Jump Start # 2727
2 Chronicles 25:9 “Amaziah said to the man of God, ‘But what shall we do for the hundred talents which I have given to the troops of Israel?’ And the man of God answered, ‘The Lord has much more to give you than this.’ Then Amaziah dismissed them, the troops which came to him from Ephraim, to go home; so their anger burned against Judah and they returned home in fierce anger.”
Amaziah was the young king of Judah. He was building an army to go into battle against Edom. He hired 100,000 soldiers from Israel to be part of this army. When the prophet advised against this plan, the king sent the hired soldiers home. They were mad, as our verse today shows. On the way home, these angry soldiers plundered villages belonging to Judah. They killed 3,000 citizens. Amaziah then turns to fight Israel. Judah was defeated, because the king had followed the gods of the Edomites.
Now all of this makes for good Bible history, but there is more to it than that. Amaziah demonstrated poor leadership over and over. He was wishy-washy. Sometimes he listened and other times he didn’t listen. In his defeat by Israel, part of the Jerusalem wall was torn down and the temple and the palace were raided and robbed. We often think this only happened by the Babylonians and later the Romans. But before those occasions, it was Israel who devastated Judah.
And, what we learn from this is the need for powerful leadership. It’s lacking in homes today. In many homes, the kids are as much in charge as the parents. It’s lacking in our government. From top to the bottom, we don’t see good leadership. And, even in the church today, leaders are lacking. Some are too busy to put in the time needed to lead. Others act more like deacons than leaders. Some think leadership is a power trip that allows them to boss others around. And, when good leadership is missing, the people are adrift not knowing what direction they are headed.
Here are some steps that Amaziah forgot.
First, think it out. Ideas seem good in our minds but we need to put some time and thought behind those ideas. We need to consider all the different aspects before we put the plan into action. This is true of the home, the nation and the church. How many, on a whim, decide to move. They are tired of their house and want something better. So they move to a house they like. The drive to work is a lot longer now. The kids are in a new school and they don’t like it. The price of the new place is pushing the budget. Within a year, they are looking to move again. They didn’t think things out.
Second, talk it out. Ideas may seem good to us, but to others, it’s not such a good idea. They remind us of perspectives that we forgot to consider. They remind us of all the costs involved or what impressions may be left with others. Amaziah hired the troops from Israel before he talked to the man of God. He seemed to get the order out of order. He should have consulted with God first and then did the hiring. Talking things out in a marriage and in a church can keep us from making bad mistakes. They can keep us focused where we need to be. They can remind us of what we forgot. They can slow us down and make sure we are careful in what we are doing.
Third, be consistent. Now, this needs to be qualified. If one is on the wrong path, there is no reason to stay on that path until you hit a brick wall. Turn around and get going the right direction. Other than stopping because it’s not working or it’s wrong, one needs to be consistent. Amaziah got 100,000 valiant soldiers extremely angry with him for hiring them and then not using them. It was a waste of their time. And, when leaders are go one way and then back the other way, it leaves the impression that they do not know what they are doing. If the leaders are lost and clueless, having them as leaders isn’t an advantage. After a while people will stop respecting leaders because they fail to lead.
Fourth, lead. That’s what leaders are supposed to do. This is true in the home, the government and the church. Leading is not about doing what the leaders want, but what’s best for the people they are watching over. They must not be swayed because something is easy or it will bring the least about of criticism towards them. Those who are in the role of leadership must have thick skin. They cannot be pressured to change their minds because someone has a loud voice or makes threats to leave. Sticking to your guns is leadership. They must be able to see what others don’t. They are looking both at the big picture and what’s down the road.
Leaders must be examples. Amaziah failed at this. His heart was leaning toward idolatry and his choices hurt the nation. Leaders must be kind. Leaders must be thoughtful. Leaders must have the heart of the people in their minds and as they make every decision. Leaders must know where they are headed. They must know what direction to travel. The good shepherd in Psalms 23 knew where the green pastures and quiet waters were. He was a true leader.
The times we are in are taking us down new roads that none of us have ever traveled. Our nation, homes and congregations are needing leaders to rise up and clam worried hearts and set the course that will get us safely through this storm. The voice of the leader needs to be heard. People need to see that weathered, tough leader, still at the helm, even though the waves are crashing around us, the wind in blowing hard and the rain is descending in buckets. He’s there. He’s not left his post. With God as his help, the leader will get us safely through.