Sunday, February 15, 2009

They wondered as they wandered...

Power struggles and jealous hostilities are nothing new. Today, my chronological journey lead me to read Numbers 15-20 and Psalm 90. In these chapters, the children of Israel are still wandering in the wilderness as a result of their lack of faith and fearful hesitancy to trust in God's ability to overcome every obstacle they might encounter.

As the wandering continued, so did the wondering. Was Moses really God's guy? Was his leadership actually God ordained? Eventually, one of the other prominent leaders, Korah, rallied 250 others against Moses, accusing him of pride and exclusionary leadership.

To his eager audience, Korah railed against Moses saying that everyone was holy, and that there was no need for a solitary strong leader. In other words, Mr. Korah wanted his piece of the leadership pie, even if it wasn't God's plan.

It's taken almost fifty years, but I've learned a thing or three about such matters. Sadly, I've seen disputes among Christians, fights in churches and heated arguments between denominations. In almost every case, the source of the problem could usually be traced to a power struggle of some sort. Sometimes, these struggles were legitimate, other times, not so much.

Here's where I've finally landed with regard to such matters, and my great hope for you is that what I've discovered will serve you in your own faith journey.

First, pray frequently and fervently for the leaders under whom you serve. As a dear friend of mine has said, leadership is lonely. Those who lead are accountable to God in a unique way and they surely need our prayer support.

Second, when or if you think there might be questionable leadership issues taking place, seek God's discernment and wisdom with all your heart--and never react or respond unless and until you are 100% certain that God is leading. Then, proceed with extremely prayerful caution, asking God to reveal any possible wrong motives, opinions,or assumptions.

Another wise advisor once told me that there are some hills worth dying on and others that definitely aren't, so don't charge any "hill" without God's crystal clear signal, or the results could be deadly. Korah and his cronies ended up facing a dreadful demise as a result of their misguided criticisms of and challenges to Moses' leadership.

The Bible teaches us to love one another, to be at peace with one another, and to walk in unity so that the world will see that we are actually different.

I am so grateful to know that God forgives our mistakes, that he is slow to anger and great in mercy. If that were not the case, I cannot bear to imagine my fate. So tonight, I will close with these words:

Father, thank you. Thank you for your Word--a living, breathing, incredible reminder of how careful I must be in terms of forming opinions and expressing them, and in terms of seeking out leaders and following them. Thank you for loud warnings and soft whispers. If I live to be 100, there will not be enough time to express my gratefulness for the loving kindness, forgiveness and patience you've shown to me. Amen.

"Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me..."

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