The Humility that Receives Rebuke

September 05, 2015

David was one of the greatest leaders in human history and unparalleled in Israel's history. Of all of his characteristics, his humility was at the foundation of his success. And nowhere was this more evident that at moments of needed reproof. His humility made him dependent upon God and also open to others.

THE STING OF REBUKE

Everybody makes mistakes—no one likes to be corrected. But Proverbs tells us that a ""wise man"" will receive reproof and become ""wiser still."" Reproof is one of God’s greatest tools to lead leaders.

When David had committed sin with Bathsheba, it was Nathan that was sent by God to correct His servant. David could have continued to hide his sin or blame others, but instead, he quickly and fully repented. He even recorded that repentance for all of humanity to see in Psalm 51. (Would you want your specific prayers of confession recorded?)

IN ABUNDANCE OF COUNSELORS

In 2 Samuel 19, David's armies have won a great victory over his enemy who had usurped his throne. The problem, of course, was that the usurper was none other than his own son, Absalom. After the battle (in which David's men had risked their lives), instead of commending and leading his men, David retreats into mourning.

This is absolutely understandable and a sign of one of David's other great traits—his love that would even overlook his son’s treachery. But quickly, David's commander, Joab, comes and reproves his king.

""Today you have covered with shame the faces of all your servants, who today have saved your life and the lives of your sons and daughters...by loving those who hate you and hating those who love you. For you have shown today that princes and servants are nothing to you; for I know this day that if Absalom were alive and all of us were dead today, then you would be pleased. Now therefore arise, go out and speak kindly to your servants..."" (2 Samuel 19:5-7)

THE VALUE OF REPENTANCE

The next verse records David's immediate response. He heeded Joab's rebuke, rose up before the people and led them back into Jerusalem to reclaim the kingdom. If your son had died, regardless of the circumstances, you would want to do nothing but mourn. But this self-sacrificing, kingly step ""turned the hearts of all the men of Judah as one man"" (verse 14). Joab had been right in his assessment and wise in his rebuke.

CURRENT HISTORY

   . . . is being written by you. Has your humility paved the way for others around you to be able to come and help you? Do your colleagues know that you are humble enough to be approachable when they observe things that need correction? And, if so, are you responding with thankful, immediate turning or do you shoot the messenger?

“Never let the sharks know you’re bleeding,” is a common leadership axiom. But apparently, authentic leadership does not always follow this humanistic thought. The people saw David’s mourning for his son, but they always witnessed his love for the masses and the mission. And that turned their hearts as one man.

 

 




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