Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Lead or Lose

… a generation whose heart was not steadfast, whose spirit was not faithful to God
(Psalm 78:8 – ESV)

Did you realize that Shiloh was the first “capital city” of the Jews, not Jerusalem? That the Tabernacle and the Ark of the Covenant had its first “permanent” dwelling there? However, after a time, God refused to give honor to the tabernacle of Joseph and the tribe of Ephraim, and chose the tribe of Judah, the mount of Zion, and David to be His servant (vs.67-70). It was taken from Shiloh because of the rebellion of Eli’s two sons, and the rebellion of Ephraim in general, as Asaph here recalls (vs.60).

The Israelites had not been following after the Lord, and when the time came to fight the Philistines, they were struck down. So they reasoned among themselves that they needed the Ark of the Covenant to help them win the war. But they were only presuming upon His power and their position as His people. The Philistines seized the Ark of the Covenant, which was in accordance with Divine providence (Genesis 49:10 / 1 Samuel 4:11).

God did not bless Israel’s superstitious belief in the power of the Ark. They were seeking God as the final resolve for their problems, not as the first reason for their plans. Because of their lax attitude, they had developed a blind spot as to the belief of God’s favor being upon them.

The wisdom from God is predicated upon a present tense relationship with Him. No amount of “build up” or maturity can take this fact away. Want proof? How about Solomon: Once he strayed from God, he sank into doubt and seeming apostasy. If the wisest man who ever lived can fail to use the wisdom God gave him, then surely it can happen to us. You cannot dial up the “God link” if there is no connection.

Modern day examples abound. Consider the great preachers who had anointing by the barrelful yet fell all the way down the mountain because they trusted in the past without tending to the present, treating God as a means to an end, rather than their relationship with Him being the purpose itself. He is not a cosmic concierge, waiting at our beck and call.

Looking to our own lives, and the corporate life of the local churches, we cannot simply rest on our laurels. Leaders are to set the example, to live by a higher standard so that those who follow have something to look forward to. When called to lead we must do exactly that: lead, not lounge. We must move forward, not sit idle. We must continue to learn if we are to continue to lead, else we will learn, the hard way, as the Israelites did here. When the battle comes, as it surely will, we must remain steadfast in spirit, or resolve, and not give in to temptation. To presume upon God and His power without the obedience of a relationship is what causes us to lose fights that we should win.


Kim said...


Even So... said...

Pray that we may continue to learn...