Reading through the Bible together
Leadership is a valuable gift received from God, which requires very careful use. It can be a source of blessing or curse. Early in their career or new job, leaders in general, are prudent and often listen to others. Once the power is firmly established they are tempted to think that their ideas are the best and have difficulties dealing with contrary opinions.
David had been successful in his military campaigns. Domestic and foreign opponents were vanquished. Weakened by a sense of guilt because of his sin with Bathsheba, the king lacked a sober mind and ordered the counting of all the men fit for war.
Joab, the general commander of the armies of Israel, said to the king that he disagreed with the decision. From experience he knew that it was God who fought for His people, empowering many times one soldier to defeat ten or more opponents. In his opinion, counting the army meant distrusting God. Joab's arguments were not heard by the king and the census was conducted.
God saw what was done as something bad, depending on numbers and human strength. He sent the prophet Gad to tell the king that suffering and death would take place among the people. The Angel of the Lord himself carried out the punishment.
Contemplating the results of his bad choice as leader, fruit of a spiritually and emotionally diseased heart, David acknowledged "I, the shepherd, have sinned and done wrong” (1 Chronicles 21:17). After his sincere repentance, the plague ceased.
David's experience shows that the decisions of a leader have serious consequences for the happiness and welfare of those who follow him. This understanding should drive leaders to watch over their hearts and be very careful in their decisions.
Dear God, bless each leader to use his influence to serve and protect others and not for self-exaltation.
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