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Ground Level - Plus One

April 18, 2017

King David’s power and influence grew mightily during his seven-and-a half years of independent rule while at Hebron. He became king over all Israel. For the most part, David consolidated forces during this time-frame by using much wisdom, discernment, and political maneuvering. Through conquest, servitude, alliance building, or allegiances pledged to him from those who wanted to be on the right side of history (and stay alive), King David masterfully put together a mandate to wrest full control of power and lead the nation of Israel.

One of the ways he consolidated power and authority was by being an intelligent dispenser of information with a communication style that involved all levels of his organization of governance, along with those citizens at the ground level. David understood the power and symbolic importance of keeping everyone involved and in-the-loop on major decisions. Well, almost everyone!

His kingly approach of getting down to the ground level is a textbook leadership style that everyone in organizational life can learn from. Keeping close to the masses and allowing them to contribute a voice in crucial matters helps build morale and teamwork, ultimately leading to collaboration, buy-in, and consensus. Abraham Lincoln called it, “taking public opinion baths.” What happens when we leave out the “One” who is most able to impact the course of history?   

We read in 1 Chronicles 13:1-4 the following discourse:

“And David consulted with captains of thousands and hundreds, and with every leader.” (1 Chronicles 13:1)

“And David said unto all the congregation of Israel, If it seem good unto you, and that it be of the Lord our God, let us send abroad unto our brethren every where, that are left in all the land of Israel, and with them also to the priests and Levites which are in their cities and suburbs, that they may gather themselves unto us:” (1 Chronicles 13:2)

“And let us bring again the ark of our God to us: for we inquired not at it in the days of Saul.” (1Chronicles 13:3)

“And all the congregation said they would do so: for the thing was right in the eyes of all the people.” (1 Chronicles 13:4)

At first glance, I see a leadership style in King David that is full of discernment, wisdom, and one that is right on the money. A style that brings King David among the people without fear, soliciting their opinions on a matter of critical spiritual importance (moving the ark). Every good organization and leader should be practicing this style of leadership (getting on the ground level) in some shape, form, or fashion.

However, what is so paradoxical (and creates the conundrum) about the verses above is the stated intent to more diligently inquire of God when the ark is among them. Unfortunately, they immediately proceed moving the ark of God with only a cursory mention of the Lord. The second verse in 1 Chronicles 13 states, “and that it be of the Lord our God.” That is like someone about to make a major decision in present day speak, saying, “If it’s the Lord’s will.” It also reminds me of the verse where it talks about “be ye warmed and filled.” This sounds to me like mere words with little-to-no heartfelt significance and God-honoring inquiry. Nowhere in the rest of the chapter does it even mention going to God in solemn and earnest prayer about the pending decision to move the ark. The results of that decision not to seek the Lord in diligent prayer was disastrous and cost a human life. In 1 Chronicles 13:9, 10 we read the following:

“And when they came unto the threshing floor of Chidon, Uzza put forth his hand to hold the ark; for the oxen stumbled.” (1 Chronicles 13:9)

“And the anger of the Lord was kindled against Uzza, and he smote him, because he put his hand to the ark: and there he died before God.” (1 Chronicles 13:10)

If David and the people of Israel had consulted and “inquired of God” before moving the ark, would God have reminded them of the holy nature of the ark and the utmost care involved in its removal based on previous divine instruction? Could they have saved the life of Uzza and given the ark the holy and righteous respect it deserved? It appears that it may have been more of David’s desire (and the consenting people of Israel) to move the ark at that particular time than it was the Lord’s desire. In this Bible account we also see much sacrifice, dancing, and fanfare, with no indication of King David earnestly seeking God’s face on this matter. 

I believe that the logic of the considerations in the paragraph above is appropriate. If David had consulted with God, he would not have been displeased and/or surprised at the outcome of Uzza’s death. God would have reminded them of His divine plan for carrying the ark. The breach upon Uzza would have been understood by all involved based on God’s repeated instruction. While the entire circumstance of relocating the ark was a costly teaching moment based on the sacred nature of the ark of God, it is one that King David took to heart. After a brief temper-tantrum of displeasure, we read in the very next chapter of Chronicles how David handled his next major decision point. In 1 Chronicles 14:8-10 we read the following:

“And when the Philistines heard that David was anointed king over Israel, all the Philistines went up to seek David. And David heard of it, and went out against them.” (1 Chronicles 14:8)

“And the Philistines came and spread themselves in the valley of Rephaim.” (1 Chronicles 14:9)

“And David inquired of God, saying, Shall I go up against the Philistines? and wilt thou deliver them into mine hand? And the Lord said unto him, Go up; for I will deliver them into thine hand.” (1 Chronicles 14:10)

Communicating to the people at the ground level of the organizations and ministries that we are responsible for is of utmost importance. However, most vital is our heartfelt determination to seek the opinion of God (Plus One) when making major decisions. The “Plus One” in the title of this article should be first and foremost in our approach to righteous decision-making. How are you doing with your “Plus One” decisions? Have you allowed room for the Creator God to impact major decisions in your life? 


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