Archive | July 2014

Preparing to Cleave with Gabriella (Part 1)

The Effects of Sin and Marital Delay

Sin has consequences (although the devil will have us believe otherwise) and one consequence of sin is unanswered prayers which results in delay in getting married, for those who are asking God for a spouse. God will not hear prayers when sin is present, John 9:31 says, “Now we know that God heareth not sinners: but if any man be a worshipper of God, and doeth his will, him he heareth.”

What is Sin?

The Webster’s dictionary defines sin as an action contrary to the law of God. I define sin as wrong doing or disobedience to the word or will of God. Sin can also be defined as the opposite or righteousness.

The Origin of Sin

Sin originated in the Garden of Eden, at the beginning of creation when man chose to disobey God’s instructing and eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, which God forbade him to eat of (Genesis 2:16-17). Sin began when the serpent, the devil (Revelation 12:9 & 20:2) deceived the woman.

Now the serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said unto the woman, yea, hath God said, ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?

And the woman said unto the serpent, we may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden:

But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden. God hath said, ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.

And the serpent said unto the woman, ye shall not surely die:

For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.

And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.

Genesis 3:1-6

The sin came when Adam at the fruit. Eve was deceived, but Adam was not deceived (1 Timothy 2:14). Adam wilfully disobeyed God. (Romans 5:12 & 19).

The Effects of Sin

Apart from unanswered prayers, which could lead to a delay of our desires, sin also has other consequences and some are listed and explained below.

1. Captivity

Sin brings captivity. Captivity is a state of being imprisoned. Captivity can create a delay in answers to prayers or in receiving blessings from God because in captivity you have no say, you are a prisoner and a prisoner has no choice.

The Bible records that whenever the children of Israel sinned against God, God sent them into captivity, to become the servants of their enemies. When you are in captivity, you are a servant, and the devil is your master.

“Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom you obey, whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?”

Romans 6:16

To obey sin is to obey the devil, and because you obey him, he becomes your master and you become his servant.

A master decides the fate of his servant. Therefore, when in captivity, you are subject to the will of the devil. And what is the devil’s will? For avoidance of doubt, the Bible says he is a thief and comes only to steal, kill and destroy (John 10:10). This is his will and will ultimately be the experience of anyone in captivity.

2. Curses

Sin brings curses from God. This kind of curse is also known as the curse of the law. When Adam and Eve sinned against God, they came under the curse of the law of sin and death. God cursed them.

Unto the woman He said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception, in sorrow thou shall bring forth children: and thy desire shall be to thy husband and he shall rule over thee.

And unto Adam He said, because thou hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, thou shall not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shall thou eat it all the days of thy life;

Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shall eat the herb of the feed.

In the sweat of thy face shall thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art and unto dust shall thou return.

Genesis 3:16-19

Cain also came under the curse of the law when out of envy he smote his younger brother Abel and killed him. God said to him;

And now art thou cursed from the earth, which hath opened her mouth to receive thy brother’s blood from thy hand;

When thou tillest the ground, it shall not yield unto thee her strength, a fugitive and a vagabond shalt thou be in the earth.

Genesis 4: 11-12

When David sinned against God by taking Bathsheba the wife of Uriah the Hittite and then killing Uriah with the sword, he came under the curse of the law. God said the sword would never depart from the house of David because he had killed Uriah with the sword (2 Samuel 12:10). God also said He would take David’s wives and give them to his neighbour to lie with them in the sight of the sun for all Israel to see (2 Samuel 12:11).

In some cases, the curse of the law is transferred from one generation to another, so that it affects the innocent as well as the guilty just like the curse placed on Adam and Eve affected many generations after them until Jesus came and brought redemption (Romans 8:2 & Galatians 3:13). Also, when people commit the sin of idolatry, the curse does not only affect them, it affects generations after them.

Thou shalt have no other gods before me thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth:

Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me.

Exodus 20:3-5

However, this was before the coming of Jesus Christ. For the Bible says, in Romans 8:1, “there is therefore no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh but after the spirit.” Besides, if a man be in Christ, he is a new creature, old things are passed away behold all things are become new (2 Corinthians 5:17).

Noah cursed his last born Ham’s descendants, the Canaanites, because he (Ham) looked upon his father’s nakedness and told it to his brethren (Genesis 9:21-25).

Sin can also bring curses from the prophets of God. Gehazi was the servant of Elisha and he sinned by collecting for himself the gifts Elisha had earlier rejected from Naaman the Syrian. Therefore, Elisha cursed him saying “the leprosy of Naaman shall cleave unto thee, and to thy seed forever” (2 Kings 5:25-27).

