“The Spirit of the Lord spoke through me;
his word was on my tongue.
3 The God of Israel spoke,
the Rock of Israel said to me:
‘When one rules over people in righteousness,
when he rules in the fear of God,
4 he is like the light of morning at sunrise
on a cloudless morning,
like the brightness after rain
that brings grass from the earth.’ 2 Samuel 23:2-4
David here describes the impact of a leader who walks with God and leads in light of this reality. Note that he testifies that it was the Spirit of the Lord who spoke through him (v. 2), thus this summary regarding the impact of godly leadership is one for our attention.
David mentions two characteristics of this type of godly leadership. This leader ‘rules over people in righteousness.’ That is, they do what is right in the eyes of the Lord, for He alone, expressing Himself through His Word, is the true standard for which we can determine what is right or wrong. David’s leadership became the standard for righteousness. Note the number of passages that compare the leaders who followed David and their leadership with David and his leadership. For example, regarding King Josiah it says, “He did what was right in the eyes of the Lord and followed the ways of his father David, not turning aside to the right or to the left. In the eighth year of his reign, while he was still young, he began to seek the God of his father David.” 2 Chronicles 34:2-3
The second characteristic of godly leadership is that they ‘rule in the fear of God.’ Now what does that look like? It would seem that one who walks and leads in the fear of God is one who has a proper perspective on life and leadership. They understand that they have arrived at a position of influence not due to their own effort as much as it is God who has provided this opportunity for them to lead.
They too know that any leadership ability they have comes from Him, their Maker. He places leaders, He also removes them, and we all will be asked to give an account of our leadership to Him who gave it to us (see Hebrews 13:17). Speaking about David’s life, Paul says, “Now when David had served God’s purpose in his own generation, he fell asleep…” Acts 13:36
The impact of this leader is similar to the impact of sunshine and bright light upon well-watered, nutritious earth – it brings forth growth. This fruitfulness is seen by all and God’s hand is recognized as being upon this leader.
David was not a perfect leader, yet God used Him to lead others and become a standard for which other leaders were measured. That inspires and motivates me to strive to be the best I can be, for His glory.
How about you?