November 3, 2016
The Bible is rich with examples of men who were chosen by God for leadership. All of these men surprise us because none were perfect. For Instance, Moses was a very reluctant leader. He was born to Hebrew parents, but raised in Pharaoh’s court. One day Moses saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew and he killed the Egyptian. Because of this he fled to the land of Midian, where he lived for forty years. He may have run from Pharaoh, but he could not run from God. Neither can we. No matter what sin we commit, God knows and you cannot hide from Him. God knew where Moses was and when the time was right He chose to use Moses to lead the Hebrews out of captivity. Did Moses enthusiastically agree? No. Moses had lots of excuses why he couldn’t do the job he was chosen for. “And Moses said unto God, Who am I, that I should go unto Pharaoh, and that I should bring forth the children of Israel out of Egypt?” Exodus 3:11. Moses didn’t see himself as worthy of this task God asked him to do. God kept talking to Moses and urging him to obey. “And Moses answered and said, But, behold, they will not believe me, nor hearken unto my voice: for they will say, The LORD hath not appeared unto thee.” Exodus 4:1. Moses kept coming up with excuses, but God saw leadership qualities in him. “And Moses said unto the LORD, O my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither heretofore, nor since thou hast spoken unto thy servant: but I am slow of speech, and of a slow tongue.” Exodus 4:10. Moses just kept coming up with excuses, until finally he asked God to send anyone but him. “And he said, O my Lord, send, I pray thee, by the hand of him whom thou wilt send” Exodus 4:13. (This reads clearer in other translations, such as the NET Bible “But Moses said, “O my Lord, please send anyone else whom you wish to send!“). God was determined that it was Moses who needed to go to Pharaoh, and eventually Moses went. The rest is history. The Hebrews were set free and eventually did make it to the Promised Land, although Moses wasn’t allowed to enter. “And the LORD spake unto Moses and Aaron, Because ye believed me not, to sanctify me in the eyes of the children of Israel, therefore ye shall not bring this congregation into the land which I have given them.” Numbers 20:12. Today there is much fighting over possession of that land, but God gave it to Israel forever. They will have full possession of it one day.
King David was a great leader. The prophet Samuel was sent by God to Bethlehem to anoint the one who would replace Saul as king of Israel. He went to Jesse, who had eight sons; one of those sons would be chosen. The seven sons who were the obvious choice from man’s perspective were brought before Samuel. “But the LORD said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7. When choosing leaders, that’s an important point: Look at their character. The Lord had chosen the youngest son, David, to eventually become king. The time David spent tending his sheep had been training for leadership and for battle. Sheep are unruly and tend to wander. David had to be watchful and alert to protect his flock from predators. He honed his skills for battle and did in fact kill a lion and a bear who were after the sheep. David also learned to play beautiful music and write Psalms; he loved the Lord with all his heart. Because he was very young when Samuel anointed him, David didn’t take the throne until after King Saul died. It wasn’t a smooth rise to the throne. When King Saul had bad moods he would try to kill him, but David would play music to soothe Saul’s troubled soul. After David became king he proved himself to be a powerful leader. He won many battles with enemies of Israel, but his life was still filled with turmoil. Even though he loved God he still had failures. Bad decisions in his personal life caused him to fall deep into sin. Lust for Bathsheba and her subsequent pregnancy prompted him to put her soldier husband on the frontlines of battle where he was sure to be killed. Uriah’s death allowed David to marry Bathsheba, but the child she gave birth to died. When the prophet Nathan brought David’s sin to his attention, David didn’t lie to cover up his sin or try to make his sin seem right, but he was brokenhearted. He cried out to God and asked for forgiveness. “Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.” Psalm 51:10. If only we had leaders like David today, our nation would be much healthier. Today we see scandal after scandal being covered up, excused, and ignored. Voters don’t seem to expect integrity from candidates anymore.