5. Hindered Prayers

Sin hinders prayers. God does not hear the prayer of the sinner (John 9:31) because “the Lord is far from the wicked” (Proverbs 15:29). Also, God’s eyes are too pure to look upon evil and iniquity (Habakkuk 1:13).

Sin brings a separation from God and if God is separated from us how can He hear our prayers, let alone answer?

Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither His ear heavy that it cannot hear:

But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid His face from you, that He will not hear.

For your hands are defiled with blood, and your fingers with iniquity; your lips have spoken lies, your tongue hath muttered perverseness.

Isaiah 59:1-3

To be continued.

Eturuvie Erebor (AKA Gabriella)

Vision: The Leader’s Leader

One may ask; who leads the leader that leads the people? The answer is simple, it is vision; vision leads the leader.
Vision is the state of being able to see and vision is also a clear picture of what the future holds. Leaders need vision to succeed. Leaders need vision to give them a clear direction and a purpose. A leader with a vision knows where he is going; and everyone wants to follow a man or woman who knows where they are going. A leader with a vision is a person with a purpose. Every leader must have a vision because it leads him and acts as his guide showing him the direction in which he is to go. Vision is important for every leader and no one can be a leader without it. Vision helps the leader to stay focused and keeps him or her from drifting from the path.
Moses was a leader who had a vision at the age of 80 years; it was to lead the children of Israel out of Egypt, the land of slavery, into the land flowing with milk and honey. That vision guided Moses for the next forty years of his life; it dictated what he could do and what he couldn’t do. It dictated where he could go and where he could not go. For instance, as soon as he received the vision, he knew he could no longer remain in his father-in-law’s house; he knew he had to relocate to Egypt. His vision guided him into making a choice concerning his day job as a shepherd; he knew it was time to put in his resignation. The vision he had guided him into making these decisions. This is what vision does for a leader.
Jesus had a vision; to die on the cross so as to save man from his sins and reconcile him back to God. This vision acted as his guide; once, in the cause of his earthly ministry, the people tried to make him a king by force but he ran away. Being made a king is not a bad thing in itself but it was not in line with his vision so he could not accept it. If he had no vision he probably would have accepted it but vision demanded he refuse it. On the night he was arrested and Simon tried to defend him with the sword Jesus made it clear that he could call for twelve legions of angels to come for his rescue. However, he did not and the reason is simple; vision was leading him. When a leader has a vision it helps him to know what to say yes to and what to say no to; it helps him to know who and what to welcome into his life and who and what to say good bye to.
A leader who has a vision is able to come up with solutions when problems arise in the pursuit of the vision because the vision guides him to find a solution to the challenges as they rise. Jacob had a vision, that all the animals that were ringstraked, spotted and speckled would be his wages and the same day his uncle Laban removed all such animals from among the herd (to frustrate his vision) this was a problem but because he was a man of vision, he had a solution. He took rods of green poplar and hazel and chestnut tree and pilled white strakes in them and placed them before the animals when they mated. The result was the animals brought forth cattle that were ringstraked, speckled and spotted.
Without vision no leader can effectively lead people. A leader must see things before the followers see them, this is why he is the leader and this is why the people are willing to follow him. When Pharaoh chased the Israelites as they left Egypt, fear came upon them but Moses charged them not to be afraid, he had a vision, and it was not one of the people being re-captured and taken back into slavery; but it was one of the people living as free citizens in a land that flowed with milk and honey.

Eturuvie Erebor
Taking-the-Lead Seminars.

