Joshua and Judges: The doctrine of leadership part 133 - The Responsibilities and tests of Leadership; 2Co 11:28; Exo 8-10.
length: 83:56 - taught on Jul, 17 2016
Title: Joshua and Judges: The doctrine of leadership part 133 - The Responsibilities and tests of Leadership; 2CO 11:28; Exo 8-10.
Announcements / opening prayer:
George S. Patton takes off his helmet as he enters the century-old Catholic chapel. Though Episcopalian, he is in need of a place to worship. The sound of his footsteps echoes off the stone
floor as he walks reverently to the foot of the altar. The scent of melting wax from the many votive candles fills the small chamber. Patton kneels, unfolding the prayer he has written for this occasion,
and bows his head.
"Sir, this is Patton talking," he says, speaking candidly to the Almighty. "The past fourteen days have been straight hell. Rain, snow, more rain, more snow — and I am beginning to wonder what's going on in Your headquarters. Whose side are You on anyway?"
Patton and the Third Army are now thirty-three miles south of Bastogne. Every available man under his command has joined this race to rescue the city. The Bulge in the American lines is sixty
miles deep and thirty miles wide, with Bastogne an American-held island in the center. And while Patton's men have so far been successful in maintaining their steady advance, there is still
widespread doubt that he can succeed. Outnumbered and outgunned by the Germans, Patton faces the daunting challenge of attacking on icy roads in thick snow, with little air cover. Small wonder that British commander Field Marshal Bernard Law Montgomery — whom Patton has taken to calling a
"tired little fart" — and other British authorities are quietly mocking Patton's advance. He has even heard that many of them are suggesting he hold his lines and not attack, as Monty is doing, for fear that the wily German field marshal Gerd von Rundstedt may be preparing to launch yet another surprise attack that could do irreparable damage to the Allies. "Hold von Rundstedt?" Patton grumbled in reply. "I'll take von Rundstedt and shove him up Montgomery's ass."
Despite those hard words, the truth is that the Third Army may be in trouble. Patton has vowed to Tony McAuliffe and the 101st Airborne that he will be in Bastogne on Christmas Day. However,
thanks to the weather, it is very likely he will not be able to keep this promise. So the general prays.
"For three years my chaplains have been telling me that this is a religious war. This, they tell me, is the Crusades all over again, except that we're riding tanks instead of chargers. They insist that we are here to annihilate the Germans and the godless Hitler so that religious freedom may return to Europe. Up until now I have gone along with them, for You have given us Your unreserved
cooperation. Clear skies and a calm sea in Africa made the landings highly successful and helped us to eliminate Rommel. Sicily was comparatively easy and You supplied excellent weather for the armored dash across France, the greatest military victory that You have thus far allowed me. You have often given me excellent guidance in difficult command situations and You have led German units into traps that made their elimination fairly simple. But now You've changed horses midstream. You seem to have given von Rundstedt every break in the book, and frankly, he's beating the hell out of us. My army is neither trained nor equipped for winter warfare. And as You know, this weather is more suitable for Eskimos than for southern cavalrymen. But now, Sir, I can't help but feel that I have offended You in some way. That suddenly You have lost all sympathy for our cause. That You are throwing in with von Rundstedt and his paper-hanging god [Hitler]. You know without me telling You that our situation is desperate. Sure, I can tell my staff that everything is going according to plan, but there's no use telling You that my 101st Airborne is holding out against tremendous odds in Bastogne, and that this continual storm is making it impossible to supply them even from the air. I've sent Hugh Gaffey, one of my ablest generals, with his 4th Armored Division, north toward that all-important road center to relieve the encircled garrison and
he's finding Your weather more difficult than he is the Krauts."
This isn't the first time Patton has resorted to divine intervention. Every man in the Third Army now carries a three-by-five card that has a Christmas greeting from Patton on one side and a special prayer for good weather on the other. The general firmly believes that faith is vital when it comes to doing the impossible. Patton sees no theological conflict in asking God to allow him to kill the enemy. He has even given the cruel order that all SS soldiers are to be shot rather than taken prisoner.
