Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Divine Leadership

The last division of Deuteronomy teaches about leadership. In the study of leadership we must not forget the lesson on obedience, because they go together. For without obedience to God, leadership becomes a broken commodity. A good leader will demonstrate a humble and obedient heart, acknowledging God's power and wisdom.

Read Deuteronomy 31-34

[Moses continues in 31:3-6] . . . Joshua is your new leader, and he will go with you, just as the LORD promised. . . The LORD will hand over to you the people who live there . . .
Be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid of them! The LORD your God will go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor forsake you.

[31:23] Then the LORD commissioned Joshua son of Nun with these words: "Be strong and courageous! You must bring the people of Israel into the land I swore to give them. I will be with you."

[34:4,10-12] Then the LORD said to Moses, "This is the land I promised on oath to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and I told them I would give it to their descendants. I have now allowed you to see it, but you will not enter the land." . . . There has never been another prophet like Moses, whom the LORD knew face to face. The LORD sent Moses to perform all the miraculous signs and wonders in the land of Egypt against Pharaoh, all his servants and his entire land. And it was through Moses that the LORD demonstrated His mighty power and terrifying acts in the sight of all Israel.

There are many lessons on leadership in this last section. First, we must understand that God appoints the leader. God calls Moses in the wilderness of Midian, and Moses responds. For the next forty years, God reveals himself to the Israelites through His appointed leader, Moses. Moses' faithful obedience to God is the key component in his leadership strength, just as his disobedience to God's directions prevent him from entering the Promised Land (see Numbers 20:12). God appoints Joshua to lead them into this new land.

Secondly, God is with the obedient leader. Moses and Joshua are frequently reminded, "I am with you." Good leadership requires God's wisdom and provision. It is in God's promise to go ahead and to be with you that secures the power and protection needed to be successful. Moses does as the Lord commands.

Thirdly, we notice that all good leaders need good mentors. Joshua becomes Moses' apprentice, learning how to listen to God's Voice. Moses encourages Joshua to find his strength in God, teaches Joshua to rely on God, reminds Joshua to trust God's faithfulness. Moses blesses Joshua as the new leader; the people of Israel now follow Joshua.

Fourthly, obedient leaders find favor with God. It is through God that Moses becomes a successful leader. It is through Moses that God's power is revealed to His chosen people. Moses keeps his humility, and God demonstrates His power. Favored leadership requires continued obedience and trust in the holiness of God.

Moses dies, and the people mourn. Israel follows the new, God-appointed leader, Joshua, and they embark on the fulfilment of a promise. As they enter the Promised Land, the Israelites take The Law with them, seeking to rebuild their relationship with God. They will fail, and so will we if we only seek to mend our broken relationship with God through the law. We must follow the only Leader who can bring us into righteousness, into God's Promised Land ~ this Leader is Jesus.

Consider this!

  • How does humility give a leader (like Moses) wisdom?
  • Why does obedience to God give power to a leader?
  • Describe Jesus' leadership style. Find Scripture to support your answer.
God of promised lands ~
You call us to be Your priests, to speak Your name before the people. You call us to be your prophets, to tell Your story to the seekers. You call us to be your servants, to share Your love with the needy. You call us to be Your leaders, to live Your way within the world. You call us. Sometimes we respond. You call us. Sometimes we follow. You call us. Sometimes we obey.

Forgive our selfish attempts to lead ourselves. Forgive our arrogant efforts to find wisdom in the world. Forgive our foolish endeavors to direct others before being directed by You.

Jesus, be my Mentor; You are Divine Leadership. I long to follow You into a more holy life. Amen. ~dho