In a culture of self-reliance, personal achievement, and individual growth and success, I was struck by these simple words from King David (King of Jerusalem – 1040-970 BC). He writes (sings), As for me, I am poor and needy. Come quickly, oh God! You are my help and my deliverer. Lord, do not delay (Psalm 70:5). What a way to end a tune, “poor and needy…?”
Thanks to Steve Brown for clarifying in his book, Leading Me, “poor and needy” is exactly right. David is calling out to the Creator. David knows his weaknesses, his sin. Despite a killer resume, David is expressing humility before God. Humility, as both Brown and leadership guru Jim Collins note, is the key factor in a great leader.
But Brown also points out that this verse shows David’s dependence on God – another key to his leadership. David is not relying on his own strength or past achievements, he is relying on, “my help and my deliverer.” David is singing about his partnership – his dependence on the Father in an intimate and relational way – “You are my help and my deliverer. David partners with and is dependent on his Dad.
David is also trusting his Dad. As Tom Petty reminds us, the waiting is indeed the hardest part. David was often shaking in his boots as he had quite a few enemies. Thus David sings, Lord, do not delay. It’s not a question of if, but when. David knows he’ll receive help. Like kids with their parents, David is crying, “Hurry up, Dad!”
These three traits: Humility, Dependence, and Trust are not popular in our secular culture. Our world leans toward Credentials, Striving, and Self-Reliance. These values, however, create the “Rat Race” we all know too well. It creates the illusion of freedom and independence, but it’s really a self-perpetuating trap. It’s slavery.
Despite some dark marks on his record, David models humility, dependence, and trust. This is real freedom. It’s lived out in a vibrant and loving relationship with the Father. This is where one can thrive, where one knows and is secure in their place, where character is built, and where the power of God can explode out of us in the most unexpected of ways.
Thanks for reading,