Those That Serve—January 29, 2017

Vol. 2, No. 5 – 2017broom-tree

He went alone into the desert  . .  sat down under a solitary broom tree and prayed he might die. 1 Kings 19:1

How is this for hope and change? Elijah, God’s leader, moves from his mountain-top experience into the valley of depression. He does not think of the victory where fire fell from heaven, and 450 false prophets of Baal were routed.

What is wrong with this leader?

This leader runs; takes off. He does not stop to collect $200—he just goes around the board. He gets a death threat and moves into a tail-spin. Think about his spiral.

  1. He does not pray in seeking God’s wisdom; He does not ask if this is what God wants
  2. He does not ask how to address the enemy of his ministry (Jezebel)
  3. By the time he pauses from his run, he is 100 miles south—time to change sandals
  4. He is alone; left his co-worker in Beersheba
  5. He is isolated—in a time of life’s desert
  6. He is tired—running non-stop to escape the pressure
  7. He is disappointed—the victory on Mount Carmel did not bring anticipated change
  8. He is discouraged—he gave it his best shot; it was not enough
  9. He is angry—it is easy to get angry with the stuff of life
  10. He says he has had enough—it is easier to give up when things do not go your way
  11. He wants to die—that will get him away from all his responsibility!

How many of us have been there—even in recent days? We can work ourselves into such a state that we run when God wants us to stay put. We struggle to hear His voice, because we are so busy mumbling about life we cannot hear Him.

Elijah lays down under a Broom Tree and whines about the events of life.

What do we learn from the event?

  1. Grace is woven through the event
  2. When we do things in a wrong way; God does not necessarily rattle us with a sermon—He simply provides our needs
  3. God does not preach here; He simply provides
  4. God does not rebuke here; He offers relief
  5. God knows exactly what we need
  6. God is fully able to come alongside even if we are running on empty; even if we are expended
  7. God knows our emotions
  8. God knows our state of burnout

God knows we need to eat substance, knows we need rest, knows we need activity, knows our medical needs, and knows we need time with our family. God knows we cannot lead when we are on a downward spiral.

God knows when we have had enough. His grace will meet us at our point of need. He will provide the strength we need—He does not want us to run from our problems. God’s intent is to walk alongside of us so that we may walk for and in Him.

The eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to Him. 2 Chronicles 16:9

Those Who Do Not Serve—January 22, 2017

Vol. 2, No. 4 – 2017Judges 21

A man named Micah lived in the hill country of Ephraim. Judges 17:1

In all my life, I have never heard a single reference from pulpit or song writer or study leader or anyone else at all  . . . never one single tiny whispered sound  . . . that related to the Micah of the Book of Judges. The reason is that the story is so crazy, so mixed-up, that obviously the parsons and clerics are too embarrassed by it to let out a single peep—John Hercus

In Judges 17:1-13 we find the story of a widow and her son, Micah. At the death of dad, the equivalent of $1000 disappears. That may not sound like a lot in today’s economy, but it is a huge sum in that day. The widow looks for the large sum without avail. Actually, Micah stole it, using the cash to make investments.

Not because he feared his mother, but because he found there was a curse associated with the money, he returns it to his mother. A sorry mess follows. The cursed money is posed as an offering to the Lord in the form of making of it an idol. Micah and his mother set up idolatry in the family. The mother pretends to dedicate the whole sum to the Lord; however, only 1/5 is actually used. Seems reasonable, does it not, to hold back in order to do well in life.

The $200 brings a fine hand-made silver idol. These two characters remind us of another pair in the Book of Acts, who plotted something similar—Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 5:1-11).

This act of the widow and Micah should have never happened; they were familiar with the injunctions of God’s Law and Covenant that forbid an act such as this.

Be careful not to break the covenant the Lord your God has made with you. You will break it if you make idols of any shape or form, for the Lord your God has absolutely forbidden this. Deuteronomy 4:23-27

Micah and his mother had a house full of gods. They might have shuttered at worshipping Baal; however, they felt OK with human-formed idols that spoke to syncretism.

Today, supposed leaders substitute accountability using toys, liturgical rubbish, paraphernalia, and even some left over pet rocks. They create shrines in order to grasp a supposed upward bounce in authority and respect.

Micah even bowed to the need to be looked upon by the culture as “one with them.” It was a season of self-flattery. He appointed to himself a star aide—a Levite to be his priest (his own son).

In those days Israel had no king, so the people did whatever seemed right in their own eyes. Judges 17:6

It is a tragic error for a person to create an environment that portends to be the right thing to do, knowing it is wrong. Leaders can be caught in the trap; perhaps you also can be entrapped.

A person’s pride, ignorance, and self-flattery underscores the sense of self-justification, magnification, and daring improprieties in an attempt to rise above others. Most often when a leader seeks to rise above, they do not see the stupidity they embrace, nor do they compare their actions, speaking, and thinking against absolute truth.

It is always the right time to destroy false idols and get right in the heart. Ezekiel 14:6-7

Profiles in Leadership—Appointed Leadership–January 15, 2017

Vol. 2, No. 3 – 2017

When the people were in their terrible plight, caused by their own behavior, The Lord raised up judges (to bail them out).  Judges 2:16

Have you ever pulled up to a traffic light, watching the colors go from green, to yellow, to red? Then the light goes back to green, and your car stalls! Behind you, a car blasts its horn, then a multitude joins in.

After the death of Joshua (11th Century, B.C.), the people of Israel experienced a similar event. However, their lights were of four colors: green, black, red, and yellow. They were indicative of four patterns of their lives before God:

  1. Return to God
  2. Rupture from God
  3. Retribution by God
  4. Rest with God

Over 350 years, the Israelites, seven times, faced cyclical events filled with struggles, disasters, and heartaches. The book of Judges gives the history of their exploits, and introduces us to the small band of men and women called judges.

They were atypical to today’s judges; they did not function to simply keep the people at peace and be law-abiding. These judges were champions; in addition, they were out of rough backgrounds, yet committed to do what was right (also atypical to many of today’s judges).

You would think that the people would respond with respect and drive themselves to live under the right laws of the land—but it was not so. The judges rode the currents of the river. At times the river was impetuous, filled with broken and jarring rocks; sometimes the river was plunging. At times the river was exhilarating; the next it was simply boring. The book of Judges exposes the history of the Israelites in a way that reminds us of us!

Who were these people? People called to serve God from backgrounds of a military leader, a left-handed assassin, an obscure farmer, a godly woman, a wayfarer with an ox-goad, a man enslaved by a prostitute, and a fierce and passionate Hebrew (a “Robin Hood” complete with desperados).

God often turns rough-hewed people, brash confronters, into what He wants them to be, placing them in leadership. Unfortunately, like the Israelites, those placed under their authority failed to listen and follow. It would behoove us to train our people to be following leaders; to be accountable for that which the Lord has placed us in our positions.

Give us men who fling themselves into the great struggle, doing what they can with Christ-born ardor, foot soldiers, if nothing else, in the army of the Lord of Righteousness. (Attributed to Thomas Paine)

For consider your calling, brethren, that there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble; but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong. 1 Corinthians 1:26-27

How are we doing with our God-called service?

Scroll To Top