Fresh from a major victory over the Philistines, King David made a major mistake. Instead of trusting God for his next battle, he conducted a census designed to measure his military power and determine his chances of winning. As a result, seventy thousand Israelites perished. This story teaches us three very important lessons about leadership responsibility:
(1) As a leader, you’re Satan’s special target. He knows that in order to get to others, he must go through you, so he will use every strategy he has to bring you down. ‘Satan rose up against Israel and incited David to take a census.’ The average board of directors would probably have considered it a good idea, but God saw it as an act of arrogance and unbelief.
(2) Don’t be presumptuous. Don’t let your last victory make you overconfident about your next battle. There will never be a time when you don’t need God! The fact that God had just granted David a great victory should have made him more, not less, dependent on God. Paul wrote, ‘Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God. He has made us competent.’ (2 Corinthians 3:5–6 NIV)
(3) Listen to wise counsel. Joab, one of David’s generals, warned him he was making a grave mistake. ‘The king’s word, however, overruled Joab.’ (1 Chronicles 21:4 NIV) You may have great gifts, but you don’t have all the gifts. Where you have blind spots, others often have 20/20 vision. ‘In the multitude of counsellors there is safety’ (Proverbs 11:14 KJV), so listen to the people God put in your life to guide and protect you.