Power, complacency and sending (3) David, Bathsheba and the middle aged leader

This is one of those risky posts because it has its roots in a bit of speculation. So, let’ out those disclaimers in place. Treat this as a ” What if” type post rather than a ” here is the definitive exegesis and application.” 

But as  I was looking at 2 Samuel, I was thinking g about how the next few chapters get us looking at the next generation in David’s family. Things aren’ looking good, 4  sons die. Two of them try to usurp the throne and one carries out a brutal rape on his sister. The behaviour of David’s sons lead to his shame and it’ all part of the consequences for David’s sin in chapter 11.

Now, here is the ” What if” speculation. First of all, David sends for Bathsheba when he knows about her both in terms of her ancestry and her marriage. He does this following God’s promise that he will give David a future heir.  Secondly, what if David’s decisin to stay and send is not just a case of power ( his authority to do this) but also of weakness. Is this a King that used to lead from the front in his youth but is no longer in his prime and so feels it is time to stay back.

If so, then what if  at this stage, we have king who is transitioning to thinking about the succession? He has been promised a son (and quite a few commentators suggest that tgismis a future son, not yet born), who will it be. What if David is trying, a bit like Abraham did with Ishamel to sort things out? What as well if there’s still something he has to prove about his virility. He is no longer out fighting battles but here is the perfect chance to shwl he still has it ib tgr bedroom. First of all, this might help answer the question ” Why does the punishment focus on David’s sons?

Secondly, whether or not my speculation about David is true, I think that this type of dange is a real one for leaders. There is a point in every leader’s life, calling, career when they transition from the young, enthusiastic go getter to the older leader who is more dependent upon past reputation, hierarchy, powerful allies and respect for age and experince.

For a leader, age and experience can be an incredible gift and the space to think about the future and succession can be a vital opportunity.

But this can also be a risky stage.

–  Do you think you still have something to prove and does that lead to temptation?

– Are you thinking in terms of growing and encouraging the next generation. Or are you trying to manipulate the succession so your person is in post in order to secure your legacy?

As a leader will you keep going faithfully, this may mean a change to how you work but it shouldn’t lead to complacent or distraction and Christian leaders must keep their focus on Christ and the Gospel. Will you finish well. Will you end as you started, completely dependent on God’s grace?

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