Bible Study

Losing and Regaining Gravity

Michael Beck

Leaders are watched closely by their “flocks.”

And David went out whithersoever Saul sent him, and behaved himself wisely: and Saul set him over the men of war, and he was accepted in the sight of all the people, and also in the sight of Saul’s servants. (1 Samuel 18:5)

And all the people took notice of it, and it pleased them: as whatsoever the king did pleased all the people. (2 Sam. 3:36)

A “flock” rejoices when it realizes it has a righteous shepherd.

When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice  (Proverbs 29:2a)

A “flock” mourns when it knows it has a wicked shepherd.

…But when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn. (Proverbs 29:2b)

The failings of a shepherd deeply affect those under him.

And David went up by the ascent of mount Olivet, and wept as he went up, and had his head covered, and he went barefoot: and all the people that was with him coveredevery man his head, and they went up, weeping as they went up. (2 Samuel 15:30)

There is mourning when a revered leader does not turn out to be all he was thought to be.

And he said unto them, What manner of communications are these that ye have one to another, as ye walk, and are sad? (Luke 24:17)

But we trusted that it had been he which should have redeemed Israel: and beside all this, to day is the third day since these things were done. (Luke 24:21)

“Sheep” become offended and “scatter” (i.e., defect) when their shepherd fails (or appears to fail.)

Then saith Jesus unto them, All ye shall be offended because of me this night: for it is written, I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered abroad. (Matthew 26:31)

Children are embarrassed to see their parents “nakedness” (i.e. shameful behavior.)

And Noah began to be an husbandman, and he planted a vineyard: And he drank of the wine, and was drunken; and he was uncovered within his tent. And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father, and told his two brethren without. And Shem and Japheth took a garment, and laid it upon both their shoulders, and went backward, and covered the nakedness of their father; and their faces were backward, and they saw not their father’s nakedness. (Genesis 9:20-23)

Embarrassing sin and failure in our life can cause those who once honored us to despise us.

Jerusalem hath grievously sinned; therefore she is removed: all that honoured her despise her, because they have seen her nakedness: yea, she sigheth, and turneth backward. (Lamentations 1:8)

While righteousness elevates us in the eyes of our flock; sin causes us to fall into reproach.

Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people. (Proverbs 14:34)

Those who do not hate and put away the sin in their life become “smelly” and “embarrassing” to those connected with them.

A righteous man hateth lying: but a wicked man is loathsome, and cometh to shame. (Proverbs 13:5)

“loathsome” > Hebrew – ba’ash > to have a bad smell, stink

Leaders lose respect when they walk in “nakedness” around their “home” without exhibiting any shame.

… The unjust knoweth no shame. (Zephaniah 3:5)

For their mother hath played the harlot: she that conceived them hath done shamefully… (Hosea 2:5)

Such is the way of an adulterous woman; she eateth, and wipeth her mouth, and saith, I have done no wickedness. (Proverbs 30:20)

Were they ashamed when they had committed abomination? nay, they were not at all ashamed, neither could they blush  (Jeremiah 8:12)

A failure to see change in leadership causes a flock to become weary.

And he said, Hear ye now, O house of David; Is it a small thing for you to weary men, but will ye weary my God also? (Isaiah 7:13)

Fathers (and any leader) can anger and discourage those under them by persistently displaying shameful behavior in front of them. 

Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged. (Colossians 3:21)

Leaders who fail to walk in righteousness become abhorred and lose their place of authority.

It is an abomination to kings to commit wickedness: for the throne is established by righteousness. (Proverbs 16:12)

The crown is fallen from our head: woe unto us, that we have sinned! (Lamentations 5;16)

It can be a long, slow process to recover gravity when we have lost it. In some quarters we may never regain it.

But whoso committeth adultery with a woman lacketh understanding: he that doeth it destroyeth his own soul. A wound and dishonour shall he get; and his reproach shall not be wiped away. (Proverbs 6:32,33)

Nothing we do will regain us gravity in the eyes of some.

When I wept, and chastened my soul with fasting, that was to my reproach. I made sackcloth also my garment; and I became a proverb to them. They that sit in the gate speak against me; and I was the song of the drunkards. (Psalm 69:10-12)

Those with stored up bitterness will curse and attack a leader who is under God’s chastening.

And when king David came to Bahurim, behold, thence came out a man of the family of the house of Saul, whose name was Shimei, the son of Gera: he came forth, and cursed still as he came. And he cast stones at David, and at all the servants of king David: and all the people and all the mighty men were on his right hand and on his left. And thus said Shimei when he cursed, Come out, come out, thou bloody man, and thou man of Belial: The LORD hath returned upon thee all the blood of the house of Saul, in whose stead thou hast reigned; and the LORD hath delivered the kingdom into the hand of Absalom thy son: and, behold, thou art taken in thy mischief, because thou art a bloody man. (2 Samuel 16:5-8)

We try in vain to reclaim our reputation without wanting to correct our wrong. We must bear any chastening the Lord ordains as a correction to wrongdoing.

Rejoice not against me, O mine enemy: when I fall, I shall arise; when I sit in darkness, the LORD shall be a light unto me. I will bear the indignation of the LORD, because I have sinned against him, until he plead my cause, and execute judgment for me: he will bring me forth to the light, and I shall behold his righteousness. (Micah 7:8,9)

We continue to bring shame on ourselves when we refuse to be instructed in the right way.

We begin to regain honor by our willingness to see our wrong and accept reproof.

Poverty and shame shall be to him that refuseth instruction: but he that regardeth reproof shall be honoured. (Proverbs 13:18)

Humility is the key to regaining gravity.

Before destruction the heart of man is haughty, and before honour is humility. (Proverbs 18:12)

The fear of the LORD is the instruction of wisdom; and before honour is humility. (Proverbs 15:33)

By humility and the fear of the LORD are riches, and honour, and life. (Proverbs 22:4)

A man’s pride shall bring him low: but honour shall uphold the humble in spirit. (Proverbs 29:23)

More than anything, in order to regain our integrity and respect we must keep clothedin white raiment before those who are watching us.

I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and whiteraiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see. (Revelation 3:18)

Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame. (Revelation 16:15)

Being clothed daily with the testimony of Jesus Christ causes us to be a sweetsmelling fragrance to God.

The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light. Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying. But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof. (Romans 13:12-14)

“honestly” > Greek – euschemonos > decently, in a seemly manner, honorably

If our ways consistently please the Lord, He will help us win over those we have previously alienated.

When a man’s ways please the LORD, he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him. (Proverbs 16:7)

Michael Beck is a pastor in the Dallas, TX area and the main author on Signpost. Receive a daily devotional he publishes every morning via email.