Archives for February 2016

Leadership From A Biblical Perspective

LeadershipPresidential Campaign

Based on the mud-slinging and character assassinations taking place in the media and on the internet, the presidential campaign for the highest office in our nation is in full swing. There is a lot of sounding brass and tinkling cymbals in the air. With all this noise, how does one separate truth from error? Whom do you trust to formulate your opinion about the different candidates? The liberal media? Your friends and relatives? How about your favorite radio talk show host whom you listen to everyday? Hint. None of the above. In a civilized society where I like to think that reasonable people can disagree agreeably, I recognize that in a high-profile presidential campaign where a great deal is at stake, this is virtually impossible. People oftentimes behave in unseemly ways when it comes to the acquisition of power. Lord Acton stated it beautifully when he said, “power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” It appears that some people’s lust for power is insatiable; and some will do anything to acquire it.  Lie, cheat, steal, spread false rumors, and yes, even kill.

As we examine the current presidential candidates from both parties, I would like to propose that we look at leadership from a biblical perspective. After all, the Bible was the foundation of our Founding Fathers when they crafted the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights. As a Judeo-Christian nation, our values are derived from biblical principles that enabled us, in a very short period of time, to become the envy of nations throughout the world. Let’s look at three leaders in the Bible and the qualities they exemplified. In examining these individuals, you can compare their qualities with the current presidential candidates and come up with your own conclusions to see how the qualities of your favorite candidate compares with the attributes of three important individuals in the Bible.

Moses 

Moses was born at a time when the king of Egypt decreed that every newborn male among the Israelites should be put to death. When Moses was three months old, his mother placed him in an ark of bulrushes, sealed it with slime and pitch and placed the little boat on the river’s edge. Walking along the river with her maidens, Pharoah’s daughter discovered the baby, named him Moses and raised him as her son (Exodus 2:1-10).

As a young man, Moses walked among his brethren, the Israelites, and discovered an Egyptian overseer beating a Hebrew. Instinctively, Moses killed the Egyptian and hid him in the sand. When Pharoah discovered what happened, Moses fled for his life to Midian where he eventually married Zipporah who bore him a son, Gershom.

Humility and Obedience 

A number of years passed and the king of Egypt died and the children of Israel prayed to God to deliver them from their bondage in Egypt. God heard their pleas and spoke to Moses in the midst of a burning bush.

Exodus 3:9-10
Now therefore, behold, the cry of the children of Israel is come unto me: and
I have also seen the oppression wherewith the Egyptians oppress them.
Come now therefore, and I will send thee unto Pharoah, that thou mayest bring
forth my people the children of Israel out of Egypt.

Now Moses wasn’t exactly jumping for joy when he heard what God wanted him to do. After all, Moses was a wanted man when he fled Egypt. What was his initial response to God’s request? “And Moses said unto God, Who am I, that I should go unto Pharoah, and that I should bring forth the children of Israel out of Egypt?” (Exodus:3:11). This is a perfectly understandable and human response. Moses then begins coming up with all kinds of objections as to why he didn’t want to do what God called him to do. The objections were: 1) What is God’s name and what shall I say to the children of Israel? 2) The children of Israel rejected Moses in the past, why would they believe that God sent him to deliver them out of Egypt? 3) Moses was not an eloquent speaker; he was “slow of speech and of a slow tongue” (Exodus 4:10). God responded to all of Moses’ concerns and told him that Aaron, the brother of Moses, would be his spokesman. “And thou shalt speak unto him [Aaron], and put words in his mouth: and I will be with thy mouth, and with his mouth, and will teach you what ye shall do” (Exodus 4:15).

In the end, Moses humbled himself to do the will of God and was obedient to perform all that God asked him to do. As a result of his humility and obedience, he was able to lead the Israelites out of Egypt after they were in bondage for several hundred years.

David

David was the youngest of eight sons of Jesse. He came from a humble background and was a simple shepherd boy trained to tend his father’s sheep in Bethlehem.  Because of King Saul’s disobedience to God, Samuel, the prophet was sent to Jesse’s home to anoint the next king of Israel. As Jesse’s sons were brought one by one before Samuel, the prophet assumed that surely Eliab, Abinadab, and any one of the seven sons whom he met would be the next king of Israel. However, God’s response to Samuel was “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). After inquiring if Jesse had any other sons, David was then brought before Samuel. God informed Samuel that David would be the next king of Israel. When Samuel anointed David with oil, the spirit of the Lord came upon David (1 Samuel 16:13).

