Humility: The Essence Of True Leadership

“Then went king David in, and sat before the Lord, and he said, Who am I, O Lord God? and what is my house, that thou hast brought me hitherto?…” (2 Sam. 7:18).

Humility is definitely a high-quality characteristic in the life of a leader. It shows others that the leader understands their own strengths, but understands that he or she also has weaknesses of their own as well. This is what separates a great leader from a poor leader in the economy of God’s Kingdom.

Understanding The Text

In these verses, we observe David’s response to Nathan the prophet’s disclosure of God’s promise to establish David’s house in Israel. David’s response is one of humility as a result of the God’s reminder to him that it was He Who chose David above others to be king over His people. This lesson in remembering is something David cannot and does not take lightly.


We see the shift from the mighty warrior in previous chapters back to the infamous shepherd boy we have all grown to love. Why? Because of the purity with which he approaches his relationship with God. His deference to God’s will above his own shows us that humility is honorable and is indeed honored by God with a promise of faithfulness and hope (vv. 13-16; 1 Pet. 5:5-6).

Why Is This Important To Us?

There are several reasons why this is important to us. The Bible teaches us in Proverbs that “…before destruction the heart is haughty (proud or full of pride), and before honor is humility…” (18:12). It also teaches us that “…by humility (or the reward of humility) and the fear (reverence) of the Lord are riches, and honor, and life…” (Prov. 22:4). Jesus teaches us in Gospels that “…whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted…” (Mt. 23:12; Lk. 14:11).


The essence of true leadership is humility. Today, some people in positions of leadership believe that “ruling with an iron fist” will command the respect of others. However, nothing could be further from the truth. Remembering where we began on our trek to success and prominence, as well as, Who orchestrated our steps, will take us a long way. In the end, it will also help us to obtain the better things to come.

Sean Mungin, author of “The Thorn In The Flesh”

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