"I don't like to complain unreasonably," Patton continues his prayer, "but my soldiers from Meuse to Echternach are suffering tortures of the damned. Today I visited several hospitals, all full of frostbite cases, and the wounded are dying in the fields because they cannot be brought back for medical care." "Damn it, Sir, I can't fight a shadow. Without Your cooperation from a weather standpoint, I am deprived of accurate disposition of the German armies and how in the hell can I be intelligent in my attack? All of this probably sounds unreasonable to You, but I have lost all patience with Your chaplains who insist that this is a typical Ardennes winter, and that I must have faith. Faith and patience be damned! You have just got to make up Your mind whose side You are on. You must come to my assistance, so that I may dispatch the entire German Army as a birthday present to your Prince of Peace. Sir, I have never been an unreasonable man; I am not going to ask You to do the impossible. I do not even insist upon a miracle, for all I request is four days of clear weather. Give me four days so that my planes can fly, so that my fighter bombers can bomb and strafe, so that my reconnaissance may pick out targets for my magnificent artillery. Give me four days of sunshine to dry this blasted mud, so that my tanks roll, so that ammunition and rations may be taken to my hungry, ill-equipped infantry. I need these four days to send von Rundstedt and his godless army to their Valhalla. I am sick of this unnecessary butchering of American youth, and in exchange for four days of fighting weather, I will deliver You enough Krauts to keep Your bookkeepers months behind
in their work. Amen."
December 27, 1944, George Patton once again walks to the front of a small Catholic chapel and drops to his knees in prayer.
"Sir, this is Patton again," he begins with an air of contrition. "And I beg to report complete progress. Sir, it seems to me that You have been much better informed about the situation than I was,
because it was that awful weather which I cursed You so much which made it possible for the German army to commit suicide. That, Sir, was a brilliant military move, and I bow humbly to Your
10. The Responsibilities of Leadership.
2CO 11:28 Apart from such external things, there is the daily pressure upon me of concern for all the churches.
We have noted several times that a leader in Christ's kingdom is a servant and a slave.
"In other kingdoms they rule, whose privilege it is to be ministered unto. In the Divine commonwealth, they rule who account it a privilege to minister." [A. B. Bruce]
The true leader is concerned primarily with the welfare of others, not with his own comfort or prestige. When God chose a leader to replace Moses, and there were plenty of ambitious people in Israel, He chose Joshua.
And Joshua did as Moses told him
So Moses arose with Joshua his servant
his servant Joshua,
Then Joshua the son of Nun, the attendant of Moses from his youth
So the Lord said to Moses, "Take Joshua the son of Nun, a man in whom is the Spirit, and lay your hand on him
Caleb the son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite and Joshua the son of Nun, for they have followed the Lord fully.
Now Joshua the son of Nun was filled with the spirit of wisdom
Disciplining other is a responsibility of the leader, a duty often unwelcome.
It is best for the leader to be very careful before promoting anyone or delegating to anyone, rather than have to remove someone from a position. He must remember that God's glory is the top priority and not the feelings of others. If they demand discipline he has to go through with it.
Brethren, even if a man is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, lest you too be tempted.
2TH 3:13 But as for you, brethren, do not grow weary of doing good.
2TH 3:14 And if anyone does not obey our instruction in this letter, take special note of that man and do not associate with him, so that he may be put to shame.
2TH 3:15 And yet do not regard him as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother.
This should never be done rashly or in anger. Agape love seeks for the betterment of another and gentleness yet firmness is called for. The reason for discipline must always be clear and made clearly known to the disciplined. It should always be done in private.
The leader must provide guidance. He must know where he is going by the guide of God's will and then have the courage to go before he can presume to lead others.
1CO 11:1 Be imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ.
1CO 11:2 Now I praise you because you remember me in everything, and hold firmly to the traditions, just as I delivered them to you.
In guiding others it is necessary to clearly communicate the goals and objectives and even then there may be opposition even by mature Christians who have strong opinions of their own. It is more productive to persuade them of the objectives than to force them to follow, but this can't always be possible. He must listen to the voices of his subordinates and make adjustments if their input advances the objective in ways the leader hadn't foreseen. This takes humility. If the input of others is counterproductive the leader must patiently convince them of the right way while always maintaining his authority.
