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Meekness is the Leverage of Leadership

In today’s world, meekness = weakness. God does not view it that way, however. The Bible says of Moses,”Now the man Moses was very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth.” (Numbers 12:3) And in a world where power is everything, Jesus entered the scene in a wooden manger surrounded by barnyard animals. He grew up in an humble village, the son of a carpenter, of modest means. He lived His life serving others, yet Jesus was certainly the most influential leader in all of history.

If you study the lives of Moses and Jesus you’ll find something interesting – they were both great leaders. Both were willing to boldly confront sin and error. Both would rebuke those who believed and lived lies. Both were willing to venture out into the future with faith. Yet they were the meekest men in history. How can this be? You see, we’ve misdefined meekness. Biblical meekness is not weakness, it is really just the opposite.

The Bible’s word for meekness is used in reference to a broken horse, which has all the power to destroy its rider but refrains out of respect for authority. The word is also used to refer to a soldier who has all the might to take on the enemy, yet submits himself completely to the authority of his commanding officer. Meekness is the key to having leverage in leadership. It’s the refusal to demand respect in exchange for commanding it with a life of integrity. It is “controlled power.” Meekness is the willingness to supress those urges to lash out at the wrong time, opting instead to wait for further orders from our commanding officer, Jesus.

Is meekness displayed in your life? How can you submit yourself to Jesus more today? How can you lead others with boldness and courage?

Laying the Groundwork for the Next Leader

Joshua the son of Nun, who stands before you, he shall go in there. Encourage him, for he shall cause Israel to inherit it.

~ Moses, speaking in [youversion]Deuteronomy 1:38[/youversion]

Before the beloved leader Moses passed off the scene, he made sure that he did one thing well. He prepared the soil of the people’s hearts for a coming transition in leadership. Moses knew well that “everything rises and falls on leadership” and so for Israel to thrive in the future, they would need to respond well to God’s chosen man.

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Exchange Worthlessness for Confidence

Don't look at me - #2, 10 good thingsMoses grew up in Egypt as the adopted son of the daughter of Pharaoh himself. He was royal by adoption, privileged in his childhood, educated, cultured, and trained for political leadership in the home of the most powerful man in the world at the time. But he was raised by his birth mother by a divine act of grace, so he knew all along he was really a Jew.

When Moses hit age 40, he made a defining decision to repudiate his Egyptian privileges to “suffer affliction with the people of God rather than enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season.” (Heb. 11) He decided to respond to the inner burden of his heart for his own nation of oppressed people. Good decision. Bad timing and miscalculations followed.

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The Lord Who Heals and the People Who Worship

I must confess, as a Baptist, it took me a rather long time to come to understand the healing nature of God. We Baptists, as Adrian Rogers put it, “believe in miracles, but trust in Jesus.” I still believe this is best. But I also freely admit that in our reaction to the extremism of “healing evangelists” like Binny Hinn and other obvious hucksters and false prophets, that we have a tendency to write off all supposed healings as a mere charade.

Scripture, however, clearly teaches that the Great Physician, through His miraculous touch, heals the bodies of many people. Such was the case for the entire camp of Israelites in the wilderness when they reached the bitter waters of Marah. I’m inclined to believe that these poisonous waters made many of the people quite ill. So God steps into the picture, sweetens the waters, and heals the people. So He reveals to them another title for Himself – Jehovah who heals you.

Fast-forward about fifteen hundred years to Matthew, chapter fifteen. A Gentile woman comes to Jesus and His disciples, begging for a demon to be cast out of her daughter. I am especially moved by her form of worship. First, the text declares that she “cried out to Him, saying, ‘Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David! My daughter is demon-possessed.'” Amazingly, “He answered her not a word.” She chases God and He delights in the pursuit. She was apparently persistent for the disciples asked Jesus to dismiss her, saying, “for she cries out after us.”

Jesus continues to stonewall her by explaining that He was sent with Israel as His first priority, so why should He perform miracles for a Gentile woman? His remaining just beyond her reach is really an attempt to lead her on in her pursuit of the Almighty, and of course it works. “Then she came and worshiped Him, saying, ‘Lord, help me!'”

