Leadership Tenure

Judges 8:28-35

28 Thus Midian was subdued before the Israelites and did not raise its head again. During Gideon’s lifetime, the land had peace forty years. 29 Jerub-Baal son of Joash went back home to live. 30 He had seventy sons of his own, for he had many wives. 31 His concubine, who lived in Shechem, also bore him a son, whom he named Abimelek. 32 Gideon son of Joash died at a good old age and was buried in the tomb of his father Joash in Ophrah of the Abiezrites.

33 No sooner had Gideon died than the Israelites again prostituted themselves to the Baals. They set up Baal-Berithas their god 34 and did not remember the Lord their God, who had rescued them from the hands of all their enemies on every side. 35 They also failed to show any loyalty to the family of Jerub-Baal (that is, Gideon) in spite of all the good things he had done for them.

Introduction

After praying for it, how do you personally choose leaders? Do you have criteria? Do you choose by their experience, academic achievements, eloquence, motivational skills or charm? We hope to have God-chosen leaders that favor us, right?

The greatest leader of Israel was Moses. He was not chosen through election. Moses had no chance in election. He was not eloquent, not easily convinced to do God’s will, not a great family man, easily scared, run when threatened, and old but God chose him to lead Israel out of Egyptian slavery. Moses was the most humble man.

It says in Numbers 12:3, 3Moses was a very humble man, more humble than anyone else on the face of the earth.

Did God choose Moses because of his humility? A humility that God accepts comes from the fruit of the Holy Spirit. Moses exemplified the standard of humility that human can have. When God chooses a leader, He does not base His decision on a person’s qualification. He actually chose the least qualified person in human’s eyes.

It says in 1 Corinthians 1:27, 27God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.

When God chose a leader of the Israelites to fight against the Midianites, Gideon hesitated. He thought that he was the least in his family and not the strongest or greatest. Yet, God chose him to defeat their enemies. While Gideon was alive, no one dared to attack them again. During his lifetime, Israel experienced peace for 40 years.

1. Lifetime

28 Thus Midian was subdued before the Israelites and did not raise its head again. During Gideon’s lifetime, the land had peace forty years. 29 Jerub-Baal son of Joash went back home to live. 30 He had seventy sons of his own, for he had many wives. 31 His concubine, who lived in Shechem, also bore him a son, whom he named Abimelek. 32 Gideon son of Joash died at a good old age and was buried in the tomb of his father Joash in Ophrah of the Abiezrites.

All of us can be potential leader. Believers are called to be leaders. While a few may lead many people, others lead according God’s design. In secular governance, there’s limited tenure. In God’s kingdom, God-chosen leaders have lifetime tenure. 

Limited tenure in the secular government is a preventive measure against abuse of authority. Abuse of power is possible even among God’s people. We believe that all authorities, great or small, abusive or not had been established by the Lord. God has good reasons for that. He also removes anyone from power whenever He wishes it.

It says in Daniel 4:29-32, 29As the king was walking on the roof of the royal palace of Babylon, 30 he said, “Is not this the great Babylon I have built as the royal residence, by my mighty power and for the glory of my majesty?” 31 Even as the words were on his lips, a voice came from heaven, “This is what is decreed for you, King Nebuchadnezzar: Your royal authority has been taken from you. 32You will be driven away from people and will live with the wild animals; you will eat grass like the ox.

Pride destroys good character. Nebuchadnezzar was mighty powerful king in his generation. He thought that it was by his greatness and power that his kingdom was established. He became very proud of his achievements, God humbled him down. 

Scholars suggest that Nebuchadnezzar experienced a mental breakdown, and he thought that he was an ox, lived like buffalo eating grass, was not concerned about his hair, and his finger nails grew like claws of a bird. He was driven away from the most powerful and enviable position to the most undesirable state of lifestyle.

Nebuchadnezzar’s predicament reminds us of 1 Peter 5:5, 5You who are younger, submit yourselves to your elders. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.”

