Author: Venessa Holtzhausen
Times of failure not only reveal a leader’s true character, but also present opportunities for significant leadership lessons. Following a major victory over the Philistines, King David made a major mistake. The king chose to listen to Satan, stopped trusting God for the defense of his nation, and undertook a census. His pride in the growth of his kingdom blinded his judgment. Had his spiritual advisors temporarily left the area? Or had David ignored their counsel? Either way, David failed miserably—as do most leaders at some point in the journey.
David’s willingness to take responsibility for his foolish action demonstrated his depth of character. The king refused to project blame, even though the Scripture states that Satan provoked him. David repented and accepted punishment from the hand of God, acknowledging the mercy of God and trusting in the grace of God. Even so, David’s error snuffed out the lives of seventy thousand Israelites. When leaders mess up, many people suffer.
Many leaders attempt to hide failures, blame others, or run from God. Not David. He admitted his failure and repented. Although he faced many difficulties, David worked to restore his relationship with God and did whatever he could to minimize the consequences of his failure in the lives of others (1 Chr. 21:16, 17).