Leadership – Judges 4
Open your Bibles to Judges 3. Last time we came to the end of Judges 3, verse 31 which seems to be a rather cryptic sort of verse. It's just inserted into the text and not everybody has a clear understanding of what this means. I have sort of glossed past it in times past and I think that as we go on, we live in a remarkable era, where we are able through the use of archeology and discoveries that have been made in the last 30-40 years in combination with a tremendous level of scholarship that has never before been available in the Church to be able to come to a little under-standing of a few passages, not critical passages of course, not significant passages, but here and there under the light of archeology and increased understanding of ancient history we gain a better understanding of what God's Word has to say to us and what the writers of Scripture were communicating.
At the end of Judges 3, sandwiches between the judgeship of Ehud, which concludes in Judges 3:30 and the judgeship of Deborah in Judges 4 we have this cryptic little note about the judgeship of Shamgar, the son of Anath which we studied in detail last time showing that Shamgar was not a judge but he did function as a deliverer of Israel. I also took the time to go into some of the historical background to show that the name Shamgar was not a Hebrew name but etymologically or linguistically seems to be related to Hurrian, that the Hurrians were mercenaries in the ancient world and there was at this time we know a large contingent of Hurrian mercenaries operating in the Egyptian army.
Then we have him described as "the son of Anath," and this is a term related to the Canaanite goddess of war Anath who was viewed as particularly bloodthirsty and violent, and she became associated, adopted rather, into the Egyptian pantheon as early as the 19th century BC and she became the protectress of Pharaoh so that the mercenary troops that were assigned to the protection of Pharaoh were called the sons of Anath and that became a term for them so it seems that the writer of Scripture, by putting this information in here is indicating that this guy is not even a Jew, he's not a believer, he is a Gentile that God has to raise up to protect Israel from this incursion of the Philistine sea people from the southeast.
We know the Philistines were one of the various waves during this period from about 1800 BC down through about the 8th or 9th century, there were various waves of Greeks, colonists that came out from Greece and colonized all along the Mediterranean and they're known as the Greek sea peoples. And it's all related, if you've read The Iliad and The Odyssey, and the Trojan War and all about what was going on with Priam and with Agamemnon and Odysseus and all of those tales, all of that is related and is roughly taking place during this general time period. And because of this assault of the Philistine sea peoples the Egyptians had to protect their northern flank along the Mediterranean and the shock troops that were used to fight off the incursion of the sea peoples were these troops that were called the sons of Anath.
So when you put all of that together it seems that it's pretty logical to infer that this Shamgar is a foreign mercenary used by God to protect Israel from this attack or this threat on their southeastern flank from the sea peoples, the Philistines. And the significance of that for the text is that there is nobody in Israel, apparently, that God can raise up in that sector to protect Israel.
The point is that there is a lack of leadership in Israel, so that God instead of operating on plan A, let's say, which is to raise up somebody who is like Othniel, who is focused on God's plan and God's procedure of the faith rest drill and can trust God for the deliverance and glorify God in his activity because God still controls history, Jesus Christ is in control of history and that's a principle here, that no matter how horrendous things might appear, no matter how devastating they might be at times, especially in light of when we all come to that time of year every four years when there are elections and we face the possibility of seeing our country plunge even further into paganism and frankly it's either going to be one candidate will speed it up and the other one won't slow it down a whole lot, so it's not really that we have a lot of choices from one party to the other because our leaders, the same as the leaders of Israel, are the product of our culture. And so many of them still have their thinking shaped by the dominant pagan thinking of our day.
So don't put your hopes in political parties or political candidates because all they ever deal with is the symptoms of the problem and the symptoms are not to be confused with the problem and as we are seeing time and again in Israel the ultimate problem is not government policies, it's not political philosophies, it's not political parties, it's not even specific personalities, it is a fundamental problem of the orientation of the volition of the nation to the Word of God. And so when God is rejected there is always going to be human viewpoint flooding into the thinking of a culture, whether that's an ancient Jewish culture, a Roman culture at the time of Christ, or a Greek culture, or whether we're talking about modern America, when the culture as a whole rejects absolute truth from the Word of God something takes its place. So the culture as a whole becomes more and more impacted by human viewpoint type thinking and that affects everyone from the top down and so even when we produce leaders that are believers they still have a tendency to be overloaded with pagan thought.