A leader must initiate. He must be visionary but also venturesome.
He can't wait for things to happen. He must be a self-starter, always on the lookout for improved methods and initiative and eagerness with new ideas.
Safety and security are important but not always the most important thing. Prayer and study are the way in which the leader will know to move forward with risk, for if it is the will of God known with conviction, like the spies in the Promised Land, he must go with vigor and surety.
Excess caution causes more failure than optimism.
Think of the heroes of the Bible and ask if they were more often cautious or daring.
11. The Tests of Leadership:
Compromise with the will of the world.
EXO 8:25 And Pharaoh called for Moses and Aaron and said, "Go, sacrifice to your God within the land."
EXO 8:26 But Moses said, "It is not right to do so, for we shall sacrifice to the Lord our God what is an abomination to the Egyptians. If we sacrifice what is an abomination to the Egyptians before their eyes, will they not then stone us?
EXO 8:27 "We must go a three days' journey into the wilderness and sacrifice to the Lord our God as He commands us."
"You can worship God but don't be so rigid about it," is the compromise from the world.
Such compromises have led many churches to be worldly and so without power.
EXO 8:28 And Pharaoh said, "I will let you go, that you may sacrifice to the Lord your God in the wilderness; only you shall not go very far away.
"Ok, you can go but don't go too far."
Later Pharaoh allowed just the men to go while the women and children stayed and still later, Pharaoh demanded that they leave the flocks and herds behind. Moses would not compromise with any of these.
EXO 10:25 But Moses said, "You must also let us have sacrifices and burnt offerings, that we may sacrifice them to the Lord our God.
EXO 10:26 Therefore, our livestock, too, will go with us; not a hoof will be left behind, for we shall take some of them to serve the Lord our God.
Compromise with the world is never necessary when the battle is the Lord's.
Ambition is a frequent test in leadership. The leader must always remember that he is first and foremost a servant.
NUM 14:11 And the Lord said to Moses, "How long will this people spurn Me? And how long will they not believe in Me, despite all the signs which I have performed in their midst?
NUM 14:12 "I will smite them with pestilence and dispossess them, and I will make you into a nation greater and mightier than they."
NUM 14:19 "Pardon, I pray, the iniquity of this people according to the greatness of Thy lovingkindness, just as Thou also hast forgiven this people, from Egypt even until now."
The leader is tested by rejection. He must remember that they do not reject him but God whom he represents.
NUM 14:5 Then Moses and Aaron fell on their faces in the presence of all the assembly of the congregation of the sons of Israel.
NUM 14:6 And Joshua the son of Nun and Caleb the son of Jephunneh, of those who had spied out the land, tore their clothes;
NUM 14:7 and they spoke to all the congregation of the sons of Israel, saying, "The land which we passed through to spy out is an exceedingly good land.
NUM 14:8 If the Lord is pleased with us, then He will bring us into this land, and give it to us — a land which flows with milk and honey.
NUM 14:9 Only do not rebel against the Lord; and do not fear the people of the land, for they shall be our prey. Their protection has been removed from them, and the Lord is with us; do not fear them."
NUM 14:10 But all the congregation said to stone them with stones. Then the glory of the Lord appeared in the tent of meeting to all the sons of Israel.
And the Lord said to Samuel, "Listen to the voice of the people in regard to all that they say to you, for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me from being king over them.
The test of the seemingly impossible situation. If a leader is to survive he must see the complex and difficult as normal.
Moses faced an impossible situation when he reached the Red Sea, but he was calm, knowing that God would somehow deliver. Here again we find the importance of a pure vision of the will of God. Is it God's will that this so-called impossible situation be solved, and if the leader can answer that affirmatively, then he remains poised and patient for God's solution.
When the Lord leads you through the death shadowed valley you will come out on the other side in a better place, a place that only His hand could have made, a place in your soul where fear and enemies do not tread.