Tag Archives: leadership

The Allegory of Judges 9:7-15

In Judges 9:7-15, there is a beautiful trees allegory. It is a story told by Jotham, Gideon’s son. Gideon had 70 children, 69 who were killed by Abimelech after Gideon died. Abimelech was a son of Gideon by a concubine in Shechem. Abimelech wanted to be king.  In the previous chapter we read that Gideon had declined to become a king insisting that God was their ruler. Jotham was the lone survivor of Abimelech’s malicious devilish ambition.

7 And when they told it to Jotham, he went and stood in the top of mount Gerizim, and lifted up his voice, and cried, and said unto them, Hearken unto me, ye men of Shechem, that God may hearken unto you. 

8 The trees went forth on a time to anoint a king over them; and they said unto the olive tree, Reign thou over us. 9 But the olive tree said unto them, Should I leave my fatness, wherewith by me they honour God and man, and go to be promoted over the trees?

10 And the trees said to the fig tree, Come thou, and reign over us.
11 But the fig tree said unto them, Should I forsake my sweetness, and my good fruit, and go to be promoted over the trees? 

12 Then said the trees unto the vine, Come thou, and reign over us.
13 And the vine said unto them, Should I leave my wine, which cheereth God and man, and go to be promoted over the trees?

14 Then said all the trees unto the bramble, Come thou, and reign over us.
15 And the bramble said unto the trees, If in truth ye anoint me king over you, then come and put your trust in my shadow: and if not, let fire come out of the bramble, and devour the cedars of Lebanon. Judges 9:7-15

Each plant is a comparison (by implication and representation) and illustrates God’s blessing on his people. The olive tree was a valued tree in that area. It had many uses such as oil for lamps, cooking, medical uses, food and cosmetic.  The wood was used in furniture.  It was a symbol of peace and plenty to the Hebrews.

The fig tree was the most fruitful tree. It’s fruit was sweet. It was a symbol of fruitfulness.  Jesus Christ used the fig tree in Mark 11:112,13,20,21 to teach.

The third reference is to the vine which produced grapes. It was also considered a valuable plant. Jesus Christ is the true vine in John 15:1. God is the farmer. The vine represents spiritual blessings.

All three of these plants turned down the request to rule over the other trees because they were more useful functioning as they were meant to function. They delighted in serving in their own unique ways.

The fourth plant, the bramble was a dangerous plant due to thorns and its ability to burn. It wasn’t very useful but readily delighted in the opportunity to be over the other trees. It was low to the ground so the promise of being able to trust in its shadow was vain.

Leaders like Abimelech are dangerous and cruel. They always grow over boundaries they have no right to mess with. They are not ministering and not to be trusted.

Proverbs 25:19: Confidence in an unfaithful man in time of trouble is like a broken tooth, and a foot out of joint.

Jesus Christ was a wonderful example of a ‘Lord’. He was and is a representative of God’s love. It is through his life people can utilize their usefulness to others to the fullest. He is the true vine and the one who is alive today and he building God’s church.

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Focusing Forward and Real Leadership

Caleb is mentioned in several places as being someone who wholly followed God.

(Numbers 14:24, Deuteronomy 1:36 and others) He was one of the 12 spies that were sent to scope out the land God promised them. Along with Joshua, Caleb was one of the only two spies that came back with glowing words. They were ready to take it on.  The other 10 spies did not feel the same way. They were full of fear.

Fear is a corrosive negative quality. It corrodes relationships with people as well as God. We don’t ever need to be scared of God. God is love and only wants the best for our lives. Our relationship with God cannot be based on fear. Unfortunately, certain religious circles utilize fear to try and motivate people towards their particular theology. We’ve all been exposed to this kind of thinking in some form or another. Wherever fear is, it permeates everything. This doesn’t do much for people to people relationships as well. It causes lots of problems.

We all know and recognize difficult relationships. Sooner or later it gets back to some basic fear that is involved that eventually shows itself. Perfect love displaces fear and replaces it with power, love and sound thinking. Caleb must have been a great person to be around. He had great trust in God and it showed in his peace and determination.

Caleb did not fear.  He stayed focus on God and prepared himself to eventually receive the promises of God. It s true when they didn’t listen to his spy report, Caleb had to do the wilderness walk with the others for 40 years! At 85 years old, he got his opportunity and he had kept himself strong so that he could with God’s help obtain his piece of the land for his family. He knew it would come. Actually the name ‘Caleb’ means ‘full-hearted’.  He had no place for fear in his life, not one little cubbyhole! He was successful! He had no fear to move onward when the time came to do so.

Joshua and Caleb are true leaders. They didn’t have to read books or go to conferences on leadership, they moved forward and were out in front naturally because of where their focus was. They were leading from the front and did not turn back to look at who was following them. Full-hearted people don’t lead from behind.

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Thinking Soberly

The more I read about Moses, the more I see about his life and appreciate him as a leader of Israel. His turning away from his early background and relocating to the Sinai Desert shows the commitment he had. His contentment to stay with Jethro and become a sheep herder shows his humility and rejection of the things of the systems of the world.

Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.
1 John 2:15-16

It is easy to comprehend what ‘lust of the flesh’, and ‘lust of the eyes’, but ‘pride of life’ which is used once in the Word of God was something to think about.  The word ‘pride’ in Greek is ‘alazoneia’ which is the word for arrogant boasting. This is what Eve succumbed to when the Devil promised “ye shall be as gods” when he tempted her to disobey God and eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil.

The desire for world wisdom, power and elevation overcame her heart. Ambition and dominance are strong motivating factors in human nature. We can find it everywhere. Even in the 1st century church, John warned about a man in III John who was a leader and loved preeminence in the church (Diostrephes).

For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith. Romans 12:3

The world’s definition of a leader is to be the top positional ruler; however, in true Biblical standards, a leader is a servant in the sense that he was looking out for others by helping them obtain the promises of God. He is a great example for us today.

 

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