Leadership lessons from David’s life

1 Samuel 16:1-13 – When Samuel arrived to anoint Israel’s greatest king, David wasn’t even on the list. Like Cinderella, he was left at home to do his chores while the big boys dressed up and paraded before Samuel the prophet.10407994_860914467270904_5386330754561094944_n

Leadership lesson – Those who appear most qualified by human standards are often least qualified by God’s standard. God reserves some of His greatest Kingdom assignments for the meek and lowly, those with neither clout nor credentials (see 1 Corinthians 1:26-29). God had David’s number – his time had come. God told Samuel to rise and anoint David, for he was the one. When God calls you, you don’t need to jockey for position. You need not resort to power posturing, manipulation or self-promoting. Just show up being yourself, relaxed and humble. Remember, you are chosen! God knows what sheep pen you are tending to right now. He has your number. Your day will come!

1 Samuel 16:14-23 – In the heavenly realm of things, God had already removed the kingdom from Saul and given it to David. But on earth, the time between David’s anointing and his enthronement was long, hard, with many delays and detours (15 years).

Leadership lesson – The road to royalty and honor was one of servant-hood, suffering, risk and rejection. Sometimes it is tempting to think that just because God has chosen us for a particular task people will fall in line and follow us. Not so! For many leaders rejection comes first and reigning later. The way up is down! Humility is the only way to realize God’s greatness in our lives. He will work His will through us not by prestige, not by position, but through serving, suffering and sacrificing for others.

1 Samuel 17:1-11 – A well-armed, imposing enemy paralyzed an entire nation with a weapon more devastating than biological or chemical warfare – the enemy used fear! Imagine the army of Israel in shock, dismayed and terrified—all because the enemy used taunting words (see v. 11). And Goliath did it for 40 days straight!

Leadership lesson – a leader will have voices of a Goliath that come to intimidate what is in you! A leaders’ Goliath comes in many shapes and sizes. His tactics may change, but his aim is always the same: intimidate your calling and purpose to the point of inertia and inaction.

1 Samuel 17:17-31 – Long after he was anointed king, David was still counting sheep in the desert while his elder brothers fought Israel’s fierce enemy, the Philistines. But David was in for a “promotion” by simply carrying bread and cheese to the battlefront for his brothers. From sheep herding to pizza delivery!

Leadership lesion – learn to be faithful in the little things (Luke 16:10). In God’s kingdom big doors swing on small hinges. The smallest assignments somehow fit into God’s big plan and will usually surprise you! David’s pizza errand seemed ordinary, mundane and of little significance! But it took him to the threshold of greatness. When David heard Goliath shout his usual defiance, he responded with holy zeal for God’s honor: “Who is this uncircumcised Philistine (v.26)? Enough was enough! That day Goliath aroused a mighty giant in a little errand boy and the rest is history. Faithfulness is the avenue of God’s promotion!

1 Samuel 17:28-37 – David’s elder brother accused him of immaturity and presumption. Saul took him for an over-confident youth making big talk, “You are only a boy and he [Goliath] has been a fighting man from his youth” (v.33). In other words: “David, you’re no match – you don’t have the experience for such big things”! What a reality check!

Leadership lesson – Perspective is everything! David saw things differently.  Goliath was in for a reality check–right between the eyes. Goliath would suffer the same fate as any beast that ever preyed on his sheep. Perspective showed David that this overgrown Philistine was outside the covenant and that he had defied the armies of the living God. With God sized faith we can face every giant-sized challenge confronting the church or our nation today.

1 Samuel 17: 37-40 – When new blood emerges with creative ideas and fresh initiatives, we’re sometimes tempted to saddle them with Saul’s armor. Consider the temptation from David’s point of view. Imagine, swaggering around in Saul’s armor! After all, David was the anointed king-in-waiting. What better way to make his entrance, impress the crowd, outsize his smug brothers, and signal to his peers that he’s moving up, going places!

Leadership lesson – You cannot wear someone else’s anointing – their anointing is already taken – nor should we expect someone to operate in our anointing! How many of us have yielded to this same temptation in its many modern forms? The lure of respectability, endorsements, certification, legitimacy, title or position. Some of these things have their place but often they’re nothing more than—Saul’s armor! While we appreciate the sincerity of the Saul’s in our lives, we must, nevertheless, always tell the truth – “I cannot wear this because this was your’s – please let me be me”!

Learning to be like David – Life Coach Brad!





About bradkeller

Brad has been in the full-time ministry for 37 years and has pastored in North Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Oklahoma and Vermont. His passion has always been leadership and that journey has taken him to teach leadership in 23 nations as a leadership life coach. Brad has a BA in Religious Studies from North Central University and a MA from Southwestern Christian University. Brad and his wife and daughter live in South Central Florida where he does life coaching, leadership consulting and public speaking full time.
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