A True Leader
1 Chronicles 11:2
And moreover in time past, even when Saul was king, you were he that led out and brought in Israel: and the LORD your God said to you…

David's life was made up of several successive stages; and, as we read his biography and so trace his course, we see clearly - what at the time he could not see - how one position, one experience, prepared for the next. His youth was a preparation for his manhood, his court life for the throne, exile for power, rule over Judah for sway over united Israel. The seven years during which Saul's son ruled over the other tribes were the years of David's reign over Judah. At the close of this period, upon the death of Ishbosheth, the elders of all Israel came to David at Hebron and offered him the crown. This was the occasion upon which they made the acknowledgment, "Even when Saul was king, thou wast he that leddest out and broughtest in Israel." This was a recognition of the inborn qualities of true leadership, called forth by circumstances, and cultivated by responsibility and action.

I. HUMAN SOCIETY IS, ACCORDING TO THE APPOINTMENT OF DIVINE PROVIDENCE, COMPOSED OF THE LEADERS AND THE LED. Whilst in government there is much which is artificial, there is a natural foundation for the relationships which subsist. Parents direct the course of their children; elder brothers to some extent that of the younger; the capable, the self-confident, the experienced, are the natural leaders of the timid and submissive. In all human communities there are born leaders of men. If all distinctions were abolished to-day, to-morrow they would be revived in other forms. There is doubtless injustice in many political and social arrangements; but whilst the unjust acquisition and use of authority is of man, the principle of authority is from God.

II. LEADERSHIP OFTEN CALLS OUT GREAT QUALITIES. The fact of a man being placed in a position of influence and authority is sure, if he be capable and strong and under the domination of high principle, to elicit his best and most useful qualities. Especially will such a position foster habits of sound judgment and quick decision, habits of self-control and self-reliance, a just discernment of character, and aptness in recognizing ability and trustworthiness in others. Thus it is that a high position is fitted to lead to one yet higher (see this admirably shown in Henry Taylor's 'Philip van Artevelde'). It was leadership which made of the shepherd son of Jesse the warrior and King of Israel. As in other departments of life, so here, exercise promotes strength and development. Let none shrink from the responsibility of guiding others when Providence calls him to this work; strength and wisdom shall be "as his day."

III. IT IS FOR THE ADVANTAGE OF THOSE WHO ARE LED WHEN A SUITABLE AND CAPABLE LEADER IS PROVIDED BY THE DIVINE RULER. The power of "use and wont" is very strong. When men have been accustomed to be well led, their confidence in their leader grows with rapidity, and their attachment is consolidated by time. When the throne was vacant, the eyes of all Israel were turned to David. Their experience of his ability and valour, his designation by God's prophet, were the indications to them that the son of Jesse was the right man to rule over them. Events proved that they were not mistaken. The sway of David made the chosen people one great nation, and fitted them for the work appointed for them by the theocratic governor. There is in this passage a lesson specially suitable to young men of ability, education, and position. For such God in his providence has assuredly a work to do. It is for them quietly and patiently to await the indications of Divine providence, in the persuasion that faithfulness and diligence in present duty are the best preparation for future responsibilities. It is God's prerogative to train the workman and to provide the work. - T.

Parallel Verses
KJV: And moreover in time past, even when Saul was king, thou wast he that leddest out and broughtest in Israel: and the LORD thy God said unto thee, Thou shalt feed my people Israel, and thou shalt be ruler over my people Israel.

WEB: In times past, even when Saul was king, it was you who led out and brought in Israel. Yahweh your God said to you, 'You shall be shepherd of my people Israel, and you shall be prince over my people Israel.'"

The Promise Fulfilled
Top of Page
Top of Page