Responsive . . .

Vol.5, No. 26 – July 12, 2020

Leadership in a Time of Crisis2 Chronicles 34:27

Because your heart was tender, and you humbled yourself before God when you heard His words against this place, and its inhabitants, and you have humbled yourself before Me, and have torn your clothes, and wept before Me, I also have heard you, declares the Lord. –2 Chronicles 34:27

Some leaders are not dealt a great hand. Our own recent president could honestly utter that phrase. However, we often experience that as well, in our work, in our community, in our home, and even within relationships with our children and extended families.

Josiah is not dealt a great hand; not even marginally. At his inauguration, he inherits such a lousy situation, if we had something similar, we would be tempted to fold, and walk away from the table. The odds are stacked against him. The nation, the priests, and the political office holders are spiritually bankrupt. The hammer of God’s judgment is about to fall. No one can escape long, his or her outcomes of choices.

On top of all that, Josiah begins his reign at the age of eight years old! We can honestly admit that he does not know a lot. He does not have any experience. He does not even have much of a heritage from which to draw. By the age of sixteen, he is seeking the Lord courageously and urgently (34:3).

Under Josiah’s leadership, he restores spiritual purity, and he repairs the Temple. There is more. Something great is about to happen! One of his officials brings a copy of the Law, found in a dusty “closet” in the Temple. It is read to the King. The message of the Word of God tears Josiah’s heart; he tears his robes. (It is not unusual for the Word of God to tear the heart of the reader/hearer.)

We are introduced to the power of a godly leader. When the Scriptures reveal themselves to his heart, he obediently responds . . . humbly. There is not one instance where God’s Word is read or heard, that a response is not given. We can say yes, no, or maybe; but we cannot not respond. Because Josiah humbles himself before the Lord, a whole generation is impacted! God delays His judgment at the response of one man. We could use a good dose of that in our current times.

God gauges a person’s life in this way, among other observations.

  1. It is not in net-worth (all our stuff gets distributed when we die) 
  2. It is not in our accomplishments (eventually someone younger and wiser will break our records)
  3. It is not in our toys (with the pace of technology — 8-track tapes were replaced a l-o-o-o-n-g time ago)

A fascinating and tragic contrast to Josiah exhibits in one of his own sons, Jehoiakim (Jeremiah 36:1-26). The description is how officials bring him a scroll of God’ Word. However, when it is read in his presence, he cuts it up with a knife, and burns it. This he did not learn from his father; his decision was his own and amounts to a tragic impact upon his heart.

Life Application

We cannot change the experiences and dealings from all our prior generations. Some attempt to do so, but it is an impossible task. We cannot even choose for those who come after us, even though some think they can. The only accurate gauge of a person’s life is their heart response to the Word of God.

Our heart response to the Word of God can have the most dramatic impact on our generation through our personal leadership. In our work. In our home. In our church. In our community. In our country. In the nations. It is not found in our attempt to make reparations for the past, but how we live in the present.

All these things my hand has made, and so all these things came to be declares the Lord. But this is the one to whom I will look: he who is humble and contrite in spirit, and trembles at My Word. –Isaiah 66:2

Leadership in a time of crisis is always available—if we would but ask our Almighty God!

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Written by Dr. Larry Lightner

July 12, 2020

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