Moses shared individual curses the last time we were together. Today he shares the blessings waiting for Israel IF/WHEN they remain true to the Lord and follow His Laws.
This isn’t the “Servant Leadership” style Jesus would later bring but it is what God put into place for His people through His Law. So this is where we will focus today.
Israel would be the bearers of God’s name to the world. He gave them His expectations and rules to live by. He was making a promise to the people as a whole. But each individual had a part in making up that whole. The leaders would hold more sway over the direction of Israel than the individual did but this didn’t let the common man off the hook for his own behavior. He required adherence to His standards of the individual and the nation. As a whole they would either be blessed or cursed.
When I began thinking about this issue of community I was focused more on the individuals making up the community and influencing its direction. But then I was prompted to look at how leadership from above impacts the direction of the whole.
In the beginning of the people who would be called Israel there was one who was responsible for the direction of the many; Abraham. God spoke to him and provided him with direction he passed onto those who were under him. All who were under him received God’s blessings or curses as a result of following him as he followed God.
God uses a “Top Down” leadership structure. He expects those in authority to direct the behaviors of those subject to them. His design fits both the macro and micro aspects of those who call on His name.
With the nation of Israel He expected His high priest to be their “Top” who would respond to His command. Even when they had kings, the kings were to listen to the word of the Lord in making their decisions for the direction of their kingdom.
In the tribes of Israel, before the kings, God raised up leaders that would direct those under them. The families from each tribe received their direction from their single leader.
In the structure of the family God calls the husband to be the head. He is to listen to God’s direction and lead his family according to the principals he receives from Him.
In our own bodies our brain directs the behavior of each of its members. There is chaos when this directional flow is broken.
God was ALWAYS to be the Head. He has our perfect peace within His hands if we will only follow Him completely. His leadership ALSO includes listening to the needs and wants of those under His care!
We know that our world doesn’t always follow this direction. From the hand that refuses to move because the connection to the brain has been lost to the rioters in the streets that reject the rule of those in authority. Sometimes this “Bottom Up” reactions has positive results too. The overthrowing of oppressive governments always start this way.
When leadership goes awry it is up to the individual to help halt its destructive direction. This doesn’t mean that there should be total anarchy and a throwing off of all leadership but a rising up within to support a return of a healthy direction for the whole again. Sometimes this means reminding the “top” where they should be looking for their direction and other times it means removing and replacing those at the top.
God WANTS to bless His people. He even set in place many “bottom up” responses. These were the prophets. Elisha, Elijah, Daniel, Isaiah, Ezekiel, and Nehemiah are just a few who God chose from the regular people to be His voice to those in authority. When the ones above were not listening to Him He brought in someone who would. God used these men to try and return the leadership back to what He intended for it to be in the beginning.
God also has regular individuals who effect change quietly. They do this by individually following where He leads them and refusing to follow the crowd. When Elijah thought he was the only one left following God he found out differently. “Yet I reserve seven thousand in Israel—all whose knees have not bowed down to Baal and whose mouths have not kissed him” (1 Kings 19:18). These men were not rioting in the streets to effect change but choosing to stand for what was right instead. They were the ordinary citizens who still followed God no matter the cost.
In the United States of America we have a say in our leadership. We vote those into office who we believe best represents our interest. This is NOT a perfect system as we often are surprised by the actions that don’t match up with the words that led us to making our choice. We have also become a nation of divisions that no one wants to lay aside to work as a whole. This is NOT how God intends leadership or how He wants those under leadership to behave.
He calls us to pray for our leaders, even the ones we don’t like. He also calls us to be subject to those in authority over us. This doesn’t include following them blindly wherever they lead but submitting to them as He works on their direction. God even used Pharaoh as His instrument and Israel continued to make bricks for him as God worked out His plan.
I would say the bottom line is:
- Submit to your leaders in as much as their directives don’t completely go against God’s will
- Pray for those in authority that they would hear from God and choose to follow Him
- Trust God to care for you in whatever situation you find yourself in
- Follow where He leads you in your life; whether quiet service or one standing and proclaiming the word of the Lord. Just make SURE it IS the word of the Lord you are proclaiming!
Father God, thank You for all the blessings You have brought my family. I pray I’m following where You lead me. I know I still make a LOT of mistakes in my daily walk. I don’t pray often enough for my leaders. I don’t hold many of them in high regard but I do submit to their authority. I pray for Your wisdom in this area for my life and all of those around me.
I want Your blessings on my life Lord. Help me follow You no matter the cost. And my biggest blessing is being Your child! NOTHING the world does to me can take that away. No matter how many “bricks” I have to make while under its rule.
Interesting Father how we didn’t really get down and dig in the blessings You had Moses share. I don’t know if You will take me there later or not but thank You for leading me where we went today. I pray I was following You on this path and not running down “rabbit trials” of my own making.