Submission is a practical proof of humility. Service acceptable to the Lord is not about intellectuality but humility. Accepting the call to serve God is humility. How? The Holy Spirit bears fruit of humility in us when we respond to His call, and we accept the responsibility that God designed for us to do, which is our proper worship of Him.

The Lord Jesus said in Matthew 20:25-28, 25You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. 26Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant,  27 and whoever wants to be first must be your slave— 28 just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.

The requirement for church leadership is tough because it’s godly standard. We may choose anyone we prefer as leaders but God decides on the tenure of a leader to serve in the office. Pray for discernment and give your loyalty to God-chosen leaders.

2. Loyalty

33 No sooner had Gideon died than the Israelites again prostituted themselves to the Baals. They set up Baal-Berithas their god 34 and did not remember the Lord their God, who had rescued them from the hands of all their enemies on every side. 35 They also failed to show any loyalty to the family of Jerub-Baal (that is, Gideon) in spite of all the good things he had done for them.

After the death of Gideon, the Israelites restored Baal worship. Gideon earned the name Jerub-Baal after he challenged the existence of Baal by destroying the altar of Baal. The people of his town were angry at him. They demanded Gideon to die but his father defended him in Judges 6:31, 31Are you going to plead Baal’s cause? Are you trying to save him? Whoever fights for him shall be put to death by morning! If Baal really is a god, he can defend himself when someone breaks down his altar.

That was the first challenge that Gideon faced. He overcame fear of his own people. After that, he might have gained more confidence that God has really chosen him to lead the Israelites, and they defeated their enemies eventually. 

No enemy was brave enough to invade them again while Gideon was alive. 

After Gideon died, the attitude of the Israelites has quickly changed. They forget his heroism and had no loyalty to his family. 

During the last 40 years of Gideon’s life, there was no dramatic event that had been recorded. Everyone must have enjoyed their lives. Everyone may have prospered and become rich, and Gideon’s family fortune was just ordinary wealthy like everyone.

It says in Proverbs 22:1, 1A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver or gold.

To have a good name is better than riches with God but this reality is not readily accepted. Many would strive hard and do whatever means to get rich. In the secular world, money matters over manners. Good manners have been disregarded and diminishing even in church setting. Such is very humiliating circumstance.

Many so-called Christian churches are very accommodating to worldly lifestyle. The distinction between love others and conformity has been confused. Biblical norms are interpreted to accommodate groups with lifestyle abominable to the Lord. 

Are we commanded to accommodate people who publicly oppose godly lifestyle? Should we live by faith and set apart from lifestyle patterns of the world?

It says in 2 Peter 2:6-10, 6If God condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah by burning them to ashes, and made them an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly; 7and if he rescued Lot, a righteous man, who was distressed by the depraved conduct of the lawless 8 (for that righteous man, living among them day after day, was tormented in his righteous soul by the lawless deeds he saw and heard)— 9 if this is so, then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials and to hold the unrighteous for punishment on the day of judgment. 10 This is especially true of those who follow the corrupt desire of the flesh and despise authority. 

Many Christian followed the lifestyle of Lot. They indirectly support ungodly lifestyle by attending rallies organize by ungodly groups. In contrast, Abraham had a chance to be allied or become friend of the king of Sodom, but he rejected anything belonging to the people of Sodom, and God favored and blessed him.

We are Abraham’s children and should live like Abraham and not like Lot. May God raise our leaders to live by faith and never be dictated by the pattern of this world. 

It says in Romans 12:2, 2Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

Our decisions are very crucial during election of church leaders or government officials. We hope to have God-fearing leaders. It favors our cause as believers. 

Would God bless us when we elect God-fearing leaders? Certainly!

When we elect leaders, our decision should not be influenced or follow the patterns of secular styles. We need to be prayerful that God would give us insight when we choose. Our expectation may not necessarily be the result but we would be spared from guilty feelings if our decision is inspired by the Spirit of the Lord.

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