Courage, Boldness, Conviction

The story of David and Goliath is a story of a young man’s courage, boldness, and conviction in confronting the enemy of God and His people. David was sent as an errand boy to deliver food to his brothers who were in the midst of a battle between the armies of Israel and the Philistines.  When David arrived on the battlefield, Goliath, the champion of the Philistines, emerged and started trash talking to the armies of Israel. David was offended by the words of Goliath and said to the Israelites, “who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should defy the armies of the living God?” (1 Samuel 17:26). With fearless courage, boldness, and conviction, David volunteered to fight Goliath. He told Goliath exactly what he planned to do:

1 Samuel 17:46-47
This day will the Lord deliver thee into mine hand; and I will
smite thee, and take thine head from thee; and I will give the
carcases of the host of the Philistines this day unto the fowls of
the air, and to the wild beasts of the earth; that all the earth
may know that there is a God in Israel.
And all this assembly shall know that the Lord saveth not with
sword and spear: for the battle is the Lord’s, and he will give
you into our hands. 

Noteworthy in this bold declaration is David’s reliance on God and the acknowledgement that God would bring the victory to pass. Not utilizing any high tech weaponry, David relied simply on his sling shot and a few smooth stones to slay the giant. True to his word, after Goliath fell to the ground, David used Goliath’s sword to cut off his head and the battle was won for Israel.

Jesus Christ

Reliance on God and Moral Courage

Perhaps the greatest example of a leader is the only begotten Son of God, Jesus Christ. Jesus always did the will of His Father. “I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me” (John 4:30). Prior to his public ministry, Jesus was led into the wilderness and after forty days and forty nights of fasting, he was tempted by the Devil. One of the temptations Jesus was confronted with was that if Jesus would bow down and worship the Devil, the Devil would give him all the kingdoms of the world.

Matthew 4:8-10
Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth
him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them;
And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and
worship me.
Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt
worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.

As tempting as it may have been, Jesus had the moral courage to resist the Devil’s offer and did not sell out to the Devil’s temptation. Jesus recognized the snare of the Devil when he taught the people this truth. “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” (Mark 8:36).  Unfortunately, there are many politicians and individuals in the public and private sector who have sold out in order to gain fame, fortune, and power.

Honesty and Humility

Jesus Christ always held to the standard of God’s Word. He wasn’t a politician who shifted his views with every political wind of doctrine, nor was he a moral relativist who changed his ideas to fit the culture, society or prevailing ideas of the day. Jesus was an outsider who was never politically correct. He criticized the religious leaders for being hypocrites and accused them that their father was the Devil (Matthew 6:5, John 8:44), he cleaned out the temple because it was made into “a den of thieves” (Luke 19:46), he hung out with a tax collector (Luke 19:4), he defended a woman accused of adultery (John 8:7), and even healed the sick on the sabbath day (Luke 13:14). He was marginalized, underestimated, and considered extremely dangerous to the status quo. He was never boastful of the miracles he performed and always directed the glory to God, his heavenly Father.

Servant Leadership 

Above all, Jesus was a servant who gave his life so that we would receive remission of sins and  have eternal life. He fought against the evil corruption of his time and recognized the spiritual competition that people were engulfed in.

1 John 3:8
He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning.
For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the
works of the devil.

In due time, Christ died for the ungodly (Romans 5:6) so that we could have life and have it more abundantly (John 10:10). Jesus Christ started a revolution and the world has never been the same since.

Pray for Wisdom

As we examine the different presidential candidates, it is not enough to hear the words that they speak and the promises that are made. Matthew 7:15 warns us to “Beware of false prophets which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.”

2 Peter 2:18-19
For when they speak great swelling words of vanity, they allure through the
lusts of the flesh, through much wantonness, those that were clean escaped
from them who live in error.
While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption:
For of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage.

Romans 16:18 warns us that “Good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.” Furthermore, we must examine the fruit of their lives; “Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them” (Matthew 7:20).

Researching the presidential candidates, whether it involves reviewing their voting records if they are politicians, their accomplishments, whether they are in government or the private sector, and reading about their lives in books that they, and others have written, will help inform our decisions. It is not enough to research the candidates themselves, but equally important is researching and educating ourselves about our Founding Fathers, the Declaration of Independence, the United States Constitution, and our Bill of Rights. John Adams stated that “liberty cannot be preserved without general knowledge among the people.” As a Judeo-Christian nation, we have the inherent belief that God is the giver of rights and not man.

Another way to separate truth from error is to read the Bible. The Bible is our litmus test to separate truth from error. Just as Jesus Christ knew the Scriptures, it is important to read and apply the principles from the Bible in our lives. “Be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves” (James 1:22). True wisdom can only come from God through a knowledge and application of His Word.

I believe our nation is at a crossroads in history. It is incumbent upon each and every one of us to pray for our country, our people, the military, and for wisdom that God will select the right presidential candidate to lead our country during this critical time in our nation’s history. “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:14).

All scriptures are quoted from the King James Version unless otherwise noted. Explanatory insertions within a scripture are enclosed in brackets.

Copyright © 2016 Aleta You. All Rights Reserved.

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