That's what we're going to see in Judges, because what we discover is that many of these men, like Gideon, Barak, Jephthah, Samson are mentioned in Hebrews 11 as men of tremendous faith. That is at some point in time, we must infer…when we study Judges and compare with Hebrews 11 what we must conclude is that these men were not spiritually mature men. They might have reached at some point in time in some area of their thinking but I don't really see them so much as spiritually mature men as men that were at some point in their spiritual life willing to trust God and it was used at a crisis point in the nation and God was able to use them to deliver the nation but in some cases we're going to see that their flaws were so obvious that not only did they have one side, it's like two sides of the same coin, one side was positive to God and they were used at a point in time for victory, for example in Gideon, we will see that Gideon trusts God, his faith is weak, he's really a spiritual wimp, he doesn't want to do what he ultimately does but he does ultimately trust God and win a victory but in the seeds of that victory, and at the same point that Gideon is going to reach sort of the high point of his spiritual life, he almost immediately creates a major problem for Israel.
What we will see happen is that when Gideon wins the great victory everybody comes to him with great accolades and praise and they want to elevate him to kingship and Gideon, operating in genuine humility at that instant in time, rejects that. But it doesn't last long and the writer tells us that not only does Gideon set up an ephod, which was the priestly garment, which is an object of worship and it leads the people into idolatry, but he names his son, Abimelech and if you don't know Hebrew then the whole pun is lost on you but Abimelech means in Hebrew "my father is king." So on the one hand he says no-no, don't make me king, and then he names his son "my father is king." So the writer is showing us that that he has a moment of humility followed by regret and pride and arrogance, and he leads the nation into idolatry. But at one point in time he was victorious and from that we infer and we can see, I think, a great comfort from the fact that we too, like these leaders, are flawed and we fail; we all have sin natures and no matter how much we look at leaders in the Church that we may appreciate, that we may recognize have tremendous gifts and talents and teach the Word they too are flawed. Every pastor is flawed, every teacher if flawed, every professor of theology is flawed and has sin natures.
In fact, this last week I was talking with Tommy about something and we got off into another category and we were discussing personalities and how in today's world there are some personalities that are greatly attacked by other Christians, historical personages as well as contemporary personalities because they have some personality quirk or some personality flaw and so it's a tendency by superficial small-minded believers to criticize. And it's also indicative of the fact that we haven't trained people to understand Church history. And Tommy and I were just knocking back and forth what's happened historically. Calvin was viewed as very harsh and cold and everybody always criticizes Calvin because he condemned Servetus to death and had him executed for heresy but at the time there's no separation of Church and State and heresy is viewed as an act of treason against the state, and Calvin would go to Servetus' cell and he would plead with him to recant of his heresy, almost on a daily basis, but nevertheless he had him executed. So people say he was cold and harsh and there were certainly elements of that in Calvin's personality.
Luther, when Luther got to be in his senior years Luther was cantankerous, he said some of the most bitter, vitriolic, hateful things about the Jews; in fact much of German anti-Semitism can be traced back to some of these outlandish statements that Luther made when he was in his older years. The older he got the more combative his situation became, the more he began to rant and rave about everybody and he became hard and difficult to live with. You have examples of people like Adoniram Judson Gordon; Gordon is the man for whom Gordon College was named which merged with Conwell, and we have Gordon Conwell Seminary in Boston and A. J. Gordon was a very well-known speaker throughout New England, had a church in Boston back in the late 19th century and went the preaching circuit with people like Lewis Sperry Chafer and C. I. Scofield and Dwight Moody, he kind of overlapped both of those periods, and was one of the foremost thinkers and promoters of dispensational theology and pretribulational theology in that generation, and yet in the last 8 months of his life he rejected pretrib doctrine and he started confusing every dispensationalist who believed in it of heresy and he went off the deep end.
Then you have other people like A. W. Pink, he wrote a whole series of different commentaries called Gleanings in Exodus, Gleanings in Genesis, gleanings in this, gleanings in that, he's, in my opinion, a hyper-Calvinist but he was very sound in a lot of areas of his theology but toward the last 15-20 years of his life he became so aggravated with Christians and their negative volition that he sort of said to heck with the whole world and he went off and lived on a desert island, he wouldn't communicate with anybody and he was just as grumpy and crabby as he could be.
