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  • Writer's pictureJared Stern

Three Qualities of a Godly Leader

Before David could ever be king, he had to learn first how to be a follower of God. Because he took the time to learn this lesson, he had the most successful reigns of any king of the kings of Israel.

We all are at times put in positions where we have to lead, whether it is a parent, boss, Awana Helper, Kids Zone Teacher, Youth Leader, or Elder. What does a godly leader look and act like? How can we be great leaders in our community?

In 1 Samuel 24:1-22 we can find three qualities that can help us see how we can be better leaders.

David is on the run from Saul who is seeking to kill David. David has not lifted a finger to try to take the throne from Saul but Saul’s jealousy and desire to keep the throne in his family has clouded his vision.

God has promised David that he would receive the throne. He knows it is coming but David is hiding in this uncomfortable, annoying, dark cave.

All of the sudden, Saul enters the cave to do his er.. business... in the exact cave where David and his men are hiding. (Anyone else feel uncomfortable/awkward? Asking for a friend...)

David’s men tell him, “God has placed him into your hand! This is how God wants you to become king! Kill him David! He deserves it for trying to kill you! Do what your heart tells you. Do what is right in your eyes. Do what seems good to you.”

When I taught over this passage recently I had to remind myself why it would have been wrong for David to kill Saul. Because in my sinfulness it looks okay for David to kill Saul for all the pain he has put David through. But God’s eyes see something different.

A godly leader seeks to do what is right in God’s eyes. (Vs. 4)

If David would have killed Saul, it would have been murder. Last I checked one of the ten

commandments reads, DO NOT MURDER.

This is so difficult to do because we are often guided by our sinful nature more than God. Yet we need to strive to put on our God glasses; how does God see what I am doing? Would He see this as right? What does the Bible say about this?

David went against everything that his men were telling him. In other words, just because everyone else is saying “do it”, doesn’t mean you should. Social Media may say it's okay... your friends may think it is okay... but you should still stop and see what the Bible says about it. What does God think about this issue?

If God is truth, if God is really all powerful, He does not need David to kill Saul so that David can be king. God doesn’t ask us to sin to accomplish his will.

David’s men think he has chickened out in verse 6. They are ready to step in and take care of Saul for him. They will kill Saul if David won’t!

But David has to remind them of another important truth: “Guys! God has made him king! God has put him where he is today! He is the Lord’s Anointed.”

What kind of message does David send to the nation/his men if he lets them kill Saul?

“You don’t like the king, you don’t agree with the person in leadership? Kill him off! Remove him forcefully.”

Wait a second... What if David does something wrong later on when he is king? What if David makes some bad decisions that his men don’t agree with later on? Their response will be, “Kill him! Take him out!”

David is not only thinking about the moment but also about what kind of standard he is going to leave by his actions.

A godly leader respects other leaders (vs. 6)

Have you seen this in our country? Out of the last three presidents, I have seen every single one bash the other political party. They have pointed fingers. They have not respected each other as leaders who have been put there by God. Do we really believe that God has placed them where they are today? That He has allowed them to be a senator, a governor, a president? If everything is really in God's control, then yes, God has put them there.

By allowing Saul to live, David was saying, “God if you are the one true God, You have the power to make me king without me having to murder Saul.”

So by respecting Saul, David was respecting God’s authority as well.

David then shows his respect to Saul in verse 8; he lets Saul see that he does not want to undo what God has done. That even though Saul is making life very difficult for David, David is waiting on God.

The third and final principle I see is that:

A godly leader does not fight wrong with wrong (vs. 13)

If someone wrongs you, do not wrong them back. David says, “God will avenge me!”

It may not be today, but God has it in his hands! He will not forget!

I have seen this principle play out in my own life many times. When my sons fight; when Noah hits Uriah, Uriah’s first instinct is to hurt Noah back. The problem is that hurting him back doesn’t fix anything! That just makes Noah want to hurt Uriah again, but worse! Again, God will not ask us to sin to accomplish his will.

So if you want to be a good leader, start by learning and following these three principles:

  1. A godly leader seeks to do what is right in God’s eyes.

  2. A godly leader respects other leaders.

  3. A godly leader does not fight wrong with wrong.

While these aren’t the only principles to being a good leader in the Bible, they are a great start. In order to be a great leader, you need to first be a great follower.

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