Where does leadership come from? Is it created and learned in some institution? Or is it genetically implanted in us from birth. I ask this while observing leadership in the secular world and leadership within the church. I hesitate to use examples of national leadership, but I do feel free to observe and comment on those who bring leadership within God’s Kingdom. As an example of what I am thinking, what is it that made Billy Graham one of the most outstanding leaders in the church world? In going back into history, how did Moses become the leader that he was? After all, he was hiding in the desert from Egyptian leadership. What made him capable of leading several million people on a forty-year journey through the desert and hostile territory? The question could be asked of men like Paul the Apostle, or any of the other twelve disciples.

I think of David in the Old Testament. He was but a youth when the Prophet Samuel came to Bethlehem to look for a new King for Israel. God had rejected the current King, whose name was Saul. Did David show any qualities of leadership? He was a youth. If I were selecting, I would have chosen one of the older brothers. I would have chosen one who was tall, strong, and who had the appearance I was looking for. But God said to the Prophet Samuel, “I choose David”.

When David assumed the top leadership role of God’s people, the nation was languishing. David’s highest priority as he assumed his role of leadership, was to bring the Ark of God back to the center of Israel’s worship life. The Ark of the Covenant was the center of Israel’s worship, but it had been languishing out sight and out of use for over 20 years! All during Saul’s the time reign as King, the Ark of the Covenant was never referred to. After all, Saul had enough smarts in leadership that he did not need any reminders of God.

But not the new King. His decision is stated in 2 Samuel 6;1-4. “Now David again gathered all the chosen men of Israel, and they numbered thirty thousand. And David arose and went with all the people who were with him to bring up the Ark Of God, which is called by The Name of the Lord of hosts Who is enthroned above the Cherubim. They placed the Ark of God on a new cart…so they brought Ark of God…”.

However, something tragic happened. The regulation book stated that no human hands were to touch this Holy Object. Nor were they to look inside. One man reached out to steady the Ark that was being moved by an Ox cart. As he touched this Holy Box, covered with Gold and topped by two Cherubim made of solid gold, he dropped dead. That got David’s attention.

The Ark was left there, and David went back to Jerusalem to study the rule book written by Moses that explained how this Holy Object was to be conveyed. It stated that the Ark was only to be carried by Priests and was to have poles through which the priests were to carry the Ark on their shoulders. The adjustments were put in place by David, and they went after the Ark again. This time it was successful, and the Ark of the Covenant again assumed its sacred place in the worship of Israel.

I started by talking about leadership. I could spend much time and space comparing the leadership of these two men, both Kings. Basically, there are two major differences. Saul spent most of his time in wars and chasing David, of whom he was extremely jealous. Saul felt extremely insecure around David and was determined to eliminate him. This he thought would secure his position as King. David on the other hand spent much of his time organizing worship and he put the Ark back into the central place of worship. Saul was a military leader while David was a spiritual leader.

There are at least two Psalms that are attributed to David that were written during this time. Psalm 15 says; “Oh Lord who may abide in thy tent and who may abide in the holy hill? He who walks with integrity and works righteousness and speaks the truth in his heart”. Again in Psalm 24 it is written; “Lift up your heads oh gates and be lifted up oh ancient doors, that the King of Glory may come in. Who is the King of Glory? The Lord, the strong One in battle”.

As the Ark of God was returned and put in its proper place, David, in his joy and worship, danced before the Ark as it entered the city and praised the God of glory.

Leadership can have such a powerful effect on my life. I will seek to emulate whom I follow. It can have an effect on the destiny of my life. There are many whom I would say are left in the junkyard of life because of who they chose to follow. Leaders can lead me to a higher plane, or they can lead me into deception. In this incident before us, we see both of these. David’s wife (one of Saul’s daughters), was extremely jealous of what she saw, as she was cursed to be childless for her entire life. On the other hand, the city rejoiced and received a gift from the king.

I observe three lessons from the incident.

The first is that any attempt at restoration that does not make God the center of it is futile. I cannot help but notice that as Saul became King, he went to war. As David became King, his first act was to go hunting for the Ark of God. You cannot bring restoration without God. It just does not work.

The second thing I observe is that all of our attempts at restoration are futile unless done in God’s way. David was very diligent in his first attempt to bring the Ark back to the center of Jewish life. His motive was right, but how he did it was wrong. The Ark was sacred and not to be touched! David did not know this. A man died as a result of his ignorance. God cannot be manipulated. God does not change with culture. We MUST go in search of the Ark.

The third thing I observe is that not all accept the celebration of the restored. Michael, David’s wife, watched this celebration from a distance. As she observed her husband’s joy, she was critical. After all, she was one of the previous king’s daughters. She did not appreciate change as she observed what was happening. Jealousy will kill leadership and it will kill worship.

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