1. Should all leaders be given respect? (If, because of a personal moral failure of some kind or a complete lack of integrity, we cannot respect the individual leader we are to respect the office or position they hold.)
2. What are the dangers of failing to respect leaders? (If we believe that God is in complete control, and I do, we must respect leaders because God has allowed them to hold that position!)
3. What makes a leader someone you respect? (For me, it is a leader who leads with integrity, has moral purity and seeks to follow God’s direction.)
When we are talking about God’s leaders, God has placed them in that position and when it’s time for them to go God will remove them. “Ultimately, respect for God’s leaders is a matter of the heart!”—Do we trust God?
Today we start our study in the book of 2 Samuel. First and Second Samuel along with First and Second Kings gives us the history of Israel from the time of the last Judge--Samuel, through the time Israel was ruled by kings; the split of the kingdom into north-Israel and south-Judah; the Assyrian’s defeat of the northern kingdom in 722 B. C.; and finally the fall of Judah to Babylon in 586 B.C.
First Samuel is the record of Samuel’s birth, Samuel’s time as a judge, the crowning of Saul as King and his roller coaster reign of the Israelites and finally, King Saul’s death on Mount Gilboa. Of course, David is introduced and Saul’s determination to eliminate David after the people praised him more than they did Saul after David killed Goliath, and somehow it had evidently became known that Samuel, under God’s direction, had anointed David to succeed Saul as king of Israel. Jealousy is a terrible thing to deal with!
Second Samuel narrates the rule of King David over Israel. Almost all of David’s mighty accomplishments occurred in the first half of his 40 year reign. The Bathsheba affair was not the only exception to a great career as king of Israel. It was a sin that wounded David so badly that he never fully recovered, and it tore his family apart.
Key Themes in 2 Samuel:
· The sovereignty of God!
· The consequences of sin and God’s grace!
· The covenant relationship with David that was fulfilled in Jesus Christ! The entire book hinges on chapter seven and God’s promise to establish the throne of David forever (2 Sam. 7:11b-13).
(Summarize the events in 2 Sam. 1:1-16.)
Commemoration! Read 2 Samuel 1:17-27
1. What was David’s response to the news of King Saul’s death? (Notice that David’s men followed his example by tearing their garments in grief as well.)
2. What does David’s song reveal about David’s heart concerning King Saul and Jonathan? (Note that verse 26 must be understood in the context of the culture of that day. Even today in some cultures it is not uncommon for a man to hold another man’s hand while walking. The same is true of women in that culture. It seems strange to us and we even might place a negative connotation sexually to it in our culture. David is simply saying Jonathan was his best and most trusted friend. David’s very life was in Jonathan’s hands on many occasions.)
Showing honor to the valor of such soldiers is not the same thing as idealizing warfare. Sometimes we must fight to defend our freedom!
3. Why might it be surprising that David didn’t celebrate Saul’s death?
4. What did he recognize about Saul?
One principle for respecting leaders gleaned from David’s example is to focus on the positive aspects of the leader and speak positively about them to others.
Even when David was being pursued by Saul and his army he refused to raise his hand against the King. On at least two separate occasions David could have killed Saul and gave proof by cutting off a piece of his robe once and taking his weapon another time, as Saul slept.
5. What do we reveal about our hearts when we speak disrespectfully about our leaders?
6. Why will we show respect for human leaders when we honor Christ as Lord in our hearts?
7. In what ways should a church celebrate its leaders, especially its pastors?
Because David respected God as his ultimate Leader, he respected Saul as leader and he demonstrated characteristics of a godly leader!
Coronation! Read 2 Samuel 2:1-4a
Note: More than 15 years had passed since Samuel anointed David as king, and seven more years would pass before David became king over all Israel, but David never rushed to claim what was rightfully his. He waited on God’s timing.
1. In what ways do we typically respond when faced with a major decision?
2. What are some examples of small and big decisions we discuss with God? (Relocating our family. Changing jobs. Taking a position in the church like teacher, deacon…literally anything.)
3. In what ways does our response reveal in who or what we place our trust?
4. How does David’s first seeking God’s guidance demonstrate David’s respect both for Saul and the leadership position God had given him?
Hebron is half way between Jerusalem and Beersheba and in the territory of Judah. God sending David back to his ancestral territory indicates He was working His plan of bringing the eternal King, Jesus Christ, out of Judah.
The next step in David’s becoming king over all of Israel was to be anointed king of Judah!
5. In what ways are believers today set apart for God’s service? (For all Christians, baptism is the first step in obedience and an indication we yield our will to follow God’s will in our lives. We have ordination services for ministers and deacons. Some churches have a formal induction service for teachers, setting them aside for God’s service.)
6. What is the difference between serving God in our life and being called to be a leader? (All believers must accept their anointed role as God’s servants, including leadership. If there are leaders then there must be followers. That is where most of us are. We must be effective followers before we can be effective leaders!)
7. What makes it easy to obey God? (God’s decisions are perfect!)
Note that David did not push himself into the position that was rightfully his. He waited on God’s timing. It would take some time for the other tribes of Israel to recognize David as their king.
True humility in a godly leader shines like a bright beacon to others but is not seen by the leader!
Commendation! Read 2 Samuel 2:4b-7
1. What characteristic of a godly leader do we see in these verses?
The men of Jabesh-Gilead honored King Saul’s memory and took a risk in retrieving the body!
2. What are some appropriate ways to express loyalty and kindness to those who lead?
Godly leaders aren’t threatened by other leaders, past or present, but instead encourage people to respect all those God has placed in leadership. One of the most destructive elements in a church is jealousy among the staff. This can be on the pastoral staff or other servants in the church, teachers, deacons, directors, choir members—literally it can rear its ugly head anywhere and is very destructive!
3. How can you tell David was sincere in his commendation as opposed to being politically motivated? (David took action rather than just speaking!)
Courageous and wise leaders are rare and valuable.
Summarize and Challenge!
Think of leaders from your past and present.
Identify two leaders along with an action and a phrase that honors each.
No leader is perfect! If they don’t display the characteristics of a godly leader, don’t mock or criticize them; we pray for them and ask God to bless them and develop godly characteristics in their lives.
Instead of focusing on the negative, we focus on the positive qualities they do display and affirm them for those qualities.
Father, help us to be the followers and leaders You would have us be. Help us to stay focused on Your will and Your timing! Help us to appreciate the qualities You have given to other leaders around us. Help us not to be jealous of other’s gifts but to find the place You have for us to use our giftedness!