Truth to Power

Then Joab went into the house to the king and said, "Today you have humiliated all your men, who have just saved your life and the lives of your sons and daughters and the lives of your wives and concubines. You love those who hate you and hate those who love you. You have made it clear today that the commanders and their men mean nothing to you. I see that you would be pleased if Absalom were alive today and all of us were dead. Now go out and encourage your men. I swear by the LORD that if you don't go out, not a man will be left with you by nightfall. This will be worse for you than all the calamities that have come upon you from your youth till now."

So the king got up and took his seat in the gateway. When the men were told, "The king is sitting in the gateway," they all came before him. 2 Samuel 19:5-8

You have to be a great friend of the King to talk to the King the way Joab did. If he weren't such a friend, he would be signing his own death certificate with that speech. But fortunately, David took it for what it was: a stern rebuke about the state of his men.

Leaders need advisers like Joab. They need men who will speak truth to those in power despite what it may cost them. I'm afraid those kinds of advisers are few and far between. Similarly, we need leaders who can handle the truth the way Joab presented it. Again, leaders tend to avoid unpleasant truth. Great leaders, though, are not afraid of being wrong.

Pray for truthful advisers. Pray that they will give sound, thoughtful advice tempered with the truth. Pray also for receptive hearts of leaders. It could the the president of a country or it could be the pastor of a church. Both types of men (and women) are needed.

This Post Has One Comment

  1. Hubie Goode

    “There’s a great deal of talk about loyalty from the bottom to the top. Loyalty from the top down is even more necessary and is much less prevalent. One of the most frequently noted characteristics of great men who have remained great is loyalty to their subordinates.”
    – General George S. Patton, Jr
    I think Joab knew what Patton did and was totally right to call David on it. David, fortunately, was not about being right and having his way, and this was his saving grace.
    Just goes to show you how nothing is really new in this life.

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