Leadership Development 101

The One Year® Chronological Bible, NKJV (Tyndale, 2013), April 14  

imagesGod develops His leaders in obscurity. They rarely look like much to those around them.

While among the sheep and under God’s watchful eye, David hones his sling shot skills to pinpoint accuracy. He kills a lion and a bear to protect his father’s sheep (1 Sam. 17:34-36). He develops his musical skills as he lies beneath the twinkle of God’s stars while meditating on and worshiping His greatness.

David has no idea that his musical skills will catapult him into King Saul’s household and that his sling shot ability will conscript him into the king’s army.

After Samuel pronounces God’s judgment on Saul, Saul goes through seasons of depression. Saul calls for a musician, and his servant recommends David for that position. David’s praise music drives away the evil spirit and provides King Saul respite during his seasons of depression.

David’s dad sends him to check on his brothers during an Israeli-Philistine conflict that has already lasted for forty days. David arrives on the scene and recognizes what everyone else has failed to see—that Goliath, though huge, is an ant in God’s presence, “Who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should defy the armies of the living God?” (17:26) Goliath falls beneath the impact of one small but accurate stone from David’s sling, “So David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and a stone” (17:50). Just as David had promised, all those who gathered there learn “that the LORD does not save with sword and spear; for the battle is the LORD’s” (17:47).

Caring for sheep, accuracy with the slingshot, and beauty of music may not find their way on any MBA program, but to God they represent much more—a skill set that has developed the heart practices needed by a good leader. Long days with simple sheep have taught David patience. He will need patience for the following years as he flees from King Saul and his attempts to kill him. Daily sling-shot practice has developed disciplines that have groomed David into the soldier who has killed “ten thousands” (18:7). Nightly worship sessions ground David’s feet to the goodness, greatness, and power of God.

MBA degrees alone do not make for good leaders. Patience, discipline, and an exalted view of God prepare men for God’s service.

“Blessed be the LORD my Rock, who trains my hands for war, and my fingers for battle” (Psalm 144:1).

Questions from today’s reading (1 Samuel 17:32-19:24; Psalm 59):

  • Instead of celebrating the addition of David as a soldier in his army, Saul becomes angry and tries to kill David. What does this reveal about Saul’s character? (Review 1 Samuel 15:12)
  • How does Saul’s jealousy of David affect his focus as a military leader?
  • What does Psalm 59 reveal about David’s character? How does this differ from that of King Saul?