Characteristics of a Leader, Part 2

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, February 24, 2017 0 comments

by Charlie Wolcott

Last week, I addressed three characteristics of David that a servant of Saul observed in him when considering him to serve the king. Read 1 Samuel 16:14-23 to review the context. Look at verse 18 in particular. Let me list the six characteristics again. David was: 1) skilled with a harp, 2) man of valor, 3) a man of war, 4) prudent in speech, 5) good-looking, and 6) the Spirit of the Lord was upon him. Today, we will look at the last three.

4) David was prudent in speech.

When was the last time you saw someone with this characteristic? Someone who knows what to say, when to say it, and how to say it. I am gifted at explaining things. I can make them clear and articulate pretty well, however, I also have a tendency of simply speaking my mind no matter what is on it. I am always honest about what I say, but it is not always appropriate to say it then or to that particular person. As a result, I can be without tact and rather blunt, but worse is that at times I may say something that may be something confidential or I may be saying something that particular audience simply does not need to know.

David, however, showed wisdom in how he spoke. His mouth never got him into trouble. He never talked back to his authorities (to his father or to Saul, even when Saul tried to kill him). He never sassed anyone. He never used foul language. He always spoke to try to diffuse the situation. He was humble and when offered positions of recognition by Saul, he would take the lowest seat. He never spoke to boost his own position. He never spoke with flattery. Also interesting is that David did not boast before the army that he could slay Goliath. He just kept asking what the reward would be.

James said the tongue is perhaps the hardest thing for a man to tame, yet David seemed to have his under control. There is one area in modern life that the tongue is the loosest: social media. It is quite amazing the things people say on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, etc. And I’ve not always been the wisest in what to say either. That is part of why I wrote my post a few weeks ago on how and why we defend the Bible. There is too much focus on simply being right, rather than being concerned about the soul of the person we are talking with. God has exposed that to me as an issue in my life, but it hasn’t been worked out of my system yet. Are we prudent in our speech? If we do not learn to address this issue, we have no business in leadership.

5) David was good-looking.

I know what many of you may be thinking: that rules me out of leadership. I don’t have a camera-pretty face. But let us keep the context in mind. This is from the eyes of a servant of Saul. Just a few verses earlier, when Samuel was anointing David, God told him not to look at physical appearance. The Bible rarely gives a physical description of its heroes. Joseph, David, Daniel are among the very few I can think of: handsome, ruddy, good-looking. That is about as much physical description it gives its heroes. The villains on the other hand, Goliath, Saul, Absalom, and others tends to get more physical descriptions. Absalom was interesting enough that the Bible describes the weight of his hair after cutting it every year.

We need to remember here that God is not interested in how you appear physically. He is interested in how you appear spiritually. Are we good looking, spiritually? The only way we can be is if we are born again, with a new, clean heart by the grace of God through faith. The one that looks good usually cannot get the job done properly because the attitude and the heart is not there. Often as well, the one with the correct attitude and heart will not look the part, but they can get the job done far better.

6) The Spirit of the Lord was upon David.

This is the secret to it all. The moment David was anointed, the Spirit of the Lord came upon David. This is how David’s music worked to relieve Saul. This is how David had the courage to face both lion and bear. This is how David was wise in battle. This is how David was prudent in speech. David did not just have the Spirit upon him, but David walked in that anointing. Saul had the Spirit too for a while, but then it left when Saul refused to obey God.

Old Testament times are interesting because the Spirit of God would come and go. It would rarely stay upon a person. We, as New Testament believers, have the Holy Spirit for good. This is something the OT saints longed for. However, how many of us walk in that Spirit? Many of us would love to, but we are not willing to give up our own means to get there. To live God’s way, dependence upon our own skills, abilities, and intellect must be put away, and it must be upon God alone.

Rees Howells had this moment. He was a believer, and he worked during a time of revival in Wales. But during that revival, God gave Howells an ultimatum: to completely surrender his life to Christ (in a way far deeper than we really understand today) and have a difficult yet extraordinary life, or to live a simple Christian life. And God even game him a deadline: by 6:00pm that evening. Rees Howells had a hard time making that decision, but by 5:59pm he went for it. The Spirit of God fell upon him and bit by bit, God removed more and more things of self from him. In the process, Howells became a greater and greater spiritual warrior. He was able to declare that no one on his mission in Africa would perish from the plague and his prayers were part of what altered the course of World War II. This is not a task anyone can just declare, but someone who has truly walked a hard life of surrender of self.

The secret to being a leader as David was is the yield and follow the Holy Spirit. David had one major blemish on his record: the incident of Bathsheba and Uriah. But besides that, he lived a life of victory and success as a whole. There were other things David did wrong, but that was the only time David failed to seek and heed the voice of the Lord until he was confronted. When it comes to leadership, David gives us a spectacular template of what kind of character is needed. He is not the only example, but he is a good one. Let us learn how God prepared David for leadership and let us not merely esteem these characteristics, but pursue them.

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