“David defeated them there. And he said, ‘The Lord has broken through my enemies before me like a breaking flood.’” 2 Samuel 5:20
The boundaries we set for ourselves determine the direction of our lives. Boundaries and leadership are subtle teachings throughout the Bible. That’s one reason why we can read a Bible verse one day then read something much more in-depth with that same verse on another day. But, even with that, certain ideas about this came to mind when I was doing my morning Bible study recently.
Know Which Boundaries (Borders) are Changeable.
King David, more often than not, was the one defining his own boundaries. His style of assertive leadership is why we still study him to this very day. It’s clear that David was not a “head-strong” reckless person. His life was not marked by selfish desires. Instead, he sought God’s will for his life on a regular basis.
David thought out his steps wisely enough, throughout most of his entire life. He escaped great danger to himself and his men multiple times. He even abdicated his kingly throne once rather than go to war against his own son who sought to take his dad’s place on the throne.
Even in the beginning of David’s adulthood, he had to run for his life from King Saul’s tirades. But, while “being on the run” several hundred men followed David’s lead faithfully. Just think of the responsibility of feeding all of them even just once a day.
When I read about David’s life it seems that he could’ve easily been overwhelmed with fear, responsibility, and other trails that go with leadership positions. But, even when he herded sheep as a teenager he did not flinch at the constant responsibility of protecting his father’s sheep from wild animals.
However, in the above-mentioned verse we still David who had just been crowned King over Israel, making important decisions by seeking God’s advice first. He was in his mid-thirties by this time. And on this particular day that the verse is referring to David knew he was out numbered and his men were not well equipped for battle.
But, still he had to decide on whether to go to war or not. This was when his reign had just gotten started. What a great way to start ruling over several thousand people, and multiple towns. When he felt confident on receiving God’s answer, then David went to war.
The odds were against him and his “rag-tag” army in many ways. He, himself, had been on the run for his own life against King Saul for about fifteen years prior to this moment. When David was still in his teens King Saul had brought him into the palace to play his harp. Music was the one thing that calmed Saul down. But, when he was in a bad mood he tried to kill or have others kill David (1 Sam. 19:1).
Now it was David’s turn to be King of Israel. His reign had began on a rocky note. Much like his whole life had been up to that point. When David was in his early teens’ he’d been anointed king over Israel. All of this had happened when Saul was in the middle years of his reign as king over Israel. But King Saul didn’t know anything about David when the teenager was asked to play his harp for the royal court.
In the fifteen-plus years later God had put David through several experiences that were meant to sharpen his leadership abilities and expand his own outlook on life. Or in other words David’s natural borders increased. Sometimes it happened by necessity and sometimes it happened by him seeking God’s will in things.
Now, it was his time to lead, but he didn’t know which way to go. He sought God’s guidance. He could play it safe and tell his few hundred men to go back home. Or he could rally his army to run toward the battle. He chose to run toward the battle.
This event had been such a defining experience for him that David had a vision of an earthen brim breaking forth from an overflow of water. He saw God using plain old water to force what seemed strong and unbreakable to fall apart and wash down the river in chunks of clay, boulders, and logs.
In his youth David had been a simple shepherd boy who was not even mentioned by his own Earthly father, but only as an afterthought. David had no real importance in the family hierarchy throughout his childhood.
However, God saw the leader that was inside David. That’s why God’s Spirit was poured out on him all the days of his life.
The power and control you seek defines your borders. Your borders define the style of leadership and direction in your own life.
“Then Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the midst of his brothers. And the Spirit of the Lord rushed upon David from that day forward.” 1 Samuel 16:13