How to Control King-Sized Egos: The Examples of David and Moses

egosquashDespite his heroic feats, David is the opposite of a Hollywood action hero. He is more the anti-hero; the guy who doesn’t rely solely on his own power to be the victor, and walks away humble. If anything, the Lord was his stunt man, director, producer and all the credit went to Him.

David never made the mistake of many kings in that he didn’t turn arrogant or cocky for long. The simple truth is, God never allowed him to. Throughout his entire life, David went through life-threatening trial after trial after trial, and suffered in the face of poorly, if not completely undisguised opposition.

  • Saul wanting him dead out of jealousy, and because he realised David would be the next king. 1 Samuel 18:5-8
  • The guilt of the death of the priests of Nob being on his head, as he’d gone to them when on the run from Saul, then lied. 1 Samuel 22
  • Illness which hit him mid-life bought humiliation. 2 Samuel 21:15 (Probably diabetes.)
  • The challenge of others, such as his son, Absalom, sabotaging his authority and wanting his throne. 2 Samuel 15-18 and Psalms such as Psalm 38:12-15
  • Problems with Isra’el being weary of war and wanting a better deal economically. Psalm 4:6
  • Guilt over his sin with Bathsheba, the murder of Uriah and resulting death of his baby son. 2 Samuel 12
  • Conflicts between his tribe, Judah, and the other northern tribes, who felt he’d favoured Judah, and thus attempted to overthrow him. 2 Samuel 20
  • Gut wrenching mistakes such as the Census, which cost many lives. 2 Samuel 24

That is enough to crush many people and it is guaranteed to produce deep humility. You can win many battles and take many wives to prove your status, but when your life is under threat and you’re dependent on God for deliverance, it’s really hard to get a big head. David never dug himself out of danger. He relied on God, not his ability as a warrior, then he gave the full glory to God.

“I will praise You, LORD, with all my heart;
I will tell of all the marvellous things You have done.
I will be filled with joy because of You.
I will sing praises to Your Name, O Most High.
My enemies retreated;
they staggered and died when You appeared.” Psalm 9:1-3

David’s humility is also seen in repeated requests to have God judge him, in order that he would stay on the right path.
“How can I know all the sins lurking in my heart?
Cleanse me from these hidden faults.
Keep your servant from deliberate sins!
Don’t let them control me.
Then I will be free of guilt
and innocent of great sin.
May the words of my mouth
and the meditation of my heart
be pleasing to you,
O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.” Psalm 19:12-14

Another point to consider is that kings are used to people obeying them. It is easy to become accustomed to bowing and obedience and make the mistake of treating God in the same way: “I ask for help, You give it when I want it.” It is possible that some of the “how long” times which David experienced, were God letting David know that He would not be at the beck and call of a king. God is sovereign and above the reign of mankind. Making David wait would reinforce the correct order and again, keep a royal ego under control.

Moses has a similar story. Despite the status he was given in order to lead Isra’el out of Egypt and into the Promised Land, he was very well grounded. Numbers 12:3 tells us: “Now Moses was a very humble man, more humble than anyone else on the face of the earth.” Twice, God offered to wipe out Isra’el’s rebellious tribes, and give the covenant promise to Moses and his descendants. Twice Moses refused, to honour God’s reputation before the whole earth, and to save the nation he loved. [Ref. Exodus 32:9-10 and Numbers 14:11-12]

submissive-faithIn contrast to movies such as The Prince of Egypt, which portray his story, Moses life in Pharaoh’s court appears to me, not to have been easy. He knew he was a Hebrew and was so angered by the treatment of his people, he killed an Egyptian that was mistreating a Hebrew slave and had to flee. Pharaoh didn’t save his precious boy, Moses. He had nowhere to run for preferential treatment.

It is debatable as to whether Moses ever fit into the royal household, or whether he always felt like an outsider. Unless his speech impediment had a physical cause, that kind of insecurity and turmoil could have caused his stuttering; (which oddly, is never mentioned after the Israelites leave Egypt.) He was hesitant to approach Pharaoh to ask for the release of the Hebrew slaves, which also indicates that he knew he would not be treated like a long-lost adopted son. Tough lives develop character and few had it as abundantly as Moses did. Thank God both Moses and David did stay humble. Many millennia later, we are still benefitting from their achievements and example.

So next time life gets you down and appears to be falling apart, take heart. Maybe God is allowing your pain to keep you humble and gentle as well. Neither David or Moses were likely candidates to become the leader of a nation. You never know where the Lord will take you.

“My heart is confident in You, O God;
no wonder I can sing Your praises with all my heart!” Psalm 108:1


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Being Still In The Lord – For Those Who Prefer Action

Folkert Gorter DSC_0631_1_900“God You can tell the waves ‘be still’
Tell the ocean roar to pass
Lord until it does
I’ll wait here…
And I will sing songs in the night
Praise in the storm – You’re God it in all
And I will stand – I’ll be still and know
Whatever may come, You’re God in it all” [*Source below.]

Stillness is not my natural habitat. I like to get things done. I prefer neat, timely answers and something that I can actually, physically do, to get to wherever I need to go. So the idea of being still before the Lord and waiting for His reply, healing, or deliverance is not a comfortable one for me. I am more like the prophet Jeremiah when he said, “My heart, my heart–I writhe in pain! My heart pounds within me! I cannot be still…” Jeremiah 4:19a

But Scripture clearly says: “The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still.” Exodus 14:14 and in the sons of Korah’s words: “Be still and know that I am God!” Psalm 46:10a

Stillness is a spiritual trait we are encouraged to pursue. Being still, means you are not controlling God, or your circumstances; you are stopping and allowing God to be in control. That will always bring the most perfect results, but it is oh, so very, very hard to do.

