The Whole Versus the Individual


"David sang the victory lament for Saul and his son Jonathan, and he ordered that the Judahites be taught The Song of the Bow." — 2 Samuel 1:17–18


It is hard to believe that David felt not one twinge of joy when Saul died; after all, Saul had made his life miserable for nearly twenty years. The sad truth is that neither Saul’s life nor his death glorified God. For that, David was sad, and in his lament of the bow, a song of sorrow, he chose to remember Saul’s accomplishments. David could have chosen to focus on the cruelty Saul inflicted upon him. Instead he chose to view Saul’s death from a national perspective rather than a personal one. God and Israel were David’s primary concerns, not himself, and he realized that he was merely one individual in an entire nation. It was largely this “kingdom” mentality, a teamminded approach, that allowed him to maintain proper perspective.

David was so set on kingdom thinking that he ordered all of his men to learn the words of his nationally-based lament. No one was allowed to rejoice because of Saul’s death. David even ordered an Amalekite messenger killed because of his alleged involvement in the death of the king.

There is a bright side to the relationship between Saul and David. Because of Saul, David learned lessons about life that helped him step into his new role as king. In dealing with Saul, David learned lessons about warfare, politics, leadership, justice, fairness, forgiveness, and respect for authority. Most importantly, he learned to trust God in all circumstances. David’s negative experiences refined his character and placed him in situations he never would have chosen for himself. To his surprise, however, he learned useful and valuable skills in the wilderness.

Just as He did in David’s life, God is working behind the scenes of our lives, orchestrating circumstances that will develop Christlike character in us.


1. What is the root of individualism, and how can it affect your team?
2. How can you teach the “kingdom” mentality to your team?
3. How can negative relationships or experiences be used to build unity and oneness?


Extra Reading: 2 Samuel 1:17–27


Lord, bless me with a kingdom mentality that will build team unity. Amen.