Theme of the Week: The Book of Judges
Bible Verse: “When the princes in Israel take the lead, when the people willingly offer themselves – praise the LORD!” Judges 5:2
Scripture Reading: Judges 4:1-16
As I read the Word of God, I become convinced that God has called every Christian to exercise some kind of leadership responsibility. Leadership is a spiritual issue of great importance, and therefore, we need to acquire a clear biblical concept of God’s standards for leaders.
Deborah was obviously an exceptional woman – one of only three prophetesses in the Old testament – and the only woman ever called by God to be the national leader of His people. So it is hardly surprising to discover that this unique woman had some outstanding gifts as a leader.
She saw a need and was committed to doing something about it. Deborah was a woman who refused to accept the status quo. She saw a desperate need in the life of her people and took action. Deborah was not the only one to see the problem, but she was the only one who was determined to do something about it.
Two things motivated Deborah to take action:
- First, she was critically realistic about the situation. It is right here that many of us view our leadership responsibilities through a fog. We need a loving realism about our churches, organizations, and families.
- Next, Deborah went beyond critical evaluation to goal setting. She had a clear goal, the immediate and obvious one of political liberty.
Two marks of leaders are that they are future-oriented and goal-oriented.
She enlisted help. Deborah was a very realistic woman. Israel had a military problem, and she needed a military leader to do what she could not. Therefore she recruited the man she needed by sending north for the best person she could find, a man named Barak. Deborah was wise enough to know the value of a team and perceptive enough to recognize both her own limitations and Barak’s strengths.
One mark of leaders is that they are aware of personal talents and abilities but equally realistic about their limitations. So a leader recruits and builds a team.
She motivated help. Barak may have been gifted, but apparently he was wrapped up in fear and uncertainty. Deborah deliberately set out to encourage and motivate him. She did three things. First she challenged him with God’s command: “The Lord, the God of Israel, commands you.” Second, she strengthened him with God’s promise. Third, Deborah encouraged Barak with her presence.
She developed a plan. Almost anyone can see a need, but it is another thing to come up with a plan to deal with it.
In all these ways, Deborah demonstrated outstanding talents as a leader. But having said all that, we cannot really understand her until we consider her faith.
Only by faith in God could Deborah have carried out her plans and reached her goal. The most important characteristic of a Christian leader, in whatever area of life, is a dynamic, bold faith in God. What the people I lead need more than anything else is not a great system or a great organization, but a person who knows his God.
Taken from Hearts of Iron, Feet of Clay by Gary Inrig. ©1979, 2005 by Gary Inrig, and used by permission of Discovery House, Grand Rapids MI 49501. All rights reserved.
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