The list goes on, and because Christians are ignorant of the fact that we have great leaders who also have sin natures and are flawed and suddenly we see some leader that is flawed and we immediately start attacking them and want to run them out of town on a rail. So you have to have some grace towards people; our leaders are all flawed, from one end to the other. Every one of us has sin natures and when we operate on negative volition, no matter how great our spiritual maturity might by our sin natures can be just as vile and wicked as anybody else's. And we see that in the Judges, that these are men who were products of their time and who were influenced by the paganism of their time and few of them were sold out 100% to the Lord and never really went through any level of epistemological rehabilitation. So there's a lot to learn about leadership and the relationship of doctrine to leadership in Judges.
We come to, I think, a juncture here between chapter 3 and 4 where I want to address, at least in terms of some introductory principles, the whole concept of Biblical leadership and I want to draw a contrast between Biblical leadership and secular concepts of leadership. Leadership has become a hot button issue in the last 20-25 years and one writer writing in 1990 estimated that in the previous decade over 3,000 books had been written on leadership. After a parousal of many of those books he said there's not a whole lot that can be learned and much that is said about what people would like to see in leaders is really exemplified in the Biblical concept of leadership. But somehow our culture does not want to go to the Bible as a standard for leadership. What we see, both in Scripture and what there seems to be a thirst for in the secular world is the concept of character and integrity as something that is essential in leadership. And of course, if you don't have a relationship with God, a relationship with absolute truth, then you're always going to be operating on some level on moral relativism and you're going to not have the same kind of integrity…now I'm not saying that unbelievers can't have some level of integrity for certainly they can, but ultimately there is a conflict and they can never rise to the same standard of Scripture.
So we have to look at some concepts of leadership because I want to have this as sort of a study in progress and as we go through every three or four Judges we'll stop and add a few more insights into the doctrine of leadership. That's what's known as developing a Biblical theology. The term "Biblical theology" does not mean a theology based on the Bible. That's what the average person in the pew thinks and I'm not running that down; Biblical theology means two things, it means a theology that is Biblical and that's just sort of a general everyday use, but there's a technical term called Biblical theology where you develop, on the basis of verse by verse categorical analysis a theology of a subject that is derived from books of the Bible.
I'll use a little chart here to show you what I mean by this and that is that in the course of the study of Scripture you have at your core exegesis, the analysis of the syntax and word studies in individual books of the Bible. But what you do in exegesis is you build a study of individual books. For example, we've been going through the Gospel of John and in the course of that study we have seen how John uses certain words certain ways. There are certain concepts that are unique to the writer John, the Apostle John. And so in some sense, although I haven't emphasized this, you can develop a Johanine theology and we'll develop that even more as we go into our study of 1 John after we finish the Gospel of John. Then you study the epistles of Paul and you can develop a theology of Romans and a theology of Ephesians. Same thing in the Old Testament, you can study the Pentateuch or the individual books of the Pentateuch and develop a theology of Moses, what Moses taught, what Moses saw, what's explained just in the book of Genesis and from that you develop, through the comparison of Scripture with Scripture, broader categories and this leads to the development of systematic theology, so that systematic theology then takes the results of Biblical theology, looking at the individual books of the Bible and then summarizes and categorizes those according to topic. And that's the overall process. So I'm using the term biblical theology in this sense and what I want to look at as we go through this is how the writer of Judges comments on the essence and nature of leadership. We'll not necessarily look at everything the Bible says about leadership but I think it's important to see some of the concept that are developed by the writer of Judges.
One of the things that he does is to show that in the vacuum of leadership God has to go with Plan B sometimes and even Plan C. Plan C would be using unbelievers, who don't have a clue, to protect Israel because Israel is in such apostasy towards the truth and in such reversionism that there's no one there God can raise up to be a leader. And plan B is when God has to go with alternate sources of leadership and that's what happens in chapter 4 because there's no men who are going to rise to the level expected of the male as the leader in society so he goes with plan B which is to elevate a woman to that level. This is not to take anything away from Deborah but is to make a comment on what happens when men in a society get their focus away from the Lord and go into apostasy and fail to exercise their biblically designed role of authority and leadership in the spiritual realm.
So we need to stop before we get into that or we're just going to get lost when we get into this analysis, we're not going to fully comprehend what's going on here, and this is also important because we run into a contemporary problem today as a result of the rise of modern feminism and that is the whole concept that sexual roles are interchangeable, that men can do whatever women can do and women ought to do whatever men can do. You just do whatever you want to do and it doesn't matter whether you're a man or a woman, and that is carried over into the church so that there is now a tremendous push to put women in the pulpit. And this has already been adopted by many liberal denominations because, of course, they've rejected the authority of the Scripture so they don't have that basis any more to judge and critique cultural concepts and ideas and there is a major battle going on in a couple of the more conservative denominations.
