2 Samuel 3:35-36 (NIV) 35 Then they all came and urged David to eat something while it was still day; but David took an oath, saying, “May God deal with me, be it ever so severely, if I taste bread or anything else before the sun sets!”
36 All the people took note and were pleased; indeed, everything the king did pleased them.
Israel’s first king had just died in battle, and David was finally taking his place as the chosen and anointed king. He wasn’t, however, in the lineage of King Saul, and for him to be received and followed by the nation he was to rule, there was a great need for the favor of the people. To function effectively in his God-given role he would need to be pleasing to them. According to this passage, how David honored his predecessor, and pretty much everything he did effectively accomplished that. Based upon our present political environment you might suppose that he was gifted at strategizing just the right politically correct move that would effectively manipulate the people to like him. He must have known how to smile, listen, shake hands and hold babies like the best politician if everything he did actually pleased them.
There was something that set David apart from Saul specifically, however, and most other leaders in general - his sincere, pure and transparent heart towards God. What he chose to do was not based upon calculated scheming to promote and exploit his perception among the people. His actions were being driven by a fear and honor of God that, originating in the heart, became demonstrated in endearing behaviors that secured his favor among the people. From the moment he was first chosen, it was indicated that God saw something in David nobody else saw - while man was looking on the outward appearance, the Lord was looking at the heart. (1 Samuel 16:7) What was made apparent in David’s life was that the condition of his heart dictated the favor his actions would garner. He was not a facade, but a very transparent depiction of a worshiping life that, while an irritation to those who had ulterior motives (King Saul), could not help but be pleasing in the eyes of the people as a whole.
Whether or not we are chosen for positions of leadership or political influence, there is a need in all of our roles for the favor of the people with whom we interact. We may be able to wield our will upon others just based upon position, but how much greater are the possibilities for truly effective relationships when hearts are endeared to us with warmth and reception. It is possible to use charisma and strategies of influence that advise in the ways of political correctness to be the one that pleases and wins them over. However, there is an example in David that is very much ours to emulate as children of the King ourselves. In seeking to please Him first, above self or any other person or entity, the behaviors that are chosen will not only be favorable to Him, but will be very pleasing in general. There may still be those who are disagreeable, but by authentically pursuing the favor of God we will very naturally acquire people’s favor that is free from the distasteful fakeness that repels rather than attracts.
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