Let me as you this today: how teachable are you? As you consider this I want you to read this portions of Scripture: 1 Samuel 18:1-5: Then David numbered the people who were with him and set over them commanders of thousands and commanders of hundreds. 2 David sent the people out, one third under the command of Joab, one third under the command of Abishai the son of Zeruiah, Joab’s brother, and one third under the command of Ittai the Gittite. And the king said to the people, “I myself will surely go out with you also.” 3 But the people said, “ You should not go out; for if we indeed flee, they will not care about us; even if half of us die, they will not care about us. But you are worth ten thousand of us; therefore now it is better that you be ready to help us from the city.” 4 Then the king said to them, “Whatever seems best to you I will do.” So the king stood beside the gate, and all the people went out by hundreds and thousands. 5 The king charged Joab and Abishai and Ittai, saying, “Deal gently for my sake with the young man Absalom.” And all the people heard when the king charged all the commanders concerning Absalom.
What we see here is David is getting his army ready to go to battle with Absalom’s army which is the army of Israel. Absalom is David’s rebellious son who has chased David out of the country and is now going to battle with David’s followers. David breaks his army into groups under his three commanders so that they will be able to support one another and it all fits with David’s military plan. Remember David is a gifted military leader, strategist, and warrior. His age and problems have not changed this and you see at the end of verse 2 that David, who is now somewhere in his sixties, is ready to go out and fight with his army! He is ready to battle for and with his troops which shows what kind of leader he is and the lessons he has learned in his life. The people though tell David to not go fight but stay there in the city behind the wall. What they say to David is right because earlier there was advice given to Absalom, to which he did not listen too, which said if you just kill King David we will win this war right away because they will not want to fight without David leading them. Now these men are saying to King David, “If they would happen to kill you, it is all over. We would rather have you be support personnel in the city and directing things from here than going and being killed.”
You know that had to be a hard thing for David to hear because he was a warrior and man who wanted to lead his troops to battle. Now the question is; how does David respond to what he is being told? His response is a godly one. He says: Whatever seems best to you I will do. You can always tell where a man or woman is in their walk with the Lord by how teachable they are. When a person is willing to listen to counsel and be instructed and seek advice, you know that they are walking with the Lord. On the other hand; if they are grinding their teeth and fighting it and being stubborn and bullheaded, they are normally walking in the flesh and out of fellowship with the Lord. Being teachable is a sign of humility. Being teaching says that you know that others have more insight than you do at times in life. When you are not teachable you are saying to everyone else that you know it all. When you are un-teachable you lack humility and are full of pride. Humility is about others and pride is about self, what does your life and actions show?
Again I ask; how many of us would say that we are teachable? Most of us would probably say “of course I am teachable.” Some might give a list of Bible studies they have gone through and how long they have been in church and a Christian to prove it. However, the unfortunate reality is that not everyone is teachable. In fact, many people in our culture and even in the church remain un-teachable despite the numerous Bible studies they participate in or the years they have been a Christian or in church. They are all components to learning but they do not prove that we are teachable. The only thing that really proves we are teachable is the fruit that comes from our lives. If we are being taught by the Scripture then there should be spiritual fruit flowing out of our lives. Be teaching means – apt and willing to learn – regardless of your age. It means you hear the word of God or godly advice or counsel, accept what you hear, and you take actions on it. That is what we learn in Mark 4:20, which says “And those are the ones on whom seed was sown on the good soil; and they hear the word and accept it and bear fruit, thirty, sixty, and a hundredfold.” You see shown here that it is – to hear, to accept, and to bear or act.
Being teachable does not mean that we should just accept anything that comes our way. We should be evaluating and testing out the things that we are taught which keeps us from being deceived. Consider what Acts 17:11; “Now these were more noble minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily, to see whether these things were so.” We are to examine to see if things are true.
Being teachable is a mind and heart issue because being teachable has to do with beliefs which come from both the mind and heart. Our beliefs dictate most if not all of our behavior. If we do not allow truth to enter our mind and change our beliefs we then end up being hardhearted and closed minded and not being teachable at all. By David’s response we see that he was completely teachable.
So how apt and willing are you to learn? How teachable are you? Are you getting better at being teachable?