I went on a team retreat last week, and this book was the lone assignment. We later talked of the leadership qualities displayed throughout the stories inside. These were the ones present in Saul, David, and Absolom.
And there were many.
Some were obvious: courage and humility and diligence.
Some were also obvious, but not highly valued today. Those were things like patience, “willing to go it alone,” and “willing to embrace suffering as a teacher.”
Who embraces suffering? Few of us even tolerate it, much less welcome it. David suffered in his pre-king years. He literally fled for his life from a mad (in every sense of the word) king.
He fled alone.
Eventually he was joined by others, who became devoted followers of the young leader, but when he met them they were nobodys. They were outcasts and misfits. Not really your ideal army or anything.
We see these years as the years “before David became king.” We see the end of the story. We see how those years greatly shaped his character, and how they molded his heart after the Lord.
But did he?
We know he was sad (psalm 142). We know he was heartbroken (psalm 34). We know he was scared (psalm 59). We know he didn’t understand. We know he was lonely (psalm 63).
But then, we know he praised God even then (psalm 62). We know he prayed from the caves that the name of the Lord would be praised in all nations (psalm 57).
David was far from perfect, but God later called him “a man after his own heart” (1 Samuel 13:14). He grew into the king and leader Israel needed, praised, and followed without hesitation. The Israelites prayed for another king like him.
But who embraces suffering? “Rejoice in sufferings of many kinds” (james 1:2-3; romans 5:1-5)
Kingship isn’t promised. Immediate blessing this side of heaven is not promised, and doesn’t always come. Character is promised. A heart changed to be like his.
Take heart, friends.