David: The Little Big Man, Part 7 in the David Series of The Account of 4 Kings
The reason given for the greatness of David's stature among the Old Testament saints was his humility. He was a man who thought better of God and little of himself by comparison; not just in theory, but in practice.
How to Discern a Humble Man
Until a man's pompous arrogance becomes disturbing, it may generally go unnoticed. On the other hand, humility can be interpreted as lacking self-confidence, weak, and in our culture, lacking leadership skills. How does a humble man behave?
In Moses' case, he started as a military general, city builder, and in line to lead the greatest nation in the world at that time. Yet, of him, God says, "Now the man Moses was very humble, more than any person who was on the face of the earth" (Numbers 12:3). Of course, God did not say that of Moses at the beginning of his life. Only after chastening him and setting him aside for over forty years and then bringing him into a work that would break the strongest of men did God proclaim Moses' humility.
Saul hunted David like a criminal, unjustly, for fourteen years, and during that time, David prayed for his life and grew closer to God. Don't despise the chastening of the Lord; it brings forth the peaceable fruits of righteousness to all that are exercised thereby. (Hebrews 12:11).
David lived the life of a man who shed much blood as a mercenary. He was imperfect in many ways. The Bible says, "Now there was a famine in the days of David for three years, year after year; and David sought the presence of the LORD, and the Lord said, "It is for Saul and his bloody house, because he put the Gibeonites to death." (2 Samuel 21:1). God rejected Saul for his disobedience because he did not destroy the Amalekites, yet he put the Gibeonites out of rebellion, pride, and selfishness.
How do we discern a humble leader? By correctly answering the question, what does God desire, and how does the man behave? To determine rightly about a person's spirit, he and we must know God's will rightly from His Word, and without idolizing or unduly criticizing him.
A Little Big Man in my life
In 1977, my wife and I began to attend the Elohim Bible Institute, by which some extraordinary men of God blessed us for three years. One of those men was the president, teacher, and former missionary with the Sudan Interior Mission. He left the mission and people that he loved to assume the role of president in place of his father, who departed to be with the Lord.
In short, He was one of the largest men I have had the blessing to know. More times than not, he wore overalls and did manual labor around the school. He was unpretentious, loving, and patient toward the student body. He always saw individuals and never lumped students into one category or another. He was always most serious about the things of God. If he spoke in chapel, you always knew God was there and with him.
On one occasion, when he entered the chapel, I knew right away that something was wrong. He could be serious but never uninviting. That night was a rare occasion when, if you knew him, you could tell he was distraught. He asked the entire student body to stand. The founder had in mind the training of older and mature adults for ministry work in the Church. Nearly all the students were married with children.
As he approached the pulpit, he asked the students to stand, then instructed all those who voted in the town's election that day to sit down. It was undeniable that only one person sat down. He then gave the numbers by which pornography carried the vote and was allowed in the town. He asked everyone remaining to be seated. With the day's events fresh in everyone's mind, he preached on the topic, "It is sinful when a righteous man fails to act. Only speaking for myself, my stature that day was diminished by no small amount, but I have never failed to vote since that day, and not without prayerfully considering what was at stake, especially the state of my soul.
Proud Leaders Entice their Followers to Pride.
Humble Leaders make Humility a Gift to be Received.
Humble Men Unite the Kingdom of God.
Proud Men divide the Kingdom of God.