The Baptist General Convention of Texas, which his the Southern Baptist state denomination, which has been more moderate (read liberal there) than the national body, that the national body of Southern Baptists have been finally dominated pretty much by conservative theology, and they are taking a stand against putting women in the pulpit and as a result of the Baptist General Convention of Texas this last week made a decision to withhold their money from the national body. That's a significant move and it's going to cause a lot of ripple effect throughout that denomination. I just point that out to show that this is a current problem and many people just don't understand the issues at all. And I'm talking about theologians, I'm not just talking about people in the pew, and when the theologians and pastors and seminary professors don't understand the issues you can be sure that the people are just going to be as confused and out to lunch as they can possibly be.
So we have to look at the Scripture on this because these things affect every realm of society and it's going to have a tremendous effect on family and marriage. That's where it ultimately comes down. So with that in mind last time I started looking at the Biblical doctrine of leadership in terms of an introduction. The first point is to get to some sort of introductory framework and so I go back to the first divine institution. Remember, there are five divine institutions. The first divine institution is human responsibility. The second divine institution is marriage. The third divine institution is family. The fourth divine institution is human government. The fifth divine institution is national distinctions.
Now in each of these there is a related authority; in human responsibility, ultimately because we're responsible we're answerable and the ultimate authority is God. In marriage there is also authority; there is the husband who is the authority over the wife. In the family it is the parents in authority over the children. In human government it is the executive branch. And in national distinctions ultimately we come back to God being the ultimate authority because God is the author of history and the one who controls history. So these are the five divine institutions and the authority structure, the ultimate authority in each of those divine institutions. Leadership is always related to the function of authority and responsibility, that's part of it.
Let's go back and look at the definition I started with last time. The first divine institution is human responsibility; responsibility means that a person holds a specific duty, office, or trust and is answerable and accountable for decisions and actions in relation to that duty, office or trust. That's an important concept, that we're accountable for decisions and actions in relation to that duty, office or trust. And everybody in one sense or another is placed in a position of duty, office or trust. There are four key words there that must be defined in terms of this definition and understanding the foundation of human responsibility as it relates to leadership.
The first word is the word "answerable." Answerable implies that there is someone in authority over the person to whom the responsible party is obligated. There is some person in authority over the person to whom that person, or the responsible party, is obligated. So there is an authority structure. Now authority is not something that God somehow put into creation after the fall in order to handle problems from sin. I think a lot of people get that idea but authority is something that is even present in the Godhead. Jesus Christ said I can do nothing unless the Father gives it to Me. God the Son is subordinate to God the Father in terms of His role but He is not subordinate in terms of His essence. That's a fundamental issue, especially in the whole realm of feminism. This last week one of the things I was thinking about and I had some conversations with a couple of other people and I really think that especially woman in our society, men too for that matter, but we're ultimately going to be dealing with some issues related to women here because of Deborah and her position, that women in our society under the age of 40, and I think to a large degree under the age of 55, but to almost a total degree under the age of 40 have been so impacted by the pagan concepts of role distinctions that have been evident since the mid 60s and dominated our culture that what I find when I talk about this that it's almost like talking a foreign language because younger women have just breathed the air of pagan thought on role distinctions so much that they have bought into so many myths and lies that the degree of renovation of their thinking that needs to take place, the degree of overhaul is almost 100%.
Now if you're between the ages of, let's say 40 and 55, probably about 80% depending on your background and your home life, how much doctrine you were taught growing up, but for those of you who are under 40 it's probably close to 100% and it's very difficult. I mean, the Word of God just comes up with an enormous sledge hammer against the modern view of the role of men and women in society and that is why you have denominations caving in, is because without the Word of God to give you clarity in these areas then it's extremely difficult and the implications of some of these things are also rather rugged when we look at the society in which we live and ultimately the application in a lot of these things is up to the individual, between them and the Lord. But we need to at least define the Biblical parameters. So "answerable" involves the fact that there is someone in authority; there's an authority in every relationship in life and there's no way to avoid that.
"Accountable:" Accountable suggests the presence of positive and negative consequences for one's decisions in relation to the duty or trust which is the assigned responsibility. That means if you are obedient there are going to be certain positive consequences and results; if you're disobedient they're going to be certain negative consequences and results. Some of them are automatic; some of them are built-in, and some of them involve direct divine discipline. But accountability suggests the presence of positive and negative consequences of one's decisions in relation to the duty or trust which is the assigned responsibility.
