If we do a character study of successful leaders in the Bible, a few common threads are found; one of which is humbleness. Throughout the Bible we find that the Lord seeks the lowly, those who in human eyes would seem disqualified for serving the King of Kings, and those who simply find themselves unworthy of such honor. In God’s eyes, humbleness is a key “ingredient” for faithfulness, obedience and leadership.
Let us look at the books of Samuel, particularly the stories of Samuel and David. In the beginning of this book we see that God seeks and raises people of humility and obedience. We learn of Hannah’s faithfulness and God’s blessing of Samuel; she dedicates him to the Lord as a gift of thankfulness to Him. In contrast, we learn of Eli’s (a priest and spiritual leader) lack of discipline of his sons who were wicked in the things they did. God chooses Samuel over the house of Eli and we learn of Samuel’s faithfulness in ministry (1 Sam. 2:11), his eagerness to serve (1 Sam. 3:3-4:10) and his reluctance to replace Eli in ministry (1 Sam. 3:15-21).
The same happens to David and Saul. David began as a lowly shepherd boy, humble beginnings, he became “a man after God’s own heart” (1 Sam. 13:14). 1 Samuel 8-31 we see how God chooses the house of David to rule over the house of Saul because Saul failed in keeping God’s commandments. In 2 Samuel 1-24 God honors David’s obedience with the promise of a dynasty. In 2 Samuel 23 we see that God chose to bless David even though he made horrendous mistakes, one after the other! However, David exhibited true repentance in his heart, he was quick to acknowledge his mistakes and God honored him for his humbleness and obedience. His humbleness is evident in 1 Chronicles 29:11-14 as he gives credit to God for all that he is and has:
¹¹Yours, O Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, for all that is in the heavens and in the earth is yours. Yours is the kingdom, O Lord, and you are exalted as head above all. ¹²Both riches and honor come from you, and you rule over all. In your hand are power and might, and in your hand it is to make great and to give strength to all. ¹³And now we thank you, our God, and praise your glorious name. ¹⁴But who am I, and what is my people, that we should be able thus to offer willingly? For all things come from you, and of your own have we given you. (ESV)
What a lesson of repentance, forgiveness and humbles we find in David. O that we would strive like David to empty ourselves of “us” and to fill it with Christ.