When is a leader not a leader?
When he is too easily led by the opinions of others.
In his sermon on Sunday, my dad preached about David sparing, for a second time, the life of King Saul (1 Samuel 26). Saul had been trying to kill David for several years by this point, forcing him and his followers to spend their lives as fugitives living in caves or wherever they could find shelter, all because of Saul’s jealousy of David’s gifts, faith and anointing.
David comes across Saul asleep, with his spear beside him. It would have been the work of a moment to run the king through and claim the crown for himself. In fact, his companion urged him to do so – perhaps he suggested that this was the way God was going to fulfil His promise to David and make him king. It certainly must have seemed that way to David. But David didn’t succumb to the temptation this time any more than he had a couple of chapters earlier; he refused to lay a hand on the one whom God had anointed as king.
He was able to stick to this principle, my dad suggested, because of two similar but slightly different character traits; consistency and constancy. The dictionary.com definition of these traits reads:
steadfast adherence to the same principles, course, form, etc.
the quality of being unchanging or unwavering, as in purpose, love, or loyalty; firmness of mind; faithfulness.
Maybe some of his followers wished David wasn’t so principled, unwavering and faithful, I’m sure many of them were frustrated by the length of time it was taking for their dreams to be fulfilled. They knew David was a better king than Saul, they must have been desperate to get him on the throne, but David knew better than to circumvent God’s timing. His people might be frustrated, but better that than a displeased God.