Leaders AND Followers

Judges, chapter 19, features one of the most horrific accounts in the entire Bible. It is very tough to read.

You know it’s not going to end well when it starts with a man who serves God (as a Levite), and he has a concubine. And as you read on, you’ll notice the language change. He can’t seem to decide whether she is his kept-woman or his wife.

Bad decision follows bad decision. And the ending is truly tragic in every sense of that term. I’ll let you discover the outcome through your reading.

What I want to do is go back and focus on the very beginning of this tragedy, and the seven words that initiate it…

“In those days Israel had no king” (Judges 19:1, NIV)

Ironically, the previous chapter starts with the same words, and while that chapter is not quite as tragic as chapter 19, it doesn’t feature acts of great faith and devotion to the glory of God, either. Clearly, there’s a theme here!

Seven words. Yet those seven words are indicators that faithful Christian leadership is critically important to the story of God’s people. More than that, Christian leadership is shown to be vital to the faithfulness of God’s people.

In today’s world, authority is constantly under question, and even humble, faithful, men of God are carefully scrutinized. Not that this is entirely a bad thing. We all require accountability. But in a culture like ours, we also need to occasionally step back and be reminded of the importance of humble, faithful Christian leadership.

And, by the way, there is critical importance to humble, faithful Christian followership as well! No leader can lead without willing followers.

Of course, no Christian leader is exempt from sin. Each one has his weaknesses and his faults, just as the judges of this Old Testament book did. But those leaders fulfilled the vital role of guiding God’s people forward in times of severe testing, trials and, oftentimes, leading them back to God after serious stumbles in their faith.

This Levite in chapter 19 is a perfect example of the depths to which God’s people will fall without faithful Christian leadership. The Israelites were unwilling to follow God as their King. That’s the sad truth here. And it’s still sometimes the sad truth today.

So God gives human leaders as his agents — his “kings” — to shepherd people with him and for him. These leaders are worthy of honor and respect.

We serve the cause and the glory of God when we follow godly leaders faithfully.

Our Bible reading for Thursday, May 14, is Judges 18:1 – 19:30, John 8:12-30 and Psalm 60:5-12.

Lord, for those roles in my life where I am a leader, help me to lead humbly, faithfully and patiently, for your purpose and your glory. For those roles in my life where I am a follower, help me to follow humbly, faithfully and patiently, for your purpose and your glory. Forgive me for my sins, my weaknesses and my faults, whether leading or following. May the blood of your Son, Jesus, wash me clean, and prepare me for a new day of leading and following. Most of all, may today be for me a day of following Jesus!

Header image based on "Desert Leader" by Hamed Saber, CC By 2.0