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Leadership Lessons from the life of King David


A. This session will focus on the mature perspective that God requires from all He entrusts with a
greater measure of His Spirit in ministry. We must have a faithful and fearless heart as we
respond to opposition and adversity in the course of our assignments from God. Humility
expresses itself in awareness of both how God intends to build His church and will manifest His
Kingdom, and it (humility) demonstrates patience and confidence in Jesus’ leadership when
embracing weakness that is necessary for the greater good.

B. There are life lessons from which we can benefit as we observe how King David made decisions
as he saw and valued a picture bigger than himself. We also want to consider what made it
possible for David to operate in such great ways – what was at play to empower his decisions
and motivated his actions. His accurate perception of God’s thoughts towards him was what
strengthened his resolve to trust God with his own destiny as well as that of the nation he was


A. Absalom, David’s son, was a member of the royal family who demonstrated a strong personality
and sense of justice. He fled Israel at one point as an outlaw, later to return at his father’s
request. At one point in Absalom’s life, ambition mingled with bitterness (2 Sam. 14:28) that
opened him to justifying a selfish course of action: to take the throne from his father David.
Absalom carefully manipulated popular opinion, and was effective to the degree that he “stole
the hearts of the people of Israel”, (2 Sam. 15:6). Over the course of time Absalom had rallied
enough political and military muscle to himself that made him a threat to do great damage to the
nation of Israel if he chose to do so.
A messenger came and told David, “The hearts of the people are with Absalom. 3 Then David said
to all the officials who were with him in Jerusalem, “Come, let us flee or none of us will escape from
Absalom. We must leave immediately or he will move quickly to overtake us and bring ruin on us
and put the city to the sword.” (2 Sam. 15:13-14)

B. The exodus out of the city began in earnest. His household and a number of officials left with
David. It is a bitter scene that foreshadowed Jesus Himself going to the Mount of Olives to pray
before He was arrested, with David crossing the Kidron Valley and David going up the Mount of
Olives barefoot, with his head covered.
Zadok was there, too, and all the Levites who were with him were carrying the ark of the covenant
of God. They set down the ark of God, and Abiathar offered sacrifices until all the people had
finished leaving the city. Then the king said to Zadok, “Take the ark of God back into the city. If I
find favor in the LORD’s eyes, he will bring me back and let me see it and his dwelling place again.
But if he says, ‘I am not pleased with you,’ then I am ready; let him do to me whatever seems good to
him.” (2 Sam. 15:24-26)

LHOP – Newport News, VA

Leadership Lessons from the life of King David Page 2

C. David continues out towards the wilderness with even greater indignity coming to him: a person
from Saul’s family comes out to mock and curse him – a man named Shimei. Some of David’s
company offered to “cut off his head”, but David thought differently.
David then said to Abishai and all his officials, “My son, my own flesh and blood, is trying to kill me.
How much more, then, this Benjamite! Leave him alone; let him curse, for the LORD has told him
to. It may be that the LORD will look upon my misery and restore to me his covenant blessing instead
of his curse today.” So David and his men continued along the road while Shimei was going along
the hillside opposite him, cursing as he went and throwing stones at him and showering him with dirt.
The king and all the people with him arrived at their destination exhausted. And there he refreshed
himself. (2 Sam. 16:11-15)


A. The way of heaven is one where leadership sees its role as one of encouraging those they lead:
for them to be given opportunity to fulfill their callings and operate in the gifting of God to “bear
fruit that remains”. The leadership God will raise up for the last day church will not be
motivated for concern about their reputation or their personal rights. We see David’s higher
regard was for “the peace of Jerusalem” rather than contending for his throne at what would have
been great expense. David’s motivation was tested, and yours will be as well in regards to “your
Jerusalem”. (Read Prov. 2:10-22)

B. The “psalms of exile” are real with their pain and frustration (e.g. Psa. 3, 4, 41, 55). Reading
them while regarding such a context brings the scriptures to life in soul-forming ways:

LORD, how they have increased who trouble me! Many are they who rise up against me. Many are
they who say of me, “There is no help for him in God.” (Psa. 3:1)

Hear my cry, O God; Attend to my prayer. From the end of the earth I will cry to You, when my heart
is overwhelmed; lead me to the rock that is higher than I. (Psa. 61:1-2)

C. Wisdom is such that it directs and empowers us to manifest the life of Jesus in specific ways if
we regard the work of God entrusted to us as greater than ourselves. If it were to come to
“causing a crater in Israel” in order to hold our position, there may be higher ways that need to
be deployed… radical in their own right, rooted in trust that God is able to defend your position
and establish His Kingdom despite the intentions of men.
Who among you is wise and understanding? Let him show by his good behavior his deeds in the
gentleness of wisdom. But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your heart, do not be
arrogant and so lie against the truth. This wisdom is not that which comes down from above, but is
earthly, natural, demonic. For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every
evil thing.
But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good
fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy. And the seed whose fruit is righteousness is sown in peace by
those who make peace. (James 3:13-18)

LHOP – Newport News, VA

Leadership Lessons from the life of King David Page 3


A. I have seen it a number of times: its profoundly important to remember that the means that is
used to accumulate power/authority is the same means it takes to sustain the same power. If
through manipulation or vain self-promotion you come into authority then that same spirit will
have to be deployed to hold your position. In contrast, David knew that God made him King of
Israel and that God would have to respond if He wanted David to remain king. Absalom was
judged for his rebellion ultimately, but it did not come about by David’s hand. God did return
David, ultimately.

B. The power of David’s life, more than any other thing, was his awareness that he was so deeply
loved by God. An example is when, in fear and depression, he left Israel and went out and lived
in Ziklag for 16 months… serving a foreign king, (cf. 1 Sam 30). David came out of this time
and called on the Name of the Lord again, and the Lord answered him... gently. It so marked
him, David wrote Psalm 18 in response to this season in his life:
You have also given me the shield of Your salvation; Your right hand has held me up, Your
gentleness has made me great. (Psa. 18:35)

He sent from above, He took me; He drew me out of many waters. He delivered me from my strong
enemy, from those who hated me, for they were too strong for me. They confronted me in the day of
my calamity, but the LORD was my support. He also brought me out into a broad place; he delivered
me because He delighted in me. (Psa. 18:16-19)

C. Meditate on the words of God’s desire for His people as well as your own sense of promise He
has given you, (e.g. Mal. 3:17). Know that God defines you by your sincere desire to please Him
and do all things for the sake of the gospel rather than your struggles. Consider anew that you
are His workmanship more than your own, and he will complete in work in you, (1 Thes. 5:24).
Be quick to repent, pray to be filled with mercy and good fruits, as God accomplishes His will on
earth as it is in heaven through your life.

D. God does rebuke, and He will/does warn us if we venture out against His will persistently. But
His first/second/third resort is to kindly woo us back into regaining fellowship with Himself… to
authentic friendship in a love relationship. He sees the seeds in Your heart that are the
beginnings of mature, whole-hearted and trusting obedience. And its these that He calls into
wholeness in ways that will root them deep into your soul. To count friendship with Him as its
own reward, and superior to any temporal title or other privilege.

LHOP – Newport News, VA