Third, "authority" implies a chain of command. Now the term "chain of command," especially to those with a military background, often implies something that is impersonal, that doesn't involve any kind of relationship and something that may be overbearing or tyrannical. That just happens to be the way in which it was expressed in your frame of reference or experience but that is not necessary to the definition of the term. There is a chain of command in creation; there is a chain of command in the Godhead; there is a chain of command in God's relationship to the Son but the Son says "I and the Father are one." So that implies a close, intimate relationship in the presence of a chain of command. So don't get the idea that when I use the term chain of command that this is just some sort of autocratic dictatorial tyrannical type of a system that is the opposite of any kind of deep, intimate relationship.
Now what happens is, remember, I want to remind everybody, we have to go back to the curse. You can't understand what's going on in any of this unless you understand the curse and we've gone over this before so I'm just going to remind you that when the woman was cursed God said your desire will be for the man and that term desire is the Hebrew word which means that your desire is to control and be the boss. And then it says, "but he will rule over you" and that term "rule" means that he's going to want to be the dictator. So because of the fallen nature of man, because of the nature of arrogance, what you have is that two self-centered people get involved in a marriage and they both want to wear the pants in the family and they both want to be the leader and they both want to be in control. But God has said I've designed a woman's soul to be one way and a man's soul to be another way, and if you are going to really have any level of success and happiness and stability in marriage, then you have to deal with things in the way in which I have created male souls and female souls and the only way to overcome the curse begins at the cross, because once we're regenerated then we can understand divine truth and we can begin to understand love as to what it is and that's why when you come into passages on marriage, like Ephesians 5 which talks about that first of all that husbands and wives are to submit to one another, secondly wives are to submit to their husbands, husbands are to love their wives, the model is always to Christ because that's the framework.
In other words, if you don't have authority orientation to Christ you're going to be a failure in every relationship in life, especially in marriage because ultimately both the husband and the wife are under authority, everybody is under authority; nobody is Scott free. We're all under authority and as parents, this is one thing that is so important in marriage is that if this is not modeled by the parents so that the kids can pick up on this then it's going to cause problems in their authority orientation and that's going to cause problems for their marriage and so it becomes cyclic. That's why God so often says that I'm going to visit the consequences of sin down to the third or fourth generation, because when one generation rejects divine truth then that's going to have an impact on the orientation of the children and then they're going to… we can just see this in our own culture as we look at what's happened in the realm of marriage and divorce and family breakup and the assault on the family since the World War II generation. And it constantly gets worse and you get out there and you look at what's going on with the…I don't know what they're calling it now, generation Z, whatever is after generation X, the generation that's in their teens and early 20s now, that they have no concept of these things whatsoever. They are so divorced from reality and the more divorced from reality you become the more you make decisions which are divorced from reality and are consequently self-destructive and destructive to your culture.
The second point on this was simply that authority applies to chain of command which doesn't necessarily negate other relationship factors. In other words, you can have a very close, deep, intimate, loving relationship and still have a chain of command.
"Obligation" is the fourth word. Obligation implies the existence of a formal contract promise or the demands of a conscience or custom which binds someone legally or morally to a certain course of action. We see this in the fact that all of God's dealings with mankind are always expressed through covenants, and those covenants express human responsibility. We've seen this in dispensations; the covenants always express this fact. In each dispensation there are responsibilities or obligations and there's almost always failure in relationship to that, so that obligation is not a concept that is foreign to grace. Too often people get the idea that grace is inconsistent with obligation, but even in the Abrahamic Covenant, which is an unconditional, completely grace oriented covenant between God and Abraham, where God alone passed through the sacrifices in order to establish the fact that it was an unconditional unilateral covenant and that the blessings were totally dependent on who God was and His own character, He put obligations on Abraham. Abraham had to leave Ur of the Chaldeas, he had to leave his family, he had to separate from Lot, he had to stay in the land, when he left the land to go to Egypt during a famine God disciplined him. But Abraham's disobedience was not a condition for violating or breaking the covenant. All that by way of definition and understanding some basic terminology.
