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Many times, we as the society tend to underrate the meek and lowly. This can be seen in the manner through which treat others due to their race, sex, age and physical structure. Thus, they appear to be aliens. However, God has a purpose for creating everyone and it is for this reason that man should respect and honor others despite their pitfalls. King David of Israel is a good example of such stereotypes and underrating. David was the last son in the family of Jesse an Emphrithite who lived in Bethlehem. As the lastborn, he had to look after his father’s livestock while his brothers joined the military. When Samuel came seeking to anoint new King of Israel after the failure of Saul, his father felt that he should not be presented for anointing. When Samuel insisted on seeing all the sons of Jesse with David included, he was the newly anointed king of Israel. With God’s grace upon his head, David is an exemplary leader for everyone. While David was a great with immense success and exemplary leadership qualities he has many weaknesses and failures as this paper will highlight.
David’s journey in the Bible with starts with Saul’s defiance to God’s simple instructions. He was to destroy the Amalekites and everything that they owned. This was God’s punishment to the Amalekites for what they had done to the Israelites. Saul was to lead in the execution of the punishment. Saul destroyed all the Amalekites as commanded. However, he spared King Agag of the Amalekites and the finest livestock from the land of the Amalekites. This act annoyed God and thus Samuel informed Saul of it before slaying Agag. Samuel was very sad over Saul’s acts and loss of kingship. When God saw this, he ordered him to fill his horn, go to Bethlehem in the house of Jesse an Emphrithite, and anoint one of his eight sons as the next king. In Jesse’s house, Samuel was highly interested in Eliab because of his physical appearances but God rebuked him saying He does not consider physical appearances rather he considers peoples heart. When David’s brothers summoned him from the pastures, the Lord asked Samuel to anoint him.
After the anointing, Lord’s spirit departed from Saul and evil spirit occupied him. The spirit tormented Saul for very long period. Saul’s attendants advised him to seek a harp player who will make the king feel better. Another servant suggested of seeing son of Jesse who plays harp very well. This is how David started living in king’s palace.
During David’s life, he was able to show high levels of leadership qualities. These qualities included:
The Bible depicts David as a very loyal servant to his master, friends and God. David spends all of his life worshipping and praising God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob since when he was a boy fighting with bears until his death. Moreover, after his anointing, David does not go attacking Saul to take over kingship. He does not kill Saul even when he has the chances of doing so (1st Samuel 24: 3-22). He gives an excuse that Saul is God anointed one and should not die by his hands. He is annoyed and kills the man who beheaded Saul. He also spares and rewards Mephiboseth handsomely as one way of keeping his promise to Jonathan.
David is willing to pay for his mistakes and he does not argue with God for the punishments that he gets for his mistakes. After the death of Bathsheba’s son, he cleans up and resumes his duty after fasting and crying. This amazes his servants at the palace. Moreover, after census and its three days punishment and death of his subjects, David urges God to punish him and his family for the mistake done rather than the innocent citizens are being punished for what they have not done.
David also shows his submissiveness to God, his prophets and his master Saul. He respects and does everything that God orders him to do through his prophets and priest. For instance, he builds an altar in Jerusalem for Gods worship when Gad orders him to do so. Moreover, during his reign, he is able to avoid confrontations with Gods prophets, Moore (2003).
David is concerned with lives of people around him. Even when this people offend him, David spares their lives. This is evident when he met Abigail after her husband insulted him. When Abigail apologizes, he spares her and her husband. After Abigail’s husband dies, he remarries her. David still mourns his son Absalom and wishes he should be the one who was to die instead of his son. David does this despite his son’s rebellion against him.
David as a leader is also generous. He shares what he acquired with everyone around him. He proves this point when he invites Mephiboseth, Jonathan’s son to his table. He also rewards him by giving him his grandfather’s wealth and servant. Moreover, he wishes to reward Barzillai and when he declines the offer he extends his kindness to Kimham (2nd Samuel 19:31-40 New International Version).
David is one of the most serene leaders of Israel and a leader of his own kind. After his anointing as a king, he does not force Saul out of the throne. Despite, all the mistreatment from Saul, he is still feels Saul is the anointed one. He spares the lives of those who rebel against him for example his own son Absalom. Moreover, when Abner reinstate Ishbosheth as King of Gilead, he was not in a hurry of destroying them. He left them alone until when they killed each other.
Courage was David’s second name. As a shepherd, he fights fierce bears that were attacking his sheep. With a sling and pieces of stone, he also fights against and kills Goliath, the giant, when he scared all of Israel. This restored people’s confidence in David. David was also able to sneak into Saul’s camp and cut his robe when he was asleep even when Saul wanted to kill him apart from leading Israelite army on several successful wars.
As a king of Israel, David was able to achieve a lot. His success included establishment of monotheistic religion in Israel where people worshipped only one God. David achieved this through attributing his success to God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and composing of several Psalms in praise of this God. He was the enforcer of the Ten Commandments. He also united both northern and Southern kingdoms of Judah and Israel apart from defeating his Israel’s enemies like the Ammonites, Philistines, Amalekites and Jebusites in war. This gave him the opportunity to expand his Kingdom and establish political stability. Additionally, David established Jerusalem as city of God through creation of Altar in Jerusalem and moving the ark of covenant to Jerusalem (Ferreira, 2009).
Like other humans, David too had weakness that made him sin against God. David made two major decisions that annoyed God and made God punish him and the people around him. The first mistake that David made was adultery and murder. One day as David was moving on the roof of his palace, he spotted Bathsheba, wife to Uriah, (a Hittite and one his soldiers) taking bath. Her beauty filled David with lust that he desired sleep with her. David summoned her and made love with her. Eventually, she was pregnant and sent David a word. David summoned Uriah from the battlefields and asked him to go home to his wife. Uriah refused and slept at the gates of the palace. David then sent him to the frontline where the ammonites killed him. After mourning his death, David remarried his wife. This annoyed God and he sent Nathan to warn him. God punished him by taking away the son begotten to him by Bathsheba.
The other sin that David committed was ordering the census of his soldiers. God had helped David in most wars against his enemies. The act of counting of the soldiers really annoyed god because it showed lack of trust/faith in God and belief that success in a war was because of large numbers of soldiers. After the census, God sent Gad to warn David. David was to choose one of the three calamities that were to befall him due to his mistrust in God. The three calamities were either: seven years of famine in Israel, or flee from his enemies for three months or three days of pestilence in Israel. He opted for three days of plague, which killed seventy thousand people from Dan to Beersheba.
David was a great leader as shown above. Despite all his achievements, he also had some weaknesses and sinned like other ordinary men. The sin or mistake does not matter to us humans what matters is what we do after the sin and that is to repent. However, this does not mean that man should sin knowingly because he/she will repent. We should also be ready to serve others and respect other people and their lives like David for us to be good leaders.