Instead of responding to her cry, Jesus argues that He really shouldn’t be casting such great miracles before the dogs of the Gentiles. She wisely continues her pursuit, presenting a responding argument that as a dog, she’ll gladly take the crumbs that fall to her. What a great lesson she teaches us. Our worship must always have a heartfelt ring of “Whatever, whenever, however God, just bless me!” to it. So He gives in and heals her, thrilled at her great and faith-filled pursuit. Oh, for such demanding hunger that argues with God for His blessings!

In the next paragraph, Matthew records for us that multitudes came to Him and were healed, “so the multitude marveled when they say the mute speaking, the maimed made whole, the lame walking, and the blind seeing; and they glorified the God of Israel.”

Jesus is the Great Physician, the mighty Healer of the children of men. I find it sad how we overlook the miraculous nature of God. We like to bring Him down to our level. “Well, you know I just think that in modern times, He heals through modern medicine…” Yes, He invented all of it and yes, He uses it, but let us never forget to look for the miraculous and to ask, to beg, to plead for His blessing.

I had a conversation a couple of years ago with a good friend who used to sit under my preaching every week, but who had moved to another town, gotten married, and attended a church of a different denomination. He related to me the story of a funeral that he attended. As he watched the mourners pass the casket to pay their last respects, his heart cried out within him, “Why did nobody ask God even once to heal her?”

Our answer, as good traditional Baptists, might be, “Well, it was just her time, it just wasn’t God’s will to heal her.” Though my friend and I may not agree on all things, I support his question. Why do we no think to ask, to beg, to plead with a worshipful heart to the Almighty Healer to perform miracles. I don’t believe He will always heal, for people do get sick and die, but shouldn’t we at least ask Him?

The theological argument that has arisen from this issue relates to the atonement, and whether or not physical healing for all of God’s people was purchased at the cross or not. I think it’s a moot point either way. The cross proves He heals in the ultimate way, spiritually and eternally. Healing didn’t necessarily have to be purchased, in the sense of a financial transaction, by His atoning death. He was already able to heal, but His atoning death was the ultimate picture of the great work of an Almighty Physician to heal the diseases of the spirit, the soul, and the body.

I think we have naturalized God and have forgotten that He’s a God of tremendous power, who is overwhelmed with compassion, and who desires to give unspeakable peace and joy to His children. He is just as alive and well today as He was in the days of Moses and Jesus. As the old song puts it, “He is able to deliver thee!” So ask, pray, beg, be an intercessor, anoint with oil, believe that He will work miracles, but ultimately trust His decisions no matter what.

True Patriotic Heroism

“Zebulun and Naphtali were a people that jeoparded their lives unto the death in the high places of the field.” -Judges 5:18

There are a lot of great songs in the Bible. The book of Psalms reads like a hymnbook without notes. There is the song of Moses and the song of Miriam. Judges, chapter five, contains the song of Deborah after she and Barak fought with Jabin and Sisera. The fight must have been hard fought and though God gave them victory, much loss must have been incurred.

At the end of the day’s fighting, Deborah composed a song in which she recounted the day’s battle. In the midst of the song, she points out that some of the tribes wanted to approach the situation with diplomacy, in writing. Others remained at home to mind their own business. Still others fought from ships or from stationary bunkers on the beach, but two tribes – Zebulun and Naphtali – put their very lives on the line. They fought in the high places of the fields, hand to hand.

The Hebrew word for “jeoparded” means that they exposed themselves to the elements of battle, risked reproach and even death for the cause of Israel. For the rest of the tribes, the bleakness of their plight was unconcerning. For Zebulun and Naphtali, however, Israel’s safety and future were at stake. Issachar was the third tribe involved directly in the battle. It is apparent that Issachar covered the main front while the other two tribes provided reinforcements.

When it comes to fighting spiritual battles today, many of us are like Benjamin and Ephraim. We’d like to make an agreement with evil that says, “You don’t bother me, and I won’t bother you.” Obviously evil forces don’t honor peace treaties! Others of us are willing to fight, but only from a safe spot such as a ship or a bunker. It’s much easier to look the part of a hero when your uniform doesn’t get messy. But how many of us will be like Zebulun and Naphtali who were willing to engage the enemy and risk everything believing that the Kingdom of God was worth it? The spiritual climate enjoyed by future generations hinges on our decisiveness in putting our lives on the line to prove that God is still on His throne!

What’s the spiritual battle from which you want to retreat today? Stand up and risk all to fight on the open plain, and God will be your greatest Defender! Whether we live or die, God’s name will be honored in the fight!