Tuesday, January 20, 2009
Human Authorities and the Christian
"The anger of the Lord burned against them, and he left them: (Num 12:9). We must be careful to treat with respect the leadership God has raised up in our midst. Leadership is placed by the Lord in business, government, churches and any place where leaders are required. Because it is God who places a person in a position of authority, it is a grievous sin to go against that leader. God Himself opposes those who come against His leadership. Leaders are certainly not perfect, they make mistakes, and they are as human as the rest of us (some leaders are first class jerks). Following a leader requires faith that goes way beyond having faith in the leader. Our faith lies in God who lifted the leader to his or her position of authority. We have good reason to be afraid of speaking against authority. "And those are presumptuous who are not afraid to speak evil of leaders." (II Peter 2:10). The removal of God's presence is a sure sign of His displeasure. Miriam and Aaron, the older brother and sister of Moses were upset with his leadership. Rather than say so, they came up the excuse of not being happy with Moses' wife, she was of another race and their prejudice showed itself in speaking against her marriage to their brother Moses. The Lord asked this question, "Why then were you not afraid to speak against my servant Moses?" (Num 12:8). Miriam was stricken with leprosy and were it not for Moses appeal to the Lord on her behalf she would have been removed from the camp permanently. As it was she was removed from the camp for seven days of cleansing. She was also publically exposed for her rebellion. Further more the presense of the Lord left her. Another example of rebellion against leadership is Korah, one of the rich leaders of the Levites, and a cousin of Moses and Aaron. He believed he had been slighted in the distribution of priestly honors and leadership. He envied Moses and Aaron. Realizing that despite his riches and influence he was not going to be able to shake the people's confidence in Moses and Aaron, Korah looked for partners in his campaign against them. Because a rebel will always run to a rebel, Korah went to the people of the tribe of Reuben, Korah swayed the opinions of their leaders and drew them into his conspiracy. Leaders of the tribe of Reuben took up Korah's cause and spoke against Moses' leadership of the people. Adopting the false mantle of piety and justice, he pretended to be a champion of his people. Korah accused Moses and Aaron of imposing their leadership upon the community. "You take too much upon yourselves, for the entire congregation are all holy, and the Lord is in their midst. So why do raise yourselves above the Lord's assembly?" said Korah (Numbers 16:3) and his men to Moses and Aaron. Moses spoke to Korah privately and warned him against his ambition for personal honor. "Is it not enough that the God of Israel has distinguished you from the congregation of Israel to draw you near to Him, to perform the service in the Tabernacle of the Lord and to stand before the congregation to minister to them? " Moses said (Numbers 16:9). But his words fell on deaf ears. Moses told the children of Israel (Numbers 16:28): "With this you shall know that the Lord sent me to do all these deeds, for I did not devise them myself. If these men die as all men die and the fate of all men will be visited upon them, then the Lord has not sent me. But if the Lord creates a creation, and the earth opens its mouth and swallows them and all that is theirs, and they descend alive into the grave, you will know that these men have provoked the Lord." No sooner had Moses finished speaking, than the earth opened up, and swallowed Korah and his associates along with their families and belongings. They were buried alive, suffering a terrible death that made the people who stood nearby flee in terror. If you are struggling with a leader in your life, (Boss, Pastor, Police, Parent, etc.), you must pray for that person. Don't in anyway slander or try to remove that person from their position of authority. God knows how to take care of His leaders. Please leave the results with Him. Dr. Ken Copley is available for counseling, conferences, and local church meetings.