Ancient Leadership: Nine Qualities of a Strong King

King David was the “apple of God’s eye,” a “man after God’s own heart.” Yet he selfishly used his power to sleep with Bathsheba and to murder her husband as a cover-up. King David took Bathsheba lustfully, “at a time when kings go out to battle.”  He mistimed his steps, misused his resources, and set the kingdom off balance for generations.

I wonder what would have happened that season if David led as King that time instead of as a lover?

Like David, we’re all hypocrites, and yet  … God wants us to lead those around us, the best we can.

Growing up, I wrestled and pursued fitness, I chased girls and sex as if if they were salvation. And I tried to learn everything, giving me a false sense of control.  I often felt the intense energies of the warrior, lover, and wise man, but I rarely felt connected to the king.  A king can — and should — order and balance all of these other energies.

As I seek to be a better king and a better leader in my own earthly domains, I’ve noticed some essential qualities:

  • Order: With the help of the Warrior, a king sets boundaries on relationships and organizes resources such as people, time, money, health, and physical environment.
  • Infinite Blessing/Benevolence: With infinite fatherly love, good kings want all people, even their enemies, to thrive.
  • Counsel: With benevolence, the king honors all his advisors and seeks counsel, even from those who disagree with him. Awhile back, Dmitri Bilgere wrote about Level 3 emotional intelligence.  A healthy king is at level 3 or 4, free of the rule of his own emotions as well as the rule of other people’s emotions.
  • Decisiveness: After considering all counsel, the ideal king is able to quickly assess current reality and make the right decision at the right time.
  • Legacy: Good leaders stay true to plans with long-term benefits, not just what feels good in the moment. Good kings see what’s best for the whole kingdom for generations not just a few people in one. Sometimes it is costly and lonely to hold this long-term vision.  So much of the country disapproved of Lincoln that it went to war with itself.
  • Communication: Good leaders communicate their decisions and vision concisely, precisely, and consistently, striving to promote unity and joy.
  • Joy and Creativity: A good king, leader, especially a father knows how to dance, how to play uninhibited by shame. He loves the children of the world and the child within.  They are gifts from God and a source of great joy and creativity.
  • Connected to God: A healthy king connects with our sovereign God Most High, knowing that ruling the kingdom is impossible without spiritual power from beyond the natural world.
  • Assurance: Because all these other qualities are strong, the king feels self-assured and can facilitate that same assurance and peace in those around him.

As Christ followers, we have an incredible privilege and miraculous ability to connect with the King of Kings and the Lord or Lords all the time.  And King Jesus has promised to bring a supernatural balance to this world that cannot offer His peace, does not deserve his joy, but was made for both.

He can do this in and through us.

  • How is the balance in your internal kingdom?
  • What do you do to help your people thrive in your external world?
  • What aspects of the king do you need today?
  • What other aspects of the king are there?
  • Who are models of good kings and bad kings in your life?

By Marc Mantasoot

Marc completed his initial Crucible weekend in 2004 and graduated from our two-year transformational program in 2008. He wants to help others pursue their God-given joy and free the world of ego. He is an award-winning poet, writer, small groups/discipleship coach, high school English teacher and martial arts trainer.  He provides powerful methods for life transformation at  His greatest joys: Creating scenes with his son, lining up My Little Ponies with his baby girl, and pursuing his irresistible wife.

Photo Credit: Steve Slater via Creative Commons