Article - David, A Leader in Purity

Ralph Waldo Emerson once stated, “ What lies behind us and what lies ahead of us are tiny matters compared to what lives within us.” This statement defines the real essence of leadership. Great leaders are not defined by past accomplishments of future endeavors. Great leaders are distinctly remembered for their integrity of heart. For example, David was a great military leader. His leadership accomplishments range from the defeat of Goliath to the conquering of the enemy nations. Yet, when we think of King David it is not those accomplishments that stand out. David is best remembered for that one statement God made concerning him: “I have found in David the son of Jesse a man after my heart, who will d o all my will” (Acts 13:22). David will forever be remembered as a leader after God’s own heart. What made David a leader in purity? And, what characteristics can we possess to be leaders in purity?

True leaders are pure in principle. Peter Marshall, who served as U. S. Senate Chaplain in 1947, is famous for making the following statement, “Give us clear vision that we may know where to stand and what to stand for - because unless we stand for something, we shall fall for anything.” David was dedicated to doing the right thing, even when it was difficult. For example, in a cave in the wilderness of En Gedi David could have very easily assassinated his enemy Saul. He came very close to doing so—so close that he cut a corner of David’s robe off. Yet, the Scripture records that David’s heart was troubled for almost taking Saul’s life because he was the anointed of the Lord (1 Samuel 24). Even when it would have promoted his own wellbeing, David did what was right regardless of the cost. We need more leaders, like David, who God said, he “kept My commandments and who followed Me with all his heart, to do only what was right in My eyes” (1 Kings 14:8). True leaders are committed to doing right no matter what!

True leaders are pure in the pattern they follow. Swiss Psychiatrist Carl Gustav Jung made a correct observation when he said, “The true leader is always led.” David was a leader of purity because he was led by the right source—God & His Word. David trusted in the Scriptures as God’s inspired guide to man (2 Samuel 23:1-2). In the transporting of the Ark and death of Uzzah, David learned very quickly that you must “consult Him about the proper order” of things (1 Chron. 15:13). From that time forward David learned to say, “Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all the day long” (Psalm 25:5). How wonderful it would be if God’s leaders (elders, preachers, bible class teachers) said with Samuel, “Speak Lord Your Servant Hears” (1 Samuel 3:9). The church needs more leaders who live their life by a “Thus Saith the Lord.”

True leaders are not perfect, they are pure in penitence. Too often public leaders, when caught in sin, are forced to admit their wrongs but are never seen as truly penitent. For example, what do the names Elliot Spitzer & Jim McGreevy have in common? Both were high profile political figures who were caught in heinous sexual sins. So was King David! How do these men differ from David and his sin? Many times, when leaders are caught in sin they are quick to admit an “oversight in judgment” but never make any real repentance. Many leaders have the attitude popularized by Bill Cinton, “I may have smoked but I never inhaled.” Such was not the attitude of King David. When confronted with his sin he said, “I have sinned” (1 Samuel 12:13). It is evident from Psalm 51 that David’s penitence was genuine. In that Psalm David exclaimed, “For I acknowledge my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me. Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you may be justified in your words and blameless in your judgment” (Psalm 51:3-4). David was a great leader, because when he sinned (as we all do) he repented openly and took steps to make it right with God and others.

Truly, David was a leader in purity because of his pure principles, pure pattern and pure penitence. Oh, how we need more leaders like King David in the Lord’s church today. We need more leaders who will say “Teach me Your way, O Lord, And lead me in a smooth path…” (Psalm 27:11). God, give us leaders in purity!

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