Memo 1075: It's Good To Be The King
Have you ever been around leaders who are impressed with themselves? Who have the attitude “I’m in charge and the rules don’t apply to me. I can do what I want, when I want”? Leadership power is one of the most intoxicating forces on earth, and David, even though he was a man after God’s heart, was not immune from its effects. Let’s look at David’s trip to the dark side of leadership for this week’s lesson on how to sit on your throne.
BECAUSE HE COULD
I’m sure you know the story of David and Bathsheba in 2 Samuel 11. It’s an event that had implications for David and his family for the rest of his life and beyond. A few things bother me about the story, however. One was what was Bathsheba doing bathing on her rooftop? I mean she and her husband lived within eye-shot of the king’s palace, so they already had money and power. My sense is that she was trying to entice the king and for all we know, her husband was hoping to gain a promotion out of the settlement. However, that’s speculation and the fact remains that David messed up badly, but what was the nature of his mess-up?
David’s problem wasn’t lust, although that would be high on his list of issues. It was the power he had. It went to his head and effected his judgment. Here was a man who had faced nine-feet-tall giants in battle but he couldn’t resist an affair with a beautiful woman? He did what he did because he was the king and as the line in a popular movie once stated, “It’s good to be the king.”
It’s good to be the king because the king is above all others, or so the thinking goes. He or she (the queen) gets special privileges others don’t get and it becomes a problem when those in charge think they have earned or deserve those privileges. Thus, when those privileges are threatened, they react with sometimes deadly force to preserve their rank and power, which is what David did:
In the morning David wrote a letter to Joab and sent it with Uriah. In it he wrote, “Put Uriah out in front where the fighting is fiercest. Then withdraw from him so he will be struck down and die” (2 Samuel 11:14-15).
David’s answer to his dilemma of a married woman pregnant with David’s child was to kill her husband. Why? Because he could. As stated earlier, it’s good to be the king.
What is the answer to intoxication from leadership power? There’s only one and Paul mentioned it in Philippians 2:19-22:
I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you soon, that I also may be cheered when I receive news about you. I have no one else like him, who will show genuine concern for your welfare. For everyone looks out for their own interests, not those of Jesus Christ. But you know that Timothy has proved himself, because as a son with his father he has served with me in the work of the gospel.
The cure for those who are infatuated with their own importance or for those who never want to have that problem is service to others, pure and simple. When David saw Bathsheba for what he could get from her instead of what he could do for her, he was defeated. She did not exist to do good for him; he was on the throne to bring good to her and all his subjects. If David succumbed to the wiles of leadership power, then you and I are not immune and must take precautions to ensure it doesn’t infect us.
Is it your goal to sit on a throne of authority and power? Then you had better get ready for it now and part of that is knowing what to do when that power is handed to you. Will you use it for personal gain or to serve and benefit others? It’s easy to choose the latter before you have the power. Once you have it, many instances, and maybe even some closest to you, will whisper, “It’s good to be the king. Do what you want!”
We should all learn from David’s debacle that promotion can be a problem if we see leadership as something we have earned and thus can do with as we choose. If we see it as God’s grace given for the benefit of others, we have a chance to enjoy our time on our throne more than David did on his. Have a blessed week!