Sunday, March 4, 2018

Lessons for Leaders...and Followers

Whoever has said that the Old Testament is no longer relevant to Christians today has not read Kings and Chronicles! Looking just at the lives of Solomon, Rehoboam, and Jeroboam, one can see how leaders today still make the same disastrous mistakes even though they have the advantage of, not only the Scriptures, but also of history.

While Solomon starts his reign on the right foot, asking for wisdom rather than any other desirable thing, he ends his reign by forsaking God’s wisdom and following the political practice of the day, namely allying oneself to other nations through marriage…in this case multiple marriages…unequally yoked marriages.

Rehoboam, his son, does not even consult God in matters of the State and he disregards the counsel of those who had learned wisdom through the observation of the consequences of Solomon’s bad choices. Rather he seeks advice and direction from those as ignorant as himself in matters of government…his wet behind the ears peers! When world leaders (or church leaders for that matter) seek to curry favour with others for whatever reasons…whether to gain their applause or their votes or their money…they embark on a journey that will ultimately lead to division or destruction, even of that which they seek to build or maintain.

And Jeroboam! One would have thought that if ever there was a man who would have learned valuable lessons from watching the folly of his leaders, it would be him! Oppressed and exiled by a jealous leader, rebuffed by an immature and arrogant and insecure leader, told by a prophet that he would lead in their stead because of their collective lack of godly wisdom…one would think that he would seek to govern in a way that would bring unity and would foster humility and righteousness and justice…but instead he stumbles even further away from that which would bring peace and stability and prosperity to the people!

Surely our leaders in both the political and the spiritual sphere ought to read Chronicles and Kings! If they refuse to learn from Scripture or from history…if they turn a blind eye to the consequences of bad decisions – and they are not hard to find, in fact just a border crossing away…they will surely follow in the footsteps of countless others who have chosen to lead their own people into the abyss of ruin and poverty.

Why is it always so difficult to bend the knee and to seek what is good to the Holy Spirit? Is it pride? Is it stupidity? Is it sin? Are our leaders blind? Compromise leads only to more compromise. Where is the backbone? Where is the wisdom? Where is the bravery and the boldness needed to stand when all others fall?

But then, dear brothers and sisters in Christ…where are we? Are we praying for our leaders as we are instructed to in the Holy Scriptures? Really praying for them? Or are we just pointing fingers? Are we lifting them up daily - hourly - to the throne of the King of kings and the Lord of lords? Asking God to grant them true repentance and His Holy Spirit as Guide – or, indeed, asking God to remove them and replace them with those who will learn to listen? Does He not say that He holds the hearts of leaders in His hands? 

Perhaps we receive what we deserve…perhaps our hands are not as lily white as we like to believe…

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