Have you encountered leaders who were full of themselves, impressed with their own abilities and position? How did they make you feel? Did you want to be around them? Serve them? Honor them? You probably worked for or with them because you had to, but they probably didn't elicit much loyalty or commitment from you.
We have seen throughout this series that although King David was not a perfect man, God stood with him throughout his life: "The inspired utterance of David son of Jesse, the utterance of the man exalted by the Most High, the man anointed by the God of Jacob, the hero of Israel’s songs" (2 Samuel 23:1). David engendered great loyalty from his followers, which clearly indicates those closest to him endorsed him as a leader, prophet, and man of God. This week, let's look at an example of the people's love for David, and his response to their zeal to serve and please him.
WATER FROM THE WELL
Here is a story that indicates the love the people had for David:
At that time David was in the stronghold, and the Philistine garrison was at Bethlehem. David longed for water and said, “Oh, that someone would get me a drink of water from the well near the gate of Bethlehem!” So the three mighty warriors broke through the Philistine lines, drew water from the well near the gate of Bethlehem and carried it back to David. But he refused to drink it; instead, he poured it out before the Lord. “Far be it from me, Lord, to do this!” he said. “Is it not the blood of men who went at the risk of their lives?” And David would not drink it (2 Samuel 23:15-17).
David uttered his wish for some of his favorite hometown water within earshot of some of his troops. Three of his men then took it upon themselves to risk their lives to fulfill David's wish. They broke through enemy lines, drew the water, and brought it back to David, fully expecting him to savor every drop. Instead, David refused to drink it and poured it out on the ground as a drink offering to the Lord! Imagine how those men must have felt when David did that. What was David thinking?
While David occasionally acted in his own self interests with devastating results, for most of his reign (and even before it), he put the peoples' needs ahead of his own. He used his power to empower others and the list of his mighty men in 2 Samuel 23 proves that point. For David, leadership was not about him; it was about others.
David couldn't accept their gift of water because the people had risked their lives to get it. He knew that kind of commitment should be reserved for God and God alone. He had no intention of receiving it because there was the danger for him and for modern leaders that they would think they deserved the sacrifice and effort because of who they are and how God has blessed them. You would do well to have this same attitude as you serve in the position God has given you.
As you sit on your throne of purposeful living, it's not really about you. First, it's about God who put you there so you can serve His interests first and foremost. Second, any leadership power and authority you have are to empower others and not build your own kingdom. Third, you are a first among equals with your followers and peers, and there's no room for arrogance or pride. You have what you have by the grace of God, not by your own efforts (although where you are required a lot of effort).
David refused a gift that he saw as something of which only God was worthy. As you enjoy your time on your throne, you will do well to keep yours and others' focus on God's interests and don't be confused as to why He put you where you are. If you do that, then you will thrive and not just survive as you express your unique, God-given assignment. Have a blessed week!