Leadership: the need for discretion, understanding and obedience

ruapehu-114852_6401Chronicles 22:12: Only, may the LORD grant you discretion and understanding, that when he gives you charge over Israel you may keep the law of the LORD your God.

Those were the words of David to Solomon his son, as he was passing the baton of leadership in Israel to him. He knows the challenges of leadership and prays for his son that God would grant him discretion. He also emphasised to him the importance of obeying God.


This is the ability to make the best decision possible at a particular time. Decision-making is the prerogative of leadership. The husband as the leader on the home-front is thus responsible for decision-making there, the bulk stops at his desk.

Paul said a leader in the church must first be a good leader on the home front (1Timothy 3:5). That means the life in the home front is definitely training for role playing outside of it.

When a child does not learn to respect the authority at home he is primed to be a candidate for the prison houses, except something happens and he meets Christ and submits to the discipline of God. God takes a decision to disciple us as his children; that is sign that we are not bastards, so that we don’t bring shame to his name, and we might become part of his holiness (Hebrews 12:9-10).

Solomon wrote that woe be to the nation whose leaders are children (not necessarily in age) (Ecclesiastes 10:16-17) and who eat in the morning (a symbol of priority) for gluttony. For the children-leaders leadership is about satisfying themselves. But the good leaders do not make decisions like that, it is about the people; not how to take advantage of them, but how to serve them.

David has a moment of indiscretion in his time. He took advantage of a woman whose husband was far away, on the warfront, thinking he could get away with it. He did not (2Samuel 11:1-12:23).

Before he became king, he experienced a moment of indiscretion when because of anger. He wanted to exert revenge on the house of Nabal, vowing that there would no male alive there when he is through with him (1Samuel 25).

But Abigail (Nabal’s wife who will later be David’s) talked him out of taking revenge. That would have soiled his reputation (when eventually he became king) as a king, who killed those he should be leading the future.

For Adam to eat a fruit because his wife gave it to him was a sign of lack of discretion (Genesis 3). There was something wrong with the decision-making process that is focused on today and not the future, fixated on an act regardless of the implication down the road. Discretion also plays out in the way we use our mouth so much so that Solomon wrote that a fool if he is quite might be regarded as being wise (full of discretion) (Proverbs 17:28, 29:11).

In another place, he wrote that when we draw near to the house of God, discretion should teach us to shut up and be more interested in hearing than speaking (Ecclesiastes 5:1-2). Wisdom teaches that it is better to spend a lot of time to learn than to display what you know (and showing you don’t know much).


A man of understanding has an holistic view of things. The decision-maker needs to be having a large breath of information to work with, to make the best of decisions.

Firstly, why don’t you read through the bible to have a balanced view of the whole scriptures, get to know the content of the bible for yourself? Do you know how you can do that? If you read four chapters of the bible a day, you’ll read the whole bible under twelve months.

Paul said that because of the strong foundation Timothy had of the scriptures, it helped him to be a wise young man (Wisdom has discretion and understanding as components) (2Timothy 3:15). There is something to gain from reading the bible through for a year. It is a SMART goal. It is Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant (really) and Time-bound.

How about starting on it the first day of next month? What would have to lose? Nothing, but you have a lot to gain in spiritual understanding, and commitment training, as you wade through the boring and the interesting chapters, for the sake of enlarging your understanding.

Paul prayed or the church in Ephesians that they God should give us the spirit of wisdom and understanding in the knowledge of him. But if you don’t value the scriptures enough to want to read through it, they with what would the spirit of wisdom and understanding work in your life? The scripture is their raw material.

The scripture is a special document; Jesus said they testify of him (John 5:39). Seems to me if you want to know more about Jesus you will need to get it on the pages of the Old Testament. What about the New Testament? Don’t even go there. It pulsates with the very life of the Holy Spirit as he glorifies Jesus. The whole of scriptures were released by the Holy Spirit and he is all about glorifying Jesus. If you don’t understand the Son, then you don’t understand anything really.


If understanding does not lead to obedience, then it is not really understanding but mere head knowledge and. If you understand it, you will act on it with good result. If the focus is on the truth, that it will produce a changed life (John 8:31-36). The psalmist prayed: teach me your ways oh Lord and I will walk in your truth (Psalm 86:11).

Walking with God involved knowing his truth and walking in it. Those who are focused only on knowledge will be classified by Paul as ever-learning but never coming to the knowledge of the truth (reflected in changed lives). Those who act without the appropriate knowledge, Paul classified as full of zeal but empty of God.

Paul rebuked the Corinthian Christians that they don’t have the knowledge of God, which he described as being shameful thing (1Corinthians 15:33-34). That was reflected in the many reference to inappropriate behaviours in that church. He concluded that they cannot handle the high issues of wisdom because they are carnal (unspiritual), babes (1Corinthians 3:1-3), the kind of people Solomon said should not be put in leadership position.



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