King David was not a perfect king nor a perfect man. He made some serious mistake. He took a census even though he was advised against it and thousands died as a result. He murdered Uriah and stole his wife. He failed to discipline his children which led to a civil war.
David was flawed.
Yet God referred to David as the apple of his eye and promised David would always have a descendant on the throne. Jesus’ earthly lineage flows through imperfect David. King David is remembered as a Great King, a Great Leader.
What makes imperfect people great leaders.
1. Great leaders take responsibility for their actions. Each time David was confronted with his sin, he did not make an excuse, blame others, or deny it. He humbly admitted his mistake and was willing to pay its price.
2. Great leaders are repentive. David Demonstrated true repentance each time he was confronted with his mistake. He sought forgiveness from God. In his failures, David ran to God and not from God.
3. Great leaders receive correction. When confronted by prophets and even Abigail, David heeded their voice. He did not dismiss them or deem them enemies. He listened.
4. Great leaders understand grace. Even though David failed many times, he still saw himself as “the apple of God’s eye.” David understood the depth of God’s mercy and forgiveness. David knew when God said he would never forsake him. He meant it. Perhaps that’s why David wrote, “even when I make my bed in hell, you are there.” He knew this from experience.
God is not calling us to be perfect leaders but great leaders.
“Then David said to God, “I have sinned greatly by doing this. Now, I beg you, take away the guilt of your servant. I have done a very foolish thing.””
1 Chronicles 21:8 NIV