In 2 Samuel 15, David is on his way out of Jerusalem. Not taking a little trip, not going out to battle… he’s running from his own son, who has decided to take over the throne. A band of loyal followers are leaving with him, hoping to get out of the city before Absalom gets back – in order to spare their lives and to spare the great city from the ruin of battle.
The Ark of the Covenant has been brought, but David chose to send it back. The Ark was the symbol of God’s presence with His chosen people (and all the power and authority that entailed for the leader of those people). Instead of taking this with him, he wanted to make sure it was with the people in what he saw as its rightful place. Listen to what he said:
If the Lord sees fit, He will bring me back to see the Ark and the Tabernacle again. But if He is through with me, then let him do what seems best to Him.
If I’m no longer pleasing God as His chosen King, I’ll get out of the way and let Him do what He wants.
David seemed to live with this mentality that God would do what God promised He would do, and that he, David, should be sure to be available for God to work through, but never in the way of what God was doing. As a result, He was willing to lay down the literal crown and kingship that God had given him if he thought God was taking it away. Rather than stay and fight, which would only end in his or his son’s death in the best case, or worse, in the destruction of Jerusalem and the death of many of the very people he’d been chosen to lead; David chose to leave his throne. He let go of the leadership God had entrusted to him thinking God may be doing something different.
Do we have the faith to do the same? Do we have the confidence in God that leads us to step aside if He is moving another direction? Do we trust that the people we serve in ministry are His & He’ll provide even if we leave our “thrones” in the hands of others?
Leadership really is temporary – and when I’m not willing to abdicate my “throne” if needed, I have to ask… Who am I really serving?