Moving into the New Testament we can see the transformation of Peter. He was rash and always seemed to say the wrong thing. He had no tact! Others may have thought the same thoughts, but Peter blurted it right out. Peter was part of Christ’s “inner circle” and was present at the transfiguration, and when Jairus’ daughter was brought back to life, and at the Olivet Discourse. Still, Peter isn’t the disciple you would think would be the one to rise to leadership. He followed Jesus for three years, but hid in fear during the crucifixion, and even denied knowing Jesus. Our Lord knew Peter’s capabilities and after the resurrection Jesus made sure that Peter was restored to fellowship. Peter was broken over his actions and his fears. Jesus told Peter what he was called to do, and from then on Peter assumed leadership. “He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me: And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep.” John 21:17. No, Peter was never a pope, but he was an obedient servant who loved Jesus and came to serve him in spite of his weaknesses. It was Peter who stood up on the day of Pentecost and gave an eloquent sermon in which he spoke deep truth and quoted Scripture with authority. “Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know:” Acts 2:22. Thus began the sermon. Peter was no longer hiding in fear, but boldly speaking about Jesus. He ended by saying “Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.” Acts 2:36. After hearing Peter speak, 3,000 people were convicted of their sin and came to salvation. God knew what great things Peter would accomplish…He saw what he could be, not what he was. A strong leader is one who allows himself to be changed by Jesus, and Peter is a prime example.
On the other hand there are evil leaders. A pair that stands out in Old Testament history is King Ahab and his wife Jezebel. These two brought pagan worship to new heights and, if possible, Jezebel was worse than her husband. She even arranged the murder of Naboth who owned a small vineyard but Ahab wanted it. Naboth loved his land and refused to sell it to Ahab, and Ahab went into a pout. Jezebel said not to worry, that she would get the vineyard for Ahab. “So she wrote letters in Ahab’s name, and sealed them with his seal, and sent the letters unto the elders and to the nobles that were in his city, dwelling with Naboth.” 1 Kings 21:8. Today we might see this as an email scandal. The letters directed that false witnesses were to lie about Naboth and claim he committed blasphemy. Jezebel’s orders were carried out and Naboth was stoned to death. Ahab and Jezebel are not unlike some politicians today. “But there was none like unto Ahab, which did sell himself to work wickedness in the sight of the LORD, whom Jezebel his wife stirred up. And he did very abominably in following idols, according to all things as did the Amorites, whom the LORD cast out before the children of Israel.” 1 Kings 21:25-26. They were an evil pair. Given a choice, no nation should choose anyone similar to Ahab or Jezebel to lead them.
Moses, David, Peter, and others, were chosen to do God’s work on earth. Moses, a Hebrew, was raised and educated by Egyptians in Pharaoh’s court. This gave him understanding of the Egyptian ways. He was able to approach Pharaoh several times and eventually lead the Hebrews out of captivity. David was a shepherd boy who practiced skills of defense while watching the sheep. He killed a lion and a bear while protecting his flock, so he had no fear when facing Goliath. All of this honed him to be king over Israel. Peter was brash, but Jesus saw the diamond in the rough and worked with Peter’s quirks in order for Peter to become a trusted leader. “Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.” Psalm 1:1-2. A leader in any walk of life is stronger if he obeys God, especially if that leader intends to run a nation. When electing a leader find out if that person embraces ungodly practices of abortion or homosexuality or murder. Spurn them if they do. Does the person support Israel? Do they serve a god or God Almighty? These are important questions along with moral questions of lies and consistent scandals concerning rape and other sexual improprieties. Never vote for a person who resembles Jezebel or Ahab.
Nations are a business. Money comes in and goes out. Negotiations must be made in order to encourage trade among other nations and to forestall war. America is no different. Over the last 8 years our national debt has soared, pagan practices have been embraced, and anyone who believes in God Almighty is considered a hater. America will soon vote for President and Christians must vote. Base your vote on God’s principles. Do we want Jezebel running this nation? We have one candidate who, like Moses and David, seems to have been in leadership training throughout his life. Like Peter he is outspoken but is a born leader. The other candidate bears more of a resemblance to Jezebel who aided and abetted her husband Ahab in pure evil. Neither candidate is perfect, but brothers and sisters, vote wisely.
There will be no perfect leader on this earth until Jesus Christ returns and sets up His kingdom. That will happen. Until then we have to choose mortal men to lead. Pray about your vote, and vote by God’s guidance.
God bless you all,
Ron Graham’s previous commentaries archived at http://www.raptureready.com/featured/graham/graham.html
All original scripture is “theopneustos” God breathed.