CHARACTER COUNTS IN LEADERSHIP

      I can remember when a man’s character, principles and virtues were the foremost qualifications laid out for all to see when one was being considered for political office. Oh, how my dad used to hover over the radio and have newspapers spread out when determining who to vote on for Mayor or Governor or Senator or President. This was pretty much how it was across the nation. It seems a person did not have to necessarily go to church or be a Christian so long as he was sympathetic to Christian principles and causes. 

      The Bible reveals that character and effective leadership are as inseparable as hydrogen and oxygen in water. God began our species in a beautiful Garden, where all was perfect. God gave our first two ancestors hundreds of fruit trees. They could eat of all of them except for only one. They were told that the day they ate of that tree, the Knowledge of Good and Evil, they would die, that is be separated from God, and in so doing they were also separated from the Tree of Life. (Genesis 3:22-24). Adam listened to Satan, allowing himself to become character flawed.
      A great Bible figure, Joseph, began his illustrious political career after his brothers sold him into slavery. His master, Potiphar, very soon entrusted this honest, hard working youngster with everything in his house. When Potiphar’s wife attempted to seduce him, Joseph refused to sin against God, and quickly fled like a deer from the house while she was ripping his clothes off him!

      Joseph was put through some serious trials, but God rewarded him for his upright character. In time Joseph was exalted to the highest political position possible in Egypt under Pharaoh. (Genesis 41:41) Egypt prospered under the righteous leadership of Joseph.

       Some 400 years later God raised up another man of fine upstanding character. Through Moses God set forth the Ten Commandments for the Israelites. Just imagine how much better our nation would be today, if our leaders and their subjects alike followed the Commandments, even if just by the letter, let alone the spirit! (Matthew 5:27, 28). Under Moses’ leadership Israel prospered. Eventually he needed help with the responsibilities of administering the nation. Moses Father-in-law offered this sound advice:

“. . . SELECT FROM THE PEOPLE ABLE MEN, SUCH AS FEAR GOD, MEN OF TRUTH, HATING

COVETOUSNESS, AND SET SUCH OVER THEM AS RULERS . . . “ EXODUS 18:21 (NKJV).

          Wow! These men had to be God-fearing, honest, wise, discerning and unbiased in their personal lives – or they were unfit to lead! When Moses died, God told his successor, Joshua - 

                     “THIS BOOK OF THE LAW SHALL NOT DEPART FROM YOUR MOUTH, BUT YOU SHALL

                     MEDITATE IN IT DAY AND NIGHT, THAT YOU MAY OBSERVE TO DO ACCORDING TO ALL

                     THAT IS WRITTEN IN IT. FOR THEN YOU WILL MAKE YOUR WAY PROSPEROUS, AND

                     THEN YOU WILL HAVE GOOD SUCCESS.”  JOSHUA 1:8 (NKJV).

     Joshua’s political administration would rise or fall on how he obeyed a spiritual law! Joshua did it, as did his officers and so did Israel. The nation of Israel flourished under Joshua. 

     After Joshua died, Israel endured much instability — mostly because of immoral leadership. The book of Judges graphically illustrates this, clearly showing how the character of a leader, does in fact, affect the people. Othniel obeyed God’s commandments and the land had rest for 40 years. (Judges 3:11) His successors disobeyed and the nation was plunged into crisis again. God raised up Ehud and Israel rested for 80 years. His successors were disobedient and the nation sank back again into oppression.

     On and on the cycle went. Gideon told the people to obey God in spite of unrighteous leaders, but in the end, there was no king in Israel, and

                       “. . . EVERYONE DID WHAT WAS RIGHT IN HIS OWN EYES.” JUDGES 21:25 (NKJV) 

                                                             Nobody really cared! Everyone just did his own thing. Sound familiar?

     Sin is disastrous for both leaders and followers. But when we truly change our ways, God forgives and can use us to do great things.

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HOW LONG WILL GOD STAY HIS ANGER AGAINST THE HIGH COURT’S ANTI-CHRISTIAN DECISIONS?

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     God inspired writers of the Bible to record the character flaws and sins of leaders so we might see how sin destroys. We must not try to run ahead of God. Isaac was Abraham’s son of promise. But because of impatience, Abraham fathered Ishmael through a hand-maid. Abraham repented and became known as “A FRIEND OF GOD”, but just look at the world of trouble we have today in the Middle East because of Abraham’s sin!

     Look at David. He sinned by having a son by Bathsheba. In an effort to cover his sin, David had Bathsheba’s husband, Uriah killed. But God rebuked David through Nathan. David replied sorrowfully:

                                       ". . . I HAVE SINNED AGAINST THE LORD. AND NATHAN SAID TO DAVID, THE LORD

                                ALSO HAS PUT AWAY YOUR SIN; YOU WILL NOT DIE."  II SAMUEL 12:13 (NKJV)

     David repented deeply - very deeply. (Psalms 51) David changed, repented from his wicked ways. God forgave David and still used him as a leader! Nevertheless, the after-effect of David's lustful interlude with sin was not pretty. He suffered, and so did the nation. His child died, his son Absalom rebelled, Israel erupted in civil war, tens of thousands died, Adonijah staged a coup. For the rest of David's life, the nation of Israel was at war. This was the chain of events triggered by David's infidelity, but it would have been far worse had he not repented. 

     Please, let no one brush aside the above scriptures, rationalizing, "BUT THIS IS IN THE OLD TESTAMENT." The apostle Paul admonishes us -

                              ". . . WHATEVER THINGS WERE WRITTEN BEFORE WERE WRITTEN FOR OUR LEARNING . . . "

                                                                                                                         ROMANS 15:4 (nkjv)

     We all have heard someone say, "Your reputation precedes you!" I learned from my Dad that reputation is made up of those things people see you do. Character is that which you do when no one is watching. 

    John Jay was the first Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court. On October 12, 1816, he said, “Providence has given our people the choice of their rulers, and it is the duty, as well as the privilege and interest of our Christian nation to select and prefer Christians for their rulers.” 

     I trust that everyone who reads this devotional will join me in daily praying for A NATIONAL REVIVAL to sweep across America stirring us to both individual, family and national repentance. Come quickly Lord Jesus into our hearts, homes and leadership!

     Just A Thought Across The Garden Gate by Parson Don  

                    

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Updated May 17, 2012

© 2009-2015 by Donald R. "Don" Brown, of Farmington, MO - U.S.A

This site may be freely linked, but not duplicated in any way without permission 

Each devotional was written by Parson Don Brown, and inspired under God's Direction

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