The People Become Like the Leader: A lesson from David and Saul

Saul and David were the first and second kings of Israel respectively and they both had personalities that rubbed off on the people that they led. The stories of these two men, who possessed very different personalities, help to portray the truth that, the people ultimately become like their leader, and this is whether they know it or not. A look at the lives of these two men reveals they had opposite personalities. Saul was a man full of uncertainty and fear and David was a confident and fearless man. This truth was exposed on the day that David fought against Goliath. Saul was the leader of the armies of Israel and should have given his men the courage required to go against the giant but because he was fearful, the entire camp trembled in fear until David showed up and killed the giant. The interesting thing is the way David went about killing the giant; the Bible records that he ran to meet Goliath. While Saul and the entire army ran away from Goliath, David ran to meet him. This incidence clearly shows that one man was fearful and the other fearless; their dispositions ultimately affected the people they led.
One instance that shows how Saul’s fear was passed on to his men is at Gilgal, where he prepared to fight against the Philistines. The Bible records that, all the people followed him trembling. It is not surprising that they followed him trembling, he was a fearful leader and must have been trembling himself; perhaps not outwardly but interestingly even if inwardly it can be sensed and passed on to those who follow.
Another instance is when Goliath boasted before the armies of Israel; the Bible records that when Saul and all Israel heard the words of the Philistine, they were dismayed and greatly afraid.”
Finally, prior to his last battle, in which he was killed, Saul consulted with a medium to bring Samuel up because he wanted to enquire how the battle would go. Samuel told him without mincing words that he and his sons would be killed in the battle and the Bible records that immediately, Saul fell full length on the ground and was dreadfully afraid because of the words of Samuel. It is little wonder he died in the battle and it is little wonder after he died his men could not carry on fighting rather they took to their heels and fled. He was without doubt a fearful leader and gave birth to men who were equally fearful.
David on the other hand was a mighty man of valour and knew no fear; while he kept his father’s sheep, a lion came and took one of the sheep to kill it; but David ran after the lion, delivered the sheep from its mouth and killed it. The bear came and the same thing happened, therefore, when he saw Goliath intimidating God’s sheep (the armies of Israel) he was not afraid; he simply went out against the giant the same way he had gone out against the lion and bear and slayed him.
David was bold and fearless, so his men were also bold and fearless. When you read the accounts of these men it is amazing the boldness they had; once David was fighting against the Philistines and the garrison of the Philistines at that time was in Bethlehem and David thirsted and longed for a drink from the well of Bethlehem; as soon as he voiced it, three of his men broke through the camp of the Philistines, drew water from the well and brought it to him. Can you imagine going into the enemy’s camp? It takes a very high level of boldness and courage to do that, it is not a feat for the lily livered but this is not surprising; after all they were becoming like David, their leader. Then there was Abishai one of the mighty men who lifted up his spear against three hundred men and killed them; one man killed three hundred men. Indeed, it is a feat that can only be accomplished by the fearless. Then Benaiah (also one of the mighty men) killed two lion-like men of Moab, he also killed a lion. Surprised? No reason to be; David who led them had killed a lion as a young lad so his men must have realised there was really nothing to killing a lion. These are by no means the only accomplishments of David’s mighty men but they do help to buttress the fact that these men were as fearless as their leader, David.
Saul was fearful and so those who followed him became fearful; David was fearless and those he led became fearless. Like it or not, the people ultimately become like their leader.
Eturuvie Erebor
Taking-the-Lead Seminars.

Saul: The Leader Who Was Insecure

Saul was the first king of Israel, and he is a good example of an insecure leader. To be insecure means to be uncertain or anxious about oneself and not confident. We see these traits in Saul from the onset. On the day he met with Samuel and was told he would be king he made excuses about his inability to lead because he was from the smallest tribe in Israel and his family happened to be the smallest in that tribe. Then when the day came that he would be presented to the people of Israel as their king he went into hiding so that when the people looked around for him, he was nowhere to be found and then it was revealed that he was hiding himself among the equipment. These two scenarios show a sign of a lack of confidence in Saul.
An insecure leader does not do what is right but what is popular; he leaves the good that he knows he should do and does what will make the people sing his praise even when it is wrong, because he is concerned with how people perceive him and always wants to look good before people. Saul was such a leader; he once admitted to Samuel, “I feared the people and obeyed their voice.” Saul was always concerned about how the people saw him and whether he had acceptance with them or not. This in itself is not a bad thing, but if it goes against what a leader knows to be the right thing to do, then it is wrong. When Samuel told Saul that the Lord had torn the kingdom of Israel from him and given it to a neighbour better than he, Saul’s response reveals his insecurity and need to look good before the people. He said, “I have sinned; yet honour me now, please, before the elders of my people and before Israel…” Being honoured before the people was for him more important than the fact that he had failed God who appointed him as a leader of His people and that he had failed in his duties as a leader to the people.
An insecure leader makes excuses to cover his wrong deeds; he fails to take responsibility for the things he allows to happen and shifts blames very easily. Saul was such a leader, when Samuel confronted him because he had failed to destroy the Amalekites completely; this is Saul’s response to Samuel, “I have utterly destroyed the Amalekites. But the people took of the plunder, sheep and oxen, the best of the things which should have been utterly destroyed, to sacrifice to the Lord your God in Gilgal.” He was very quick to shift the blame to the people forgetting that as leader he was responsible for the actions of the people. He also failed to accept that his insecurities drove him to permit the people to act contrary to the instructions given to him.
Insecure leaders are very anxious people; once Saul and his army were at Gilgal waiting for Samuel to come and sacrifice the burnt offering to God. As they waited, the people out of fear began to withdraw from him and so Saul took the burnt offering and sacrificed it himself. As soon as he was done, Samuel showed up. When Saul was confronted by Samuel, rather than admit his error and ask for forgiveness he again began to make excuses. From the excuses he made, we see his lack of confidence and anxiety. He said to Samuel, “When I saw that the people were scattered from me, and that you did not come within the days appointed, and that the Philistines gathered together at Michmash, then I said the Philistines will now come down on me at Gilgal, and I have not made supplication to the Lord. Therefore I felt compelled, and offered a burnt offering.” Anxiety drove Saul to take the place of the priest and offer a burnt sacrifice to the Lord an action which he knew was wrong.
An insecure leader is a destructive person; Saul’s insecurity reached its peak the day the women sang their song saying, “Saul has slain his thousands and David his ten thousands.” He was angry and displeased at the saying; he became uncertain of the future and thought, “now what more can he have but the kingdom?” So the next day, as David played the instrument for him, he hurled a spear at the young innocent lad in an attempt to kill him because he feared he would lose the throne to him.
Saul’s insecurities caused him to lose his place as leader of God’s people Israel. It also caused him to be an ineffective leader because the later part of his years as king he left national issues that he should have been addressing and chased David all over Israel seeking to kill him. Eventually, he met his death and alongside him died his children who would have reigned in his stead. His story is a good example of what can happen when a people are led by an insecure leader.
Eturuvie Erebor
Taking-the-Lead Seminars.

