Profiles in Leadership—The Leaders’ Book—Judges 21:25

Vol. 2, No. 22 – 5-28-2017Judges 21

In those days there was no king in Israel, so the people did whatever seemed right in their own eyes. Judges 21:25

Do you ever kind of cheat when you read a novel by looking at the end? You always expect the hero to step in and save the beauty, marry her, and carry her off on a glorious white horse.

Judges ends in a real disappointment. There is backsliding, and the nation is in the pits after 350 years. There is constant failure of leaders; yet, God’s frequent mercy prevails. A major problem, however, develops; there is division in the land.

It is not as if it is uncommon. We have seen this throughout the world. Think of North and South Korea, the U.S. North and South, the Mid-East and the West. Among the divisions comes charismatic leaders; not necessarily those of integrity. Today there is great political and ethical division in our nation.

Johanus Naisbitt conjectured the directions for the 1100 B.C. era in a book, Megatrends 1000. In his imagination, he wrote, “We possess the tools and capacity to build utopia here and now.” Whistling in the dark is nothing new.

An article in The Humanist (easy to decipher the zine’s intent) proposes to rewrite The Beatitudes:

Blessed are those who have absolute faith in nothing save the “self’ of consciousness within them. The Humanist, Gerard Staub, 1989.

Speculation, humanism, and Gnosticism do not play well into the formation of true leadership. Even Israel did not do well some 3000 years ago, attempting to live out life in imaginations. D.R. Davis remarked:

They were the days when a nation was out of control, the days when the dictates of every man’s own [thoughts] formed the standard for life, in the days when they desperately needed Godly leadership.

Everyone did what they wanted to do from their own eyes. That was the standard that governed leadership (and therefore following leaders and those below them). These leaders wanted to call the shots; be the ultimate authority. In effect, they chose to act in God’s place, their Creator. They declared their own independence. They took the nation into a state of disorder, then to utter chaos. The nation became like a blob of Silly Putty—squeezed, shaped, molded, and rearranged in any way the leader wanted. If the rules/laws needed to change to get the leader’s desire, the leader changed the rules/laws or simply ignored them.

Sounds like the most recent eight years of U.S. Government Administration. But then, it also sounds a lot like institutional and business leadership as well. Note the massive numbers of bankruptcies of former solid businesses that used to operate with integrity.

Judges is a miserable book, and it continues to reflect the state of our world today.

Thoughts:

  1. The only thing that can bring nations back is to submit to the Creator, Who created the people
  2. The only way nations can progress is through obedience to the One who is full of integrity, knowledge, justice, and knows the thoughts, words, and actions of every leader, following leader, and all others
  3. Nations that refuse to submit to the absolute authority and truth of God ultimately fail, dragging their downtrodden with them

Godliness exalts a nation; sin is a reproach to any people. Proverbs 14:34

Profiles in Leadership–His Mom Named Him “Sunny”–May 14, 2017

Vol. 2, No. 20 – 2017Samson born

His parents named him Samson, and the Lord blessed him as he grew up. Judges 13:24

My wife and I had the privilege of seeing the musical Samson in Lancaster PA the summer of 2016. What an exciting story; what a heart-rendering epic. It is hard to imagine Samson’s name meaning “Sunny.”

Leaders often are drawn to their position because of an appetite for notoriety, opportunity to use their own creativity, and a compulsion to function as head of others. James M. Burns observes:

One of the most universal cravings of our times is a hunger for compelling and creative leadership. In the final quarter of our century that quality type leadership has given way to the cult of personality, to “gee whiz” approach to celebrities.

His parents named him Samson (sun-man, distinguished, or strong). They prepared him for a position—leadership. As a young man, “Sunny” was the instant hero through acts of strength and a supernatural stamina. The reason for this is that Samson belonged to The Leader, Almighty God; others were decisively their “own persons.” Being your own person is being a hypocrite to the One who has created you—it is an attempt to be self-sufficient.

In today’s psychology movement “Sunny” is a sanguine Type A; with adrenalin flow all the waking hours. He even killed a lion with his bare hands. He returned to the lion to discover bees had proceeded to make honey in the carcass. Wrongly, he feeds on the honey in the dead animal (he had taken a Nazarite vow). He slew 30 Philistines, absconding with their rich wardrobes to pay off a debt. Then we see him tying together the tails of 300 foxes, setting them on fire, chasing them into a field of grain ready for harvest.

Hot-blooded and impulsive.

He then takes a jawbone of a beast burden to slay 1000 choice warriors of the Philistines. The Philistines were not a happy lot. They began to plot his demise.

Samson was a man of wit, a trickster, strong, handsome, and uncontrollable. He also struggled with morals—given to license, laxity, and sensual passion. Yet, Hebrews 11:32 also pictures him as a man of faith and loyalty.

What can we learn from Samson’s leadership?  That he was great, but should have been greater. His leadership did not always match appropriate values, morals, and character. He had great potential; yet, his performance was mediocre at best.

God expects better of His leaders—the story of “Sunny” ought to make us stop and take inventory of our leadership.

Do not copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will know what God wants you to do, and you will know how good and pleasing and perfect His will really is. Romans 12:2 NLT

Profiles in Leadership—Paying Your Vows—April 30, 2017

Vol. 2, No. 18 – 2017Promises

I have made a vow to the Lord and I cannot take it back. Judges 11:35

When is the last time you made a vow? The greatest vow of my life is one I made to God regarding my life to Him. Another vow I made was 54 years ago as I stood with my lovely bride before God, the preacher, and all those attending the wedding. I have kept those vows, and they remain precious (as does my wife) for all those years. The keeping of vows is a sacred duty.

Leaders often make vows before the one(s) they are to be accountable. At times, a leader comes to a place where they do not want to keep a specific vow; it is inconvenient, hard, not the best time, there are few resources, or some other excuse that seems appropriate for their use.

Jephthah trained a hapless group of jobless, uneducated, and ill-fit men for 18 years, developing them to be following leaders and functioning warriors.

Jephthah would not make the list of select leaders today. He was an illegitimate son who was cast out of his home. He is not embittered; he develops into a God-fearing leader. Although he did not seek the eyes of others, there came a delegation from Gilead to enlist him to be their commander against the Ammonite warriors.

He gained a great victory, yet there was a situation. He had made a vow before God–his ultimate authority. The vow?

God, if you would but give me the ability to defeat this evil enemy, when I get back home, I will sacrifice the first person who comes to greet me—I will offer them back to You. Judges 11:30-40

Upon his return home, the first to greet him was his daughter. What do you do with someone, or something you love and discover you have included that person or thing in your vow? A leader keeps their vows, or they are not really a leader. Theologians debate the outcome of this vow as many use eisegeses rather than exegesis–many do not consider the laws of God. God is one who holds to His vows. Principles in God’s Word do not change; our making of a vow demands its fulfillment.

Leaders must take note:

  1. God honors the one who keeps their vows in a day when leaders breaking their vows is the norm
  2. God denounces complacency, while many of today’s leaders practice complacency
  3. God honors those whose lives reflect integrity, while many of today’s leaders forfeit integrity for their own convenience
  4. God honors truth, while many of today’s leaders make up their own truths
  5. God is the authority, while many of today’s leaders attempt to make themselves to be the authority

So when you talk to God and vow to Him that you will do something, do not delay in doing it, for God has no pleasure in fools. Keep your promise to Him. Ecclesiastes 5:4

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