In the absence of strong leadership, part one

In my last few posts I looked at our tendency to want to elevate our fellow man to a position of kingship in our lives. If you look back at those two posts, you’ll see it was all sparked by the story of Gideon in the book of Judges. After Gideon was used by God to deliver Israel from an enemy oppressor, the people of Israel assigned credit to Gideon and tried to make him their king. And I started to wonder why we do this. As I really dug into this I feel like the answer is because we need a strong presence in our life to lead us. I feel like this is most definitely backed up in the Bible.

As I continued to read the book of Judges I kept seeing these examples of people faltering badly in the absence of strong leadership. The whole book is about Israel’s stumbles when there’s no one leading them. They get a strong leader, do fine for a while, but as soon as that leader is gone they falter badly again.

Judges 17:6 In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes.

I’ve tried being the king of my own life and doing what was right in my own eyes, as I think most of us have. And I think if we’re being completely honest with one another, we can all own up to the fact that our best isn’t even close to being good enough. We’re flawed people, it’s just an absolute fact. My best day without God as king of my life doesn’t even come close to measuring up to my worst day with God in his rightful place as my king. I tried for a long time to run things on my own, and the end result wasn’t a whole lot to be proud of. My best wasn’t good enough. I needed a leader.

If you think back to my Moses Moments series earlier this year, the people of Israel were getting by with Moses as their leader. They were complainers, for sure, but things were mostly okay. Then Moses goes up on the mountain for forty days, and in those short forty days these people fell apart.

Exodus 32:1-6 When the people saw that Moses delayed to come down from the mountain, the people gathered themselves together to Aaron and said to him,“Up, make us gods who shall go before us. As for this Moses, the man who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.” 2 So Aaron said to them, “Take off the rings of gold that are in the ears of your wives, your sons, and your daughters, and bring them to me.” 3 So all the people took off the rings of gold that were in their ears and brought them to Aaron. 4 And he received the gold from their hand and fashioned it with a graving tool and made a golden calf. And they said, “These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt!” 5 When Aaron saw this, he built an altar before it. And Aaron made a proclamation and said, “Tomorrow shall be a feast to the Lord.” 6 And they rose up early the next day and offered burnt offerings and brought peace offerings. And the people sat down to eat and drink and rose up to play.

These people were being lead around by not only a strong leader, but by the presence of God! And it took them just a little over a month to forsake not only Moses, but God.

As I was studying this subject a personal experience came to mind. It’s one that I bet a lot of you can relate to. Think back to your time in school. What happened when the teacher left the room? For those who maybe were home schooled, let me tell you, as soon as the teacher leaves the room it’s anarchy. I’ve been in some classrooms where things became like a riot! It’s like the running of the bulls, kids start yelling and running around, they’ll knock stuff off the walls. One time when I was really young and in the first grade, the teacher got called to the office and left us alone and it took about thirty seconds before that place had become downright apocalyptic. One kid that was way bigger than the rest of us ended up picking his desk up over his head and he walks over to me and screams “I’m going to kill you!” It was horrifying, I remember being truly afraid that this kid was going to crush me to death!

In the absence of strong leadership, nothing works as it’s supposed to. This goes from as big as a country to as small as a single life. A home with absentee parents generally has rebellious kids who get into trouble and get up to no good. A police department with an apathetic or corrupt leader generally breeds a system of corruption within that department. A church without a strong and godly pastor generally bears little fruit and will eventually fade away and fall apart. And a person trying to be their own strong leader will at best struggle to maintain a sense of moral decency and at worst will be an absolute menace to themselves and the world around them.

It’s not wrong for us to want to appoint kings. It’s not wrong for us to want strong leadership. The problem is that we’re trying to appoint anyone BUT Jesus to the position. Politicians, bosses, boyfriends/girlfriends, husbands/wives, pastors, teachers, friends, ourselves, we’ll try to shove anyone we can onto the throne of our lives! But here’s the problem. That throne was designed by a creator at the same time you were designed. God made you, and He made the throne that exists within each of us. And guess what, it’s dimensions are perfectly suited for one person and one person only. The throne isn’t made to our specifications, it sure isn’t built to hold a president or a boss or a spouse or a mayor or even a pastor. The throne belongs to Jesus. It fits Jesus and Jesus alone. There’s no power in the chair, there’s only power in the person who sits there. And in case you haven’t learned this yet, there’s no true power in man. The President holds no actual, soul impacting power. The only being of true power in existence is God. We can appoint any king we want in our lives but until we choose the right person for the job we’re going to continue to be disappointed, frustrated, and lost.

PRAYER AND CLOSING

Father God, today I come before you on behalf of anyone who doesn’t have you installed as the king of their life.  I humbly ask today that you make a move in their lives.  Lord, most of them probably don’t even realize they’re lost.  You know my heart, you know that’s exactly how I was.  I was convinced that I was fine, that everything was okay, but it wasn’t until you got onto the throne of my life that I even understood what it meant to be okay.  I want that peace and love for all people, Lord, for everyone in the world.  Yes, it’s a big world full of a lot of people, but you are the cosmic God, the creator of the universe, and so today I’m making a big ask.  Let this be a day where you make a mighty, massive move in the lives of those who don’t call you Lord.  Let this be the day that they come to realize that without you on the throne, life is never going to work how it’s meant to.  Show them that your kingship isn’t one of heavy burdens and stifling traditions, but that it’s an exciting kingship that fills a life with love and purpose and joy.  I ask that you would appoint faith filled believers to encounter the lost, that wherever someone is seeking you there would be someone who knows you to help them along.  And for those believers I pray strength and courage, deep boldness, as they act as your ambassadors.  Let’s light up the world with your love and your goodness, God, let’s start a wave of positive change that will shake the earth to it’s core.  I love you Lord, and I thank you for being my king.  There is no greater honor in my life than being your son and a part of your kingdom.  I am yours, God, and I’m so thankful that you in turn are mine.  In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.

I love all of you guys.  Monday is off to a beautiful start for me and I certainly hope you can say the same.  If not, I’m going to stand in prayer alongside you that things are going to look up as the week goes along.  God loves us, my friends, He loves us so deeply and purely.  Never forget that.

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