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What the Bible says about Godly Leadership
(From Forerunner Commentary)

2 Chronicles 15:1-2

At the beginning of his reign and for many years, Asa was a very fine king. He was upright, and he turned the Jews around and persuaded them to worship God by the kind of high-quality leadership he gave to them. His leadership was moral, focused on God, and good. The prophet Azariah, the son of Oded, came out to meet him, to encourage him to continue his ways.

Verse 2 shows reciprocity, a principle that we must understand. The Bible shows clearly that God deals with us as we deal with Him, and if we are seeking Him and applying His way, He will respond in far greater measure to us in blessing. Nobody out-gives God. The principle of reciprocity, part of the much broader principle of "whatever one sows, one reaps," brings it down to a finer point and makes it very personal. We need to realize that this principle is at work in our relationship with God.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Knowing God

Ezekiel 34:1-5

Godly leadership existed in short supply throughout most of Israel's relationship with God. The scriptural record chronicles that an occasional Noah, Abraham, Joseph, Moses, Joshua, David, or another good leader arose among them, but Ezekiel 34 succinctly summarizes Judah's leadership, in particular, as shepherds who ruled for their own well-being rather than the citizens'. Such leadership does not produce good results.

Normally, a shepherd is a person who leads a flock by serving the sheep through his care for them in many areas of a sheep's life. However, in a context like Ezekiel 34, the terms “shepherd” and “sheep” are being used in a figurative sense. A shepherd is a human leader in some position of authority, and sheep designate human citizens the leader has authority over. It is also helpful to understand that “shepherd” includes far more than the religious ministry. It includes, in short, leadership in government, education, business, entertainment, and media, reaching all the way to parents in the family home.

God created the domesticated sheep to be among the most dependent of all animals. They are so dependent upon the leadership of a human shepherd that it seems a wonder that they survive in the wild at all. Sheep are quite timid by nature, easily frightened, as well as subject to many diseases and easy prey for predators.

In like manner, humans need quality leadership in important areas of life, or because of Satan's influence on the carnal mind, human community life tends to degenerate into a mode of survival of the fittest, resulting in large numbers of people living as little more than slaves of those mightier than they are. For the majority, life in such a community becomes a hopeless existence.

The prophet penned Isaiah 3:12 over a hundred years before Ezekiel 34 was written, but it exposes that community life in Judah was already in severe decline: “As for My people, children are their oppressors, and women rule over them. O My people! Those who lead you cause you to err, and destroy the way of your paths.”

John W. Ritenbaugh
Leadership and Covenants (Part Two)

John 13:15

This last statement by Jesus gives us a little insight into His mind. What He says can apply both to earthly relationships of masters and servants as well as to a human's relationship to Christ. We can see in the pages of the gospels that it also describes how Jesus approached His relationship with God the Father. He was always submissive to the Father in everything. Beyond this, God the Father is the greatest servant in the universe. In our behalf, He sustains everything we depend on for our very lives.

Luke probably alludes to the same statement in his account of that Passover evening:

But there was also rivalry among [the disciples], as to which of them should be considered the greatest. And He said to them, "The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them, and those who exercise authority over them are called 'benefactors.' But not so among you; on the contrary, he who is greatest among you, let him be as the younger, and he who governs as he who serves. For who is greater, he who sits at the table, or he who serves? Is it not he who sits at the table? Yet I am among you as the One who serves." (Luke 22:24-27)

Christ, by His actions, made it very clear that He would not expect anything from us that He was not willing to do Himself. He, as our Governor and Elder Brother, though He should have been served by others, served them. Undoubtedly, service is the essence of godly leadership.

Bill Keesee (1935-2010)
Another Look at Footwashing

Colossians 3:12

How does the New Testament present humility? According to commentator William Barclay, the classical Greek language did not even have a word for humility that included no sense of shame. The root of the word the apostles used literally means "to depress," a very expressive word. To the Greeks, humility indicated servility and slavishness. This may have been because Greeks looked down upon anyone who acted in humility as not being an upstanding person of good character. Culturally, it was evil, shameful behavior, as to them it exhibited someone untrustworthy. At best, they would consider the person to be a wimp because they admired people who aggressively took charge, commanding others about.

The Christian approach is entirely different. We will consider a few scriptures that give a description of the way humility enhances one's character.

Psalm 113:4-7: "For He is high above the nations; His glory is far greater than the heavens. Who can be compared with God enthroned on high? Far below Him are heavens and the earth; He stoops to look, and lifts the poor from the dirt"(The Living Bible).

Psalm 138:6: "Yet though He is so great, He respects the humble, but proud men must keep their distance" (The Living Bible).

Both of these psalms picture God as being of awesome power, but He holds His power in check to achieve a greater good. Rather than destroy through imperious self-centeredness, He pities and builds with gentle, understanding kindness.

Matthew 20:25-28 shows New Covenant leadership: "But Jesus called them to Himself and said, 'You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those who are great exercise authority over them. Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant. And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave—just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.'"

Matthew 11:29 makes Jesus' insistence on humility exceedingly clear: "Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls."

Matthew 11:29 is a direct command from the same God described in Psalms, though here He is acting as a Man. His example and commands regarding this continues to be the way Christians are to follow.

Humility is not a weak, cringing approach to life. It is not a denial of power but the deliberate controlling of power to accomplish a greater good. It comes into proper use when a converted person deliberately utilizes a servant approach rather than a natural, proud, and carnal human-ruler approach. It is the attitude that best promotes good relationships because it neutralizes pride and the damage it can wreak. At the very least, it indicates modesty that grows from a genuine self-evaluation that concludes in the person deeming himself worthless in relation to God and His truth.

It is important that we understand self-evaluation better. In the Christian sense of humility, the person is not deeming himself worthless because he sees himself as a vile creature full of sin—though to some degree this is true in comparison to God—but because he is merely a creature, absolutely dependent upon God even for every breath of air. Further, he views himself as possessing nothing intrinsically good, having to receive all good, spiritual things from God as well. Even Jesus had this attitude, and He is our model.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Living by Faith and Humility


 




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