Monday, March 16, 2009

A Bad Lead...

I have lived long enough now to have encountered individuals who could be defined as power hungry. Possessing an insatiable appetite for all that having power guarantees, they are rarely passive and are usually great orators. Most are gifted with the ability to convince others to jump on board the ship they command ensuring that the power they crave is realized; and while some are very admirable, honorable and upright, others use their power for evil.

Such was the case with Abimelech, one of Gideon's 70 sons. When he decided that he wanted to be king because of his quest for power, he had no qualms about killing his half brothers in order to achieve his purpose.

Almost as terrible as Abimelech's murderous rampage though, was the fact that the men of Shechem supported his plan because it was good for them. They apparently had no moral dilemma with following a ruthless leader as long as it ensured their future prosperity and success.

Since the earliest of recorded days there have been good and bad leaders, and these passages of scripture affirm that God doesn't prevent people from choosing bad ones or suffering the consequences of such choices. Sometimes it seems that evil leaders go unpunished as their reign seems to run smoothly--but God is never unaware of what is happening, and in his way and according to his sovereignty, he always deals with evil.

Take a look at this from Judges 9:

22 After Abimelech had ruled over Israel for three years, 23 God sent a spirit that stirred up trouble between Abimelech and the leading citizens of Shechem, and they revolted. 24 God was punishing Abimelech for murdering Gideon’s seventy sons, and the citizens of Shechem for supporting him in this treachery of murdering his brothers.

It took three years, but this passage reveals that God did punish Abimelech and the people of Shechem for their despicable deeds. Still today, the choices we make have consequences and God is never unaware of what's up in our realm. Verse 23 is especially interesting because it says that God sent a spirit that stirred up trouble. Sometimes, we wrongly assume that all trouble comes from the enemy--but here we see that sometimes God allows trouble simply because we deserve it.

If there is a lesson to be learned beyond the obvious, I suggest that it might be that we should make sure to pray with fervor when selecting leaders or choosing "kings," because the gift of persuasive speech and convincing charisma (like that of Abimelech) does not guarantee moral, godly or ethical leadership.

God hasn't changed. He continues to raise up Godly men and women to serve in leadership capacities all these years later--but leaders that God raises up would not command those underneath them to participate in Biblically prohibited behavior or activity without anticipating God's correction. When a leader commands evil, we should wait and watch--the "spirit of evil that stirs up trouble" is likely waiting in the wings for God's "go".

Father, please give us the wisdom to see and know the difference between good and evil and the boldness to act on the enlightenment you give. Please save us and rescue us from those who would lead us into unGodliness, and give us your salvation as a people and individuals. In Jesus' Name. Amen.

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