom took matters into his own hands and killed Amnon. The Bible says, “But when King David heard of all these things, he was very wroth. And Absalom spake unto his brother Amnon neither good nor bad…and it came to pass after two full years, that Absalom had sheepshearers in Baalhazor, which is beside Ephraim: and Absalom invited all the king’s sons…Now Absalom had commanded his servants, saying, Mark ye now when Amnon’s heart is merry with wine, and when I say unto you, Smite Amnon; then kill him…”
The lesson here is this; when the leader fails to act, someone else will. Everyone has an agenda and David learnt this lesson the hard way. If he acted when Amnon raped Tamar, he would have spared not only the life of Amnon but also the life of Absalom.
Prayer: Father, help me to act and without delay.
Scripture Passage: 2 Samuel 10:1-7
An Insult to a People is an Insult to their Leader
When David sent messengers to King Hanun, they were spitefully treated. The Bible says, “Hanun took David’s servants, and shaved off the one half of their beards, and cut off their garments in the middle, even to their buttocks, and sent them away….and when David heard of it, he sent Joab, and all the host of the mighty men.” David did not tolerate insult to his people. He went to war, sending a strong message to all.
The lesson here is this; an insult to a people is an insult to their leader. Wise leaders recognise this. Therefore they have zero tolerance for those who insult their people. Some leaders do not understand this and fail to defend those who come under attack for following their directives. However, when people know that their leader will defend them, they are willing to go the extra mile for him.
Prayer: Father, help me to take responsibility for those I lead.
Scripture Passage: 2 Samuel 5:18-25
Wise Leaders Take Nothing for Granted
The Bible says, “The Philistines also came and spread themselves in the valley of Rephaim. And David enquired of the Lord, saying, Shall I go up to the Philistines? And the Lord said unto David, Go up…..and David came to Baalperazim, and David smote them there….and the Philistines came up yet again, and spread themselves in the valley of Rephaim. And when David enquired of the Lord, he said, Thou shalt not go up; but fetch a compass behind them, and come upon them over against the mulberry trees….and David did so, as the Lord had commanded him; and smote the Philistines….”
The lesson here is this; wise leaders take nothing for granted. They never assume that the strategy that worked the last time will work this time. They do their homework to ensure they do not suffer defeat. They know it is possible for a strategy that worked yesterday to fail today.
Prayer: Father, help me to take nothing for granted.
Scripture Passage: 2 Samuel 3:31
Leaders Lead by Being Examples Themselves
The Bible says, “And David said to Joab, and to all the people that were with him, rend your clothes, and gird you with sackcloth, and mourn before Abner. And King David himself followed the bier.”
The lesson here is this; Leaders lead by being examples themselves. Leaders who will truly be effective in getting their people to do what they want will not just tell them, they will show them. People are more likely to do what they see the leader do, than do what they hear the leader say. Consequently, a leader must be seen doing whatever it is he desires that his people do.
Prayer: Father, help me to be a good example.
Scripture Passage: 2 Samuel 3:26-39
A Wise Leader Will Right the Wrongs of Those He Leads
Joab and Abishai killed Abner in a bid to avenge their late brother Asahel. David did not approve of their actions and quickly corrected it. The Bible says, “And the king lamented over Abner…..and all the people took notice of it, and it pleased them….For all the people and all Israel understood that day that it was not of the king to slay Abner the son of Ner.”
The lesson here is this; a wise leader will right the wrongs of those he leads. It is his responsibility. Leaders must understand that when those they lead offend, they have indirectly offended. Therefore, they ought to accept the responsibility of correcting the error. Too many leaders allow the wrong actions of their close aides and team members to go uncorrected by them. Eventually, it destroys their influence, as each time they leave it uncorrected, it signals to the people an approval.
Prayer: Father, help me to right the wrongs of those I lead.
Scripture Passage: 2 Samuel 3:33-37
The Actions or Inactions of Leaders are Scrutinised by their Followers
The Bible says, “And the king lamented over Abner…… And when all the people came to cause David to eat….David sware, saying, so do God to me, and more also, if I taste bread….till the sun be down. And all the people took notice of it, and it pleased them: as whatsoever the king did pleased all the people…..”
The lesson here is this; the actions and or inactions of leaders are scrutinised by their followers. Nothing the leader does will ever go unnoticed by those he leads. And this is because he is constantly observed with great interest. Therefore, a leader must ensure that his words and actions line up or else the people will pick up on this very quickly and easily. Only a foolish leader thinks he is not watched or that he can do as he pleases and get away with it.
Prayer: Father, help me to remember that those I lead observe my actions.