1 One day news came to David that the Philistines were at Keilah stealing grain from the threshing floors. 2 David asked the Lord, "Should I go and attack them?"
"Yes, go and save Keilah," the Lord told him.
3 But David's men said, "We're afraid even here in Judah. We certainly don't want to go to Keilah to fight the whole Philistine army!"
4 So David asked the Lord again, and again the Lord replied, "Go down to Keilah, for I will help you conquer the Philistines."
5 So David and his men went to Keilah. They slaughtered the Philistines and took all their livestock and rescued the people of Keilah. 6 Now when Abiathar son of Ahimelech fled to David at Keilah, he brought the ephod with him. 1 Samuel 23:1-6
There are some great leadership insights in these few verses.
First thing I noticed was how often we do what we know to do without asking God first. Think about David, he is a warrior, he's been trained to fight, his natural tendency would be just to go and fight, but he didn't. He asked the Lord.
Usually when we are comfortable, confident that we can handle the task, we just go and do it without consulting God. David shows us a different pattern. He didn't rely on his past experiences; he waited and received a fresh command.
Second, when a leader proposes a direction that is unfamiliar or dangerous they will run into objections. The men's concerns were valid, they would now how have two enemies, Saul and the Philistines, that they would possibly have to go against out in the open, away from the stronghold. Besides it was King Saul's responsibility to deal with the Philistines.
In leading Christ followers I've found those are two very prominent issues, comfort and responsibility. We constantly have to lead people out of the safe areas where they've been able to hide to the more difficult open terrain where they will be exposed to greater risk. We also have to challenge people to do the "good works" even if it appears not to be their responsibility, which ultimately is.
Third, David listened to their objections and went back to God. He didn't call them "wimps" and diminish them, nor did he give in and say "okay we'll stay". He took it before the Lord, again.
Fourth thing I noticed is, when those you lead
know that you have spent serious time
seeking the will of God, they will follow you into impossible situations. By doing this it opens their eyes to divine possibilities awaiting them. But it starts with a leader who acts in obedience to the will of God.
God delivered on His promise, or should I say promises.
Did you notice that Abiathar brought the ephod? Who? Brought the what?
Read the blogs from yesterday and the day before about Ahimelech, the priests and Abiathar, who escaped from being killed and came to David.
Here's the other promise that was fulfilled:
27And there came
a man of God to Eli and said to him, "Thus the LORD has said, 'Did I indeed reveal myself to the house of your father when they were in Egypt subject to the house of Pharaoh? 28 Did I choose him out of all the tribes of Israel to be my priest, to go up to my altar, to burn incense, to wear an ephod before me?
I gave to the house of your father all my offerings by fire from the people of Israel. 29Why then do you scorn
my sacrifices and my offerings that I commanded, and honor your sons above me by fattening yourselves on the choicest parts of every offering of my people Israel?' 30Therefore the LORD, the God of Israel, declares: 'I promised that your house and the house of your father should go in and out before me forever,' but now the LORD declares: 'Far be it from me, for those who honor me I will honor, and those who despise me shall be lightly esteemed. 31Behold,
the days are coming when I will cut off your strength and the strength of your father's house, so that there will not be an old man in your house. 32Then
in distress you will look with envious eye on all the prosperity that shall be bestowed on Israel, and there shall not be an old man in your house forever. 33The only one of you (that's Abiathar) whom I shall not cut off from my altar shall be spared to weep his eyes out to grieve his heart, and all the descendants of your house shall die by the sword of men.
34 And this that shall come upon your two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, shall be the sign to you: both of them shall die on the same day. 1 Samuel 2:27-34
Whoa! He made good on His word!