I’m not sure about you, but I am loving this study about how to faithfully follow and work under a leader.
The past couple of days and weeks we have learned about how you do not need a title or power to do good, why we need to hold onto God’s promise for our lives, how a best friend helps us, and why it is ok to hurt when we have done good.
Today we are studying chapter 23 of 1 Samuel and Psalm 24. The title for today’s study is, No Matter How Tough Things Might Be, Seek God’s Guidance.
In chapter 22 we learned about how David did not need a title or power to do good when it came to protecting his family and a dead priest’s son, Abiathar. Now that David has safely secured his family and has committed to protect Abiathar he hears news that “the Philistines [the arch enemy of the Israelites] were stealing grain from the threshing floors” (23:1).
The Philistines stealing grain from the threshing floors was a serious deal back in David’s time. Grain was one of the main ingredients in much of their food and was vital for health and stability. David is in a tough situation here. He is hiding from Saul, yet David goes to God and asks if he and his men should fight the Philistines to prevent them from taking the grain.
Another time we see David seek God’s guidance in his difficult circumstances is when Saul hears that David is in the city of Keliah, where David and his men had just defeated the Philistines. Saul determines that he is going to go there and capture or kill David. David learns that Saul is coming to the city of Keliah and David immediately goes to God asking for His guidance. As David goes to God for guidance, God tells David that the leaders of the city of Keliah will betray him to Saul if he stays there. So David and his men decide to leave the city based on God’s instruction.
Here is some great commentary about what goes on in chapter 23 and David’s response:
David sought the Lord’s guidance before he took action, probably through the Urim and Thummim that Abiathar the priest had brought (23:6). He listened to God’s direction and then proceeded accordingly. Rather than trying to find God’s will after the fact or having to ask God to undo the results of our hasty decisions, we should take time to discern God’s will beforehand. We can hear him speak through the counsel of others, through his Word, and through the leading of his Spirit in our heart, as well as through circumstances.
Throughout all of these stories of David it is good to keep in mind that we are seeing his inward qualities that might be why God chose him to be king. As we learned back in 1 Samuel 16, David had been anointed to eventually become the king of Israel (the position which Saul currently holds) by Samuel who was the prophet and judge of Israel. In order for Samuel to anoint David to become king there must have been specific character traits and qualities David had as a young boy that would have allowed David to be a good king. And I believe these stories we are reading about David reveal some of those qualities, which led God to choose him to (eventually) be king of Israel. These two stories of David seeking God’s guidance are a glimpse into the character qualities that might be why God chose him to be king.
Here’s a few other observations about David from this chapter:
- David was not operating on Saul’s direction. He was operating with Saul’s permission. Meaning: David was doing something (by going to Keliah to defend the Israelites from the Philistines) that Saul would have wanted him to do, and would be ok with him doing.
- David waits for God’s direction, not the king’s direction.
- We see David’s reliance on God and maybe an example of why he is called a “man after God’s own heart” (1 Samuel 13:14).
- David asks for God’s guidance eight other times in 1 & 2 Samuel.
David seeks and follows God’s guidance.
David was able to use the ephod that Abiathar brought which probably had the urim and thummim. The urim and thummim were how priests and leaders determined God’s will in those times. We also see that David goes directly to God to ask for his guidance.
If we work under a poor leader we should seek God’s guidance more.
My friend says that when things are bad at work, he seems to run more away from God, which might be a natural tendency of most of us. However, the worse the leader we work under, the more we should seek God’s guidance. Just as David had to seek God’s protection and help when Saul became a poor leader, we too need to seek God’s guidance and help when we work under a poor leader.
We need to seek God’s guidance and follow it.
My friend also believes that it might be a blessing to have a weak or poor leader.
Because when you have a weak or poor leader you learn to come closer to God. When working for a poor leader we need to seek God’s guidance about what to do in difficult situations. If you work for a poor leader there will be odd circumstances you find yourself in where you will not know what to do and that is where where we need to seek God’s guidance and follow it.
When you have a weak or poor leader you are able to grow him or her through your submission. You grow that leader through your submission because you show her what it means to be a faithful follower and being an example of a great employee.
In closing this lesson, there is a song David wrote about this season of his life. I believe the song clearly speaks to us as we go through difficult things and how we should seek God’s guidance.
 Student’s Life Application Bible (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 1997), 291.