The second point: the existence of authority demands the operation of leadership; because we live in spheres of life that have authority there must be leaders. They are two sides of the same coin. The possession of authority, if you're in a position of authority, and just about everyone in here is in a position of authority at some realm. The fact that you are in a position of authority puts you in need of leadership skills; you lead in the realm of authority that God has assigned to you. The existence of any organized group demands the existence and the proper function of leadership, whether you're at a lower echelon or upper echelon is irrelevant, at some level you have responsibility and authority and that demands the function of leadership.
Point number three; therefore leadership always operates in the framework of authority which means that to be a good leader you must first be a good follower. I remember hearing that when I first went into ROTC in college, and scratching my head wondering just exactly why that was but it's because to be a good leader you have to be oriented to authority. If you don't have authority orientation and consequent humility you will never be able to function as a good leader because every leader is also under authority. And so you can't lead if you don't understand and can't control your own impulses. You have to have authority orientation in order to be a good leader.
Point number four: spheres of authority. Authority in the family demands parental leadership; authority in marriage demands the leadership of the husband. Authority in the military, business, government, the church or other organizations always demands the exercise of leadership. So wherever we are at some level we are called upon to function as leaders.
Point number five; leadership, therefore, is directed towards the achievement of the responsibility, goal or obligation placed upon us by God. This is where we start shaping this in terms of a Biblical view of leadership. It is not just taking a corporation from point A to point B, taking over a particular job or taking over a group of people and making them more effective. That is not the essence of leadership biblically. The essence of Biblical leadership is that you understand that in this particular slot there is a role description and there are obligations placed upon you and that means you have to understand Genesis 1-3. That's one reason why there's such an assault on the first three chapters of Genesis because if those are taken out of the canon as basically irrelevant mythology, then what happens is all of the other spheres of authority and leadership in relation to the divine institutions begin to fragment; family fragment, marriage fragments, government, nations, everything begins to fall apart and the whole concept of individual responsibility begins to fall apart. So that is one reason those chapters are so important is because they help define for us what our individual roles and what God's goals and objectives are for us in those roles.
For example, Adam is placed on the earth and he is given the responsibility to represent God and to rule over creation. The woman was created, later she's called Eve, she is just called Isha prior to the fall, he is Adam, Adam and Isha, and her responsibility is to be a helper or assistant to the man; now that's in perfect environment. So there's an authority relationship between the male and the female established in perfect environment. Now if you cannot develop a clear, precise understanding of societal structures, if you don't comprehend that and let that work its way out in every sphere of life, that's got to be the starting point because it is in that that God defines ultimate roles of men and women. So there is a responsibility given there and there is a goal and an obligation this is placed upon the man and the woman in that situation, and it becomes flawed because of the fall, but there are specific roles that are assigned and developed.
Point number six, let's cap some part of our formative definition of leadership. Leadership is the authority, ability and capacity to direct, guide, lead, motivate in any organization, to move the members of that organization toward their biblically defined goals. See, leadership is taking you from somewhere to something. Now in order to do that as the leader you have to understand what your biblically defined role and goal is but you also have to understand the biblically defined role and goal of those whom you're leading. Some of you may be thinking, well, I'm in a leadership position in the military, I'm in a leadership position at work and they're not believers so how does that function? Well, they don't have to understand what their biblically defined role is but you do, you should, because that's where you're taken because ultimately your role is to glorify God, not to glorify your boss. That is why in the New Testament when we start developing a theology or work we are to work as unto the Lord, not as men pleasers but doing everything that we do as if it is the Lord for whom we work, rather than the human boss that we have assigned to us.
So ultimately when we look at our life, we look at our responsibilities, we look at work, we look at family, we look at marriage, we have to define these things biblically because that's reality. How does God define these things? So the definition of leadership is the authority, ability and capacity to direct, guide, lead, motivate in any organization to move the members of that organization to their biblically defined goals.
Now immediately you're going to realize that this is going to put you as a believer at times in a head to head conflict with secular organizations because their goals and objectives are going to be designed by a pagan worldview and not by a Christian worldview. That's where it get tough because that's when your spiritual maturity is going to be put on the line; that's where your objectivity is going to be put on the line, and that does not necessarily mean that you lead the company or that you throw up your hands in despair. Yesterday we went up to the art museum in Worchester and there is an excellent archeological display there from Antioch, most of the stuff there is from about the 3rd or 4th century AD but I think it's very reflective of Antioch, of an earlier time, especially the New Testament period. Antioch was one of the five major cities in the Roman Empire; Antioch is located in Syrian just north of Israel. It is there, according to Acts 11, where believers were first called Christians. It was the church at Antioch that sent out Paul and Barnabas and later Paul and Silas as missionaries on Paul's various missionary journeys and he was supported financially by his home church there. That was the church in Antioch.
