FROM THE SERVANT GENERAL
ON SERVANT LEADERSHIP
FALLEN BUT FAVORED
February 5, 2016
Today’s reading: Sirach 47:2-11
King David was a lecherous adulterer and heartless murderer, but he was a man after God’s own heart. Huh? How can those two facets be reconciled? We learn important lessons about servant leaders.
The first, and we know this too well, is that we are still sinful. Even as we have turned away from wrongdoing and put our faith in Jesus, we still sin. At times grievously. We might not murder anyone, but we kill with our tongue. We might not have sex outside marriage, but we lust with our eyes (Jesus says if that is the case, then we have already committed adultery). Now knowing the reality of being sinful is not license to go ahead and sin. In fact, we are called to purity and holiness of life. But we do fall.
But God is merciful. When David repented, “the Lord forgave him his sins” (v.11a). Not only that, the Lord “exalted his strength forever” (v.11b). Why? David was God’s loyal, zealous and bold warrior. When the whole Israelite army was cringing in fear before Goliath, “as a youth he struck down the giant and wiped out the people’s disgrace” (v.4a). He fought for God and for God’s people, and he won, restoring their dignity.
After that, as king he tirelessly worked to establish and expand God’s dominion through His chosen people Israel. “When he received the royal crown, he battled and subdued the enemy on every side.” (v.6b-7a). God calls us to servant leadership, and we are to lead God’s troops into battle, to drive out the hordes of the enemy and to establish God’s reign. This is to be persistent and unrelenting, looking to establish the victory that has already been won by Jesus. David “campaigned against the hostile Philistines and shattered their power till our own day.” (v.7b).
Why was David so consumed? “With his whole heart he loved his Maker” (v.8b). And the Lord in turn looked to David as a man after His own heart. Heart to heart, one in vision and mission, zealous and committed, determined to establish God’s reign. And David never failed to look to God for His power and strength. In his many great military campaigns, he never grabbed the glory for himself. “For he had called upon the Most High God, who gave strength to his right arm to defeat the skilled warrior and establish the might of his people.” (v.5).
Such love of David for God was reflected in his own spirituality (remember how even as we are totally in love with the Lord, we still commit sin). He praised and thanked God for his successes. “With his every deed he offered thanks to God Most High, in words of praise.” (v.8a). He kept the people focused on God and not on himself. Even as “the women sang his praises and honored him for ‘the tens of thousands,’” (v.6a), David in turn “daily had (God’s) praises sung” (v.9a). He brought the people to worship and enhanced the worship of the people. “He added beauty to the feasts and solemnized the seasons of each year with string music before the altar, providing sweet melody for the psalms so that when the Holy Name was praised, before daybreak the sanctuary would resound.” (v.10,9b).
In fact, David composed many psalms. He was both warrior and worshiper. No wonder he was a man after God’s own heart. No wonder God favored him. For both God and people, “like the choice fat of sacred offerings, so was David in Israel.” (v.2).
As God’s holy warriors, we are fallen but favored. God be praised always.
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