Wednesday, May 1, 2013

12 Lessons From Leaders in the Bible (Part 2 of 3)

The greatest leadership lessons I have learned have not come from leaders of today but from leaders in history, most notably leaders from the Bible.  Some of the greatest examples of effective leadership can be found within the pages of the Bible.  For leaders today, there is much to learn from these ordinary people who made decisions that transformed them into extraordinary leaders.  I discussed four of them in my last post.  Here are three more Bible leaders we can learn from.

5. Joshua: Leaders lead and inspire by example.
In Joshua 24:15, after leading his people into the Promised Land, in one of the most inspiring speeches of the Old Testament Joshua places two choices before the children of Israel. “But if it doesn’t please you to worship Yahweh, choose for yourselves today the one you will worship: the gods your fathers worshiped beyond the Euphrates River or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living” (HCSB)  Joshua said, “You have two choices.  Choice one: Serve the God who brought you into the land. Or choice two: serve the false gods of other peoples.  And then, Joshua leads by example by revealing his choice. “But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord” (ESV).

Because the people believed in Joshua’s leadership, they follow his example. “Then the people answered, “Far be it from us that we should forsake the Lord to serve other gods, for it is the Lord our God who brought us and our fathers up from the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery, and who did those great signs in our sight and preserved us in all the way that we went, and among all the peoples through whom we passed. And the Lord drove out before us all the peoples, the Amorites who lived in the land. Therefore we also will serve the Lord, for he is our God” (Joshua 24:16-18 ESV).  Joshua didn’t have to force or threaten them; by his example he inspires them to follow his lead.

6. David: Leaders are willing to face giants head on.
The story of David and Goliath may be the most famous story in the Bible.  In 1 Samuel 17, the Israelites are being humiliated by the Philistines and their 9-foot tall giant - Goliath.  Goliath taunts the Israelites and challenges them to send him one man and, if that man should defeat him, the Philistines would become their servants.  David, a small shepherd boy who will not even fit into the armor he is provided, volunteers. When Goliath mocks him, David says, “You come to me with a sword and with a spear and with a javelin, but I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied” (v45 ESV).  He then takes a stone, slings it at Goliath, striking him in the forehead and knocks the giant to the ground - dead.  Leaders understand where their real strength comes from.  Therefore, they don’t run from problems, they face them head on.

7. Isaiah: Leaders rise to the occasion
In Isaiah chapter 6, God lays out a need for someone to go and speak for Him.  God has a message and needs a messenger.  Isaiah responds, “Here am I. Send me!”  God issued a call for someone to go.  Isaiah saw it as an opportunity to make a difference for the glory of God.  Leaders don’t wait for someone else to step up when something needs done. They take initiative. Leaders rise to the occasion when the occasion calls for a leader.