But what was interesting, everything just dripped with the Roman and Greek mythology; even the ancient Syrian mythology and worship of Hadad and the storm god which we know also in Biblical literature as Baal and other terms, but this was present on everything. They had these pagan motifs carved in the metal cups, in the tile, in the artwork, everything. This gives you a sense of the culture in which Paul and Barnabas and Silas and Timothy and Peter were operating. You couldn't go into any building without artwork on the walls or eat off a plate or anything that didn't have something to do with the worship of false gods. So don't get the idea that somehow in their operation that they were living in some of pristine environment that was impacted by Christianity. They're living and operating in a world that every step, when they turn around there is pagan mythology and false religious systems just screaming at them. And yet they're taking a stand for the truth.
So when you're out there in the work place in the secular world I'm not at all suggesting that somehow you're wearing your Christianity on your shirtsleeve and trying to beat everybody over the head with your Christianity or force that down their throat, that's not what I'm saying. What I'm saying; what I'm saying is that your understanding of doctrine and your role and their role in reality as it is ought to make you the best leader and the best worker in your organization and it ought to radically transform your home life, your marriage life, your family life because you understand the nature of reality.
So leadership is defined as the authority, ability and capacity to direct, guide, lead, motivate in any organization to move the members of that organization to their biblically defined goals to the degree that you can. Obviously if they are unbelievers you can't communicate a lot on a Christian level but you do understand what the goal is and the goal is that you're there to produce for the company, for your boss, you're there to work for the honor and glory of the Lord so you're going to encourage everybody to move in that direction, not to be part of office politics or grumble and complain and get involved in any negative thing such as that.
Point seven; leadership therefore is related to the different goals and responsibilities of the different spheres of responsibility in life. God has given us different spheres of responsibility, in terms of husband, wives, parents, workers, and we must understand what the Bible says about the goals and responsibilities of those spheres because leadership is related to moving us in those directions. For example, you've got marriage, you can get involved in political parties, military, professional organizations, business organizations, academic institutions, athletic organizations, all kinds of Christian organizations but there are different goals and responsibilities for each of these different spheres and leadership is related to understanding what those goals are and then moving towards them.
Point number eight; in any leadership situation you're always called to handle crises. Now crises is just another way of talking about adversity. Adversity and prosperity are two sides of the same coin. Adversity is the negative; prosperity is the positive but as most of us should know prosperity sometimes creates more pressure, outside pressure on the soul than adversity does. I have a friend from another state and ten years ago he hardly had two nickels to rub together and today he's worth several million dollars and he has talked to me several times about the fact that he almost wishes he could go back to the days when he had nothing because the tests of prosperity are so much more difficult than the tests of adversity. Some of us think in our sort of naïve sense that hmm, I'd really like to face that myself but there are indeed different problems. And sometimes they're much more difficult. I think as a congregation we're beginning to face some of these tests of prosperity, we're growing and we see that the Lord is providing new people and families, we're busting at the seams, we have to solve problems related to building and getting some expansion and this is going to put a time constraint, the deacons are already overloaded not only with their personal work responsibility but with many things going on in the church. And so we have to have more people step to the plate to accept responsibility to do a lot of leg work because we need to get a lot of information so we can make some good decisions related to the future of the congregation and the building that we're going to be meeting in.
We all face crises and crises occur when the fulfillment of the obligation becomes challenged or threatened; therefore the outside pressure of adversity produces the circumstances for the function of leadership. When we come under that outside pressure it's time to focus on what our goals are, maintain some objectivity and focus on priorities so that we can solve the problems and advance towards the objective. And as believers we have the ability through the filling of the Holy Spirit and doctrine in our souls to remain calm and objective and focused in the midst of crisis. More than anybody else we have the resources necessary to relax in times of difficulty, focus on the issues and move forward and not get flustered or panicky when things go differently than expected.
