The Next Great Leader or the Next Fall?

 

Portrait of Abraham Lincoln

   Lincoln warned the South in his Inaugural Address: "In your
   hands, my dissatisfied fellow countrymen, and not in mine, is
   the momentous issue of civil war. The government will not
   assail you.... You have no oath registered in Heaven to destroy
   the government, while I shall have the most solemn one to
   preserve, protect and defend it."
       
http://www.whitehouse.gov/history/presidents/al16.html

 

 

 

 

Question:

- Is the United States stronger due to Lincoln’s leadership?

More Questions:

-Who was the first positive leader after Joshua?

- Is God a jealous God?

- How important is to follow God’s paths for us?

 

 

The first five books of the Bible include the stories of such great leaders as Abraham,
Joseph, and Moses.  The first five books end with the book of Deuteronomy; the same
book that we read about the end of Moses’ leadership.  At the end of the book of
Deuteronomy and through the book of Joshua we read about the leadership of Joshua. 
Joshua was handpicked by God and received instruction from Moses.  But who was the
next positive leader after Joshua?  The answer can be found in the next book (after the
book of Joshua)  . . . it is found in the book of Judges. 

 

In Joshua 24:19-24 and Judges 2:7-12 we read about the death of Joshua, and the
commitment by God’s people to follow God’s ways.  And in Joshua 24:29 we read
that Joshua dies.

 

Footnote from the Holy Bible:

“Joshua shows God fulfills His promises and renews His expectations of His people.”

Judges 2:7-12 (NIV):
7 The people served the LORD throughout the lifetime of Joshua and of the elders who
     outlived him and who had seen all the great things the LORD had done for Israel.  
8 Joshua son of Nun, the servant of the LORD, died at the age of a hundred and ten.
9 And they buried him in the land of his inheritance, at Timnath Heres in the hill country
   of Ephraim, north of Mount Gaash.  
 
10
After that whole generation had been gathered to their fathers, another
     generation grew up, who knew neither the LORD nor what he had done
     for Israel.
11 Then the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the LORD and served the Baals.
12 They forsook the LORD, the God of their fathers, who had brought them out of Egypt.
     They followed and worshiped various gods of the peoples around them. They
     provoked the LORD to anger

The book of Judges is something of a “Sin Pattern”:

God’s people fall into sin and idol worshiping  . . . and spent time as captives . . .
repented . . . restored . . . sin . . . captives . . . repented . . . restored . . . sin . . .

 

Deborah – a positive influence:

The first positive leader that we read about after Joshua was Deborah. 
Let’s see what the book of Judges tells us about Deborah.

 

Judges 4:1; 4-9; 14 and 16 (NIV) -  Deborah :
1 After Ehud died, the Israelites once again did evil in the eyes of the LORD.

4 Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Lappidoth, was leading Israel at that time.
5 She held court under the Palm of Deborah between Ramah and Bethel in the hill
    country of Ephraim, and the Israelites came to her to have their disputes decided.
6 She sent for Barak son of Abinoam from Kedesh in Naphtali and said to him, "The
   LORD, the God of Israel, commands you: 'Go, take with you ten thousand
   men of Naphtali and Zebulun and lead the way to Mount Tabor.
7 I will lure Sisera, the commander of Jabin's army, with his chariots and his
    troops to the Kishon River and give him into your hands.' "     
8 Barak said to her, "If you go with me, I will go; but if you don't go with me,
    I won't go."      
9 "Very well," Deborah said, "I will go with you. But because of the way you are going
     about this, the honor will not be yours, for the LORD will hand Sisera over to a
     woman." So Deborah went with Barak to Kedesh,

14 Then Deborah said to Barak, "Go! This is the day the LORD has given Sisera into
    your hands. Has not the LORD gone ahead of you?" So Barak went down Mount
    Tabor, followed by ten thousand men.


16 But Barak pursued the chariots and army as far as Harosheth Haggoyim. All the troops
       of Sisera fell by the sword; not a man was left.

 

Commentary found on MyJewishLearning.com:

From Tikva Frymer-Kensky, “Although the book of Judges has traditionally been seen as
describing a chaotic period of time between the Joshua's orderly conquest and the
founding of the monarchy, many modern biblical scholars consider the book an
alternative historical view of how the "conquest of Canaan" came about.  This is the view
of the author of this article, and by this interpretation, Deborah becomes an important
figure in the story of the defeat of the Canaanites . . . .”

Judges 5:1-3 (NIV)   The Song of Deborah (after the victory):

1 On that day Deborah and Barak son of Abinoam sang this song:   
2 "When the princes in Israel take the lead, when the people willingly offer
       themselves —   praise the LORD!     
3 "Hear this, you kings! Listen, you rulers!    I will sing to the LORD, I will sing;
       I will make music to the LORD, the God of Israel.

Matthew Henry’s Commentaries for the book of Judges 5:1-3:

Praise and glory ascribed to God.
No time should be lost in returning thanks to the Lord for his mercies; for our praises are
most acceptable, pleasant, and profitable, when they flow from a full heart. By this, love
and gratitude would be more excited and more deeply fixed in the hearts of believers; the
events would be more known and longer remembered. Whatever Deborah, Barak, or the
army had done, the Lord must have all the praise. The will, the power, and the success
were all from Him.

And then the fall:

After Deborah leadership, God’s people fell into sin again.  A lesson not well learned.

 

Questions:

- How great was Deborah’s faith in God?
- What do you think the people of God did after Deborah was no longer their leader?

- How well are you following in the paths that God has planned for you?
– Do you give thanks to the Lord daily, weekly, monthly?

 

Optional additional reading:        Judges 4 and Judges 5

 

 

References:

The Holy Bible.  Authorized King James Version. Nashville, TN. 
Broadman and Holman Publishers. 1998.

 

The following websites were accessed Jan. 26, 2007 for some of the information above:

http://www.whitehouse.gov/history/presidents/al16.html

http://www.biblegateway.com

http://www.myjewishlearning.com/texts/bible/TO_Prophets_1460/DeutHist/DebFrymerKensky.htm