God won many battles for Isra’el. There were times when the people had to take up arms and fight with the Lord’s active backing, but there were other times when they had to wait on God to do all the work. Nothing has changed. Being still with your focus remaining resolutely on the Lord, continues to be one of the most powerful weapons in our spiritual arsenal.

“I wait quietly before God,
for my victory comes from him.
He alone is my rock and my salvation,
my fortress where I will never be shaken.” Psalm 62:1-2

David then emphasises again:

“Let all that I am wait quietly before God,
for my hope is in him.
He alone is my rock and my salvation,
my fortress where I will not be shaken.
My victory and honour come from God alone.
He is my refuge, a rock where no enemy can reach me.
O my people, trust in him at all times.
Pour out your heart to him,
for God is our refuge.” Psalm 62:5-8

This is an important point that David is trying to get across.

David was a man of action too. He was an excellent planner and an outstanding warrior. He’d learnt to wait for deliverance in his own life, and knew that deliverance does indeed eventually come. The frustrating, annoying, pivotal piece of the puzzle, that often seemed to be malfunctioning, was the timing of the help. Deliverance can never turn up fast enough! That doesn’t just apply to David, but to us as well. However, until the Lord has worked in the background to accomplish the best possible outcome, wait, we will. It’s the only way.

We have to trust God. He knows what He’s doing.

800px-Harpist_hands_img_4990-bThis is a song that David wrote for pilgrims who would be visiting the new temple in Jerusalem, once Solomon had built it. Again, he is emphasising the need for letting God be in control: not people. It puts things into perspective. God sees every aspect of every trial we face, whereas we only see one side. Leaving the decision making to Him is a wise move.

“LORD, my heart is not proud;
my eyes are not haughty.
I don’t concern myself with matters too great
or too awesome for me to grasp.
Instead, I have calmed and quieted myself,
like a weaned child who no longer cries for its mother’s milk.
Yes, like a weaned child is my soul within me.” Psalm 131:2-3

So if you feel that the Lord is telling you to be still, or if you need to be at peace in a long waiting period, here are practical suggestions on how to wait in stillness.

– Don’t retaliate verbally, or in kind, (whatever the offence was.)
– Don’t dive into any decision you don’t feel a peace about, especially if an answer is debt.
– Stop frequent panic praying. You’ll just stress yourself more, trying to force an answer.
– Go do something mindless, e.g. a household job. Sometimes answers come when you’re focussed on something else and not fretting.
– God will act in His time, not yours. Be prepared for a long wait. Things may need to click into place behind the scenes (spiritually, or in other’s lives,) and you can’t force or control that.
– Be prepared for a surprise, as often the answer God gives you doesn’t look like you thought it would; it will be better.
– Don’t try and bargain with God to get an answer. E.g. “If I donate to that cause, would you please?” Whether it’s money, devotion or work you’re willing to give, God is not a vending machine. You cannot put something in, then expect something out.
– Resort to praise when stressing out. Put on your worship music and sing, as David did.
– Don’t let anything convince you that a lack of an immediate answer means that God hasn’t heard you, isn’t acting on your behalf or doesn’t love you.
– In the meantime, list what you are grateful for and go do something small to bless someone else. It will take the focus off you.

Remember that it’s alright to get upset when waiting for an answer. The Word of God encourages us to show God our emotions, and you wouldn’t be human if you didn’t feel scared, hurt or worried. [Ref. Lamentations 2:19 and 1 Peter 5:7] It can be frustrating; David suffered the same way. Just let stress lead you back to dependence on God, not into taking matters into your own hands and blaming the Lord.

*Lyric source: “Songs in the Night” by Matt Redman, off his album, Unbroken Praise
Words and Music by Jason Ingram, Jonas Myrin, Matt Redman © 2015


Not even a human warrior could care for Isra’el as the Lord did. This is a quick list of the battles the Lord won / engineered for Isra’el. Who else compares to this?

  • Crossing the Red Sea – Exodus 14
  • Victory over the Amalekites – Exodus 17:8-16
  • Promise to fight for the people – Exodus 23:27-31 and Deuteronomy 7:7-8
  • Jordan River dry crossing – Joshua 3:15-16
  • Fall of Jericho – Joshua 6:20-21
  • Ai – Joshua 8
  • Amonites – Joshua 10:11
  • North captured for Isra’el – Joshua 11:16-20, especially verse 23
  • South captured for Isra’el – Joshua 10:40-42
  • Deborah and Barak – Judges 4:14-15
  • Gideon – Judges 7
  • Samson – Judges 16, especially verse 30
  • Ark of the Covenant against the Philistines – 1 Samuel 7
  • Jonathan against the Philistines – 1 Samuel 14
  • David and Eleazar son of Dodai – 2 Samuel 23
  • David and Shammah son of Agee – 2 Samuel 23

Battles Won for Judah

  • God defeated the army of Jeroboam as Abijah and his army trusted God. 2 Chronicles 13
  • God saves King Jehoshaphat in battle – 2 Chronicles 18
  • Battle with Ammon, Moab, and some of the Meunites – 2 Chronicles 20
  • God helped Uzziah in his wars against the Philistines – 2 Chronicles 26
  • Rescue of Judah under the leadership of the righteous King Hezekiah – 2 Kings 19


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