Point number nine, we need to review some basic definitions of adversity and stress. Adversity is the outside pressure of negative circumstances on the person but stress is the inside pressure of the soul. Adversity is the outside pressure, or even prosperity, that's a little different but it's the same thing, it's the outside pressure of negative circumstances on the person and stress is the inside pressure of the soul. Adversity is inevitable, we all go through it. Adversity and prosperity to one degree or another is inevitable, we can't avoid it. Stress is optional; stress is dependent on your volition and how you respond to the outside pressure of adversity. Stress, therefore is the result of negative volition. Stress is always related to sin nature control of the soul. When you're faced with adversity and you decide to handle it apart from God's problem solving devices, apart from the stress busters then you're going to solve it on your own and that's sin nature control and that is going to produce stress in the soul. Adversity is what circumstances do to us; stress is what we do to ourselves.
And then fourth, adversity is handled either on the basis of divine resources or on the basis of human resources, one or the other. Divine resources means that you're operating under the filling of God the Holy Spirit and you're applying the ten stress busters: confession of sin to get you back in fellowship; filling of the Holy Spirit; faith rest drill, doctrinal orientation; grace orientation; a personal sense of your eternal destiny; a personal love for God the Father; impersonal love for all mankind; occupation with Christ, and sharing the happiness of Christ, personal happiness, inner happiness, which comes only from a right relationship with God. So these are the ten stress busters.
So adversity is handled either on the basis of divine resources or on the basis of human resources. Human resources can be very effective; always remember that. Human resources and human attempts to solve problems and face crises can become very effective and produce very significant long term stability, not eternal stability. They look good, it works, Satan is not the author of something that doesn't work, he wants everything to work so human resources often work. That's why pragmatism is so popular; it's easier to do what appears to work and provide immediate gratification than to deal with something that has only long-term consequences and is difficult to put into operation. So human resources, despite their effectiveness, always come from sin nature control and ultimately when the sin nature is in control it will manifest itself and the results will ultimately fall apart. So from this we have to conclude that real leadership from a Biblical viewpoint is going to be based on utilizing the ten stress busters in life; that's the only way it's going to have any positive long-term value.
So point ten, only doctrine in the soul provides capacity for objective thinking, real or genuine understanding of the issues in life and therefore the basis for making good decisions from a position of strength. A position of strength is the filling of the Holy Spirit. You can human good decisions that have temporary value from a position of weakness, which is the sin nature, it's called human good and Proverbs says, "There is a way that seems right to man, but the end thereof is death." It is ultimately self-destructive. So good decisions can come only from a position of strength which is defined as the filling of the Holy Spirit and operating from a position of doctrine plus the filling of the Holy Spirit.
In contrast, point eleven, human viewpoint solutions may provide temporary, even long-term temporary solutions that appear successful. But it comes from an overall pagan understanding of reality, a pagan understanding of the human condition and human needs and therefore is inherently flawed. Human viewpoint solutions are ultimately based on a pagan concept. That takes us back to our definition of paganism which is a view of reality that excludes God and divine viewpoint from its understanding.
That means in point twelve that paganism always attacks the divine institutions. Every pagan system is always going to put an assault on the divine institutions, however subtle it might be, in order to destroy them. Therefore it will always attack responsibility, authority and leadership and we see this as it makes an assault in every area of responsibility, authority and leadership, primarily in the home, and that is seen in the problem that you see in almost every pagan culture and it seems like the more degraded and apostate a culture becomes the more it impacts the sexual roles and sexual role distinctions so that in some of the most pagan backward societies you end up with the attempt to run the society on the basis of matriarchy. And matriarchal systems have never worked because they are in such radical violation of the way God established role relationships. So paganism always attacks the divine institutions, specifically in the realm of responsibility, authority and leadership. That's one of the reasons we see the rise of victimology in our society, everybody is a victim, it's not my fault, it's somebody else's fault.
And then finally under point thirteen, when paganism has altered the concepts of leadership in a culture it then suddenly begins to change the nature of leadership in every sphere: individual leadership, marriage leadership, family, church, government and work. The result over time is a cumulative failure which avoids responsibility for bad decisions, loses focus on the real goals and objectives as defined by God, and then sets families, marriage and nations adrift. What happens is leadership and authority often becomes redefined as either some sort of totalitarianism, some sort of rigid autocratic leadership on the one extreme or some sort of almost anarchical form on the other extreme where everybody can do whatever they want to do and that's where you end up in total relativism and brings us back to the theme of Judges, which is "everyone did what was right in their own eyes."
There are several general observations we can make about leadership but I need to stop here because of time and next time we'll begin with a summary of general observations about leadership derived from Othniel and Ehud, and that will set the stage for getting into Judges and the prophecy of Deborah and the judgeship of Deborah and Barak and how that relates to Biblical leadership.