Samson: The Leader Who Failed to Lead Himself

Samson was one of the judges of Israel; he was born to deliver his people, Israel, from the hands of the Philistines; however, Samson failed to complete his task and died leaving his people under the oppression of the Philistines.
He was a man who started well but had a tragic end mainly because he tried to lead others without first leading himself. Samson crashed because of what some call personal leadership mismanagement. He failed to discipline himself, he failed to listen to others and he failed to learn from his past failures. He was a man with several character flaws but he paid no attention to them and eventually they were his undoing.
The first flaw was that he lacked self-discipline as far as women and sex was concerned. He picked a bride from the camp of the enemy which in itself was a wrong move and all because he couldn’t discipline his desires. He saw the woman and wanted her although she was wrong for him. When the marriage ended he saw a prostitute and couldn’t hold back, he slept with her. Finally, he saw Delilah (who would eventually destroy him and was completely wrong for him) and fell in love with her. He did not have the discipline to say no to women and sex and both combined to pull him down.
The second flaw was that he listened to no one. When he was going to get married his parents advised against his choice but Samson did not listen to them, as a matter he insisted on having his way after his parents had spoken. It has been said that there are two types of people who are failures in life, those who do not listen to anybody and those who listen to everybody. Samson belonged to the first category. A leader that will succeed must have people he listens to.
The third flaw was that Samson failed to learn from his mistakes. During his wedding feast he told the guests a riddle that no one had the answer to. The Philistines took his bride aside and asked her to entice Samson to tell her the riddle and then reveal it to them. At first, Samson would not tell her but when she pressed on him he told her and she told her people. Samson ought to have learnt a lesson at that point but his actions in the house of Delilah several chapters later revealed that he was not a man who learnt from his mistakes. After his marriage ended, Samson soon fell in love with a woman named Delilah and the lords of the Philistines came to her and offered her eleven hundred pieces of silver to entice him and discover the secret of his great strength. If Samson had learnt his lesson when he fell prey to the first plot to entice him he would have saved himself the heartache that came as a result of falling prey to the second plot to entice him. Delilah set out to seduce Samson and finally he fell into her hands just as he had fallen into the hands of the woman of Timnah, except this time the stakes were higher; he lost everything including his life.
If a leader will be effective in leading others, he must of necessity first be able to lead himself because therein lies the real challenge of leadership.
Eturuvie Erebor
Taking-the-Lead Seminars.

Rehoboam: The Leader Who Rejected Wise Counsel.

Rehoboam was the son of King Solomon and the grandson of David; he was anointed king after the death of his father Solomon and while he had the resources required to become a great king, he was a man who did not recognise wise counsel when he heard it and so he lost half the kingdom to another.
On the day of Rehoboam’s coronation, the people of Israel assembled together, led by Jeroboam, who would eventually rule over the other half of the kingdom. They made a plea to Rehoboam to lighten the burden his father put on them in return for their loyalty. Rehoboam asked them to return after three days to give him time to ponder on the matter. He consulted with the old men who had been part of his father’s inner circle and they gave him sound counsel which contained the true picture of what a leader should be. They said to him, “If thou wilt be a servant unto this people this day and wilt serve them, and answer them and speak good words to them, then they will be thy servants for ever.”
Rehoboam forsook the counsel of the old men because he thought it was foolish and because he had no clue how to lead and assumed that because he was king he could do whatever he liked with the people. He failed to realise that as a leader he was a servant of the people and his actions showed that he did not truly possess the heart of a leader. He approached the young men who grew up with him and they gave him counsel that eventually led to his downfall. They said to him, “thus shalt thou say unto them, my little finger shall be thicker than my father’s loins. And now whereas my father did lade you with a heavy yoke, I will add to your yoke; my father hath chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scorpions.”
Rehoboam took the advice of his friends and the result was that the people decided they had had enough and would not put up with his tyranny; they rebelled against his leadership. At first, he did not think they were serious, so he sent out Adoram who was in charge of collecting the tribute money and the Bible records that all Israel stoned him with stones and he died. At this point Rehoboam realised the matter was a lot more serious than he had thought and he fled.
Rehoboam was a leader who did not know the truth about leadership; that a leader is a servant of the people. He listened to the counsel of those who also knew nothing about leadership. He was not wise enough to know who to take counsel from. The men who were part of Solomon’s inner circle were in a better position to counsel him than his friends because they had a better understanding of the people and their needs, having worked closely with Solomon during his reign. These men had observed Solomon and knew from experience what would work and what wouldn’t work with the people. They also knew what it took to be the leader the people would willingly follow. However, Rehoboam did not listen to them but chose to listen to his friends who were really not in a position to advise him; as they had never occupied leadership positions themselves, or worked closely with anyone who had.
The lesson here is this; every leader needs people around him that he can trust to give him counsel; but in seeking counsel, a leader must carefully evaluate the competence of the counsellor. It will amount to foolishness to seek counsel from a lawyer when you have health related concerns. This is exactly what Rehoboam did when he turned to his friends for counsel.
Eturuvie Erebor
Taking-the-Lead Seminars.

Nehemiah: The Captive Who Became a Leader

Nehemiah was a captive who rose to the position of a governor because he had a heart to serve God and His people. He was a slave in the land of captivity when news reached him that the walls of Jerusalem had been broken down and the gates burnt with fire. His desire to rebuild the walls caused him to return to Jerusalem. His story contains several leadership lessons.
Lesson number one; a leader must take the initiative. Initiative means the power to act or take charge before others do. A leader that fails to take the initiative is not a leader. Long before Nehemiah heard that the walls had been broken down and the gates burned with fire, others had heard; as matter of fact there were people in Jerusalem when the walls were broken down but they did nothing about it. Nehemiah heard and immediately took the initiative to return to Jerusalem and rebuild the walls. This is one quality that separates a leader from followers.
Lesson number two; a leader must accept responsibility. Many in leadership positions fail to realise that a leader is called to take responsibility. Nehemiah accepted responsibility of building the broken down walls of Jerusalem. He also accepted spiritual responsibility of going before God in prayers and asking for forgiveness for his nation.
Lesson number three; a leader must have a clear vision. Vision tells the leader where he should go and a man who has no vision is a man who does not know where he is going. Nehemiah had a vision, to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem which had been broken down.
Lesson number four; a leader must be able to communicate the vision to the people. The Bible talks about writing the vision and making it clear so that the one that reads it may run with it. No one can run with a vision that is not clear and so it is important that a leader is able to communicate the vision clearly to the people. However, before a leader communicates the vision, he must ensure it is clear to him. Nehemiah communicated the vision to the people but it is interesting to note that when he first arrived in Jerusalem he did not immediately do this; rather he spent time viewing the damaged walls. I believe he was trying to evaluate the situation first hand so as to have clarity of the vision before communicating it to the people. This is very important and a leader must never communicate to the people a vision that is not yet clear to him.
Lesson number five; a leader must get the people to buy in to the vision. It is not enough for the leader to communicate the vision; he must get the people to buy in to it. Nehemiah did not stop at communicating the vision he got the people to buy in. He carefully explained to the people the present situation then charged them to arise and build and went on to tell them why they must build. In getting people to buy in to a vision, a leader must carefully point out to the people what they stand to gain, or why they should buy in to the vision.
Lesson number six; a leader must be ready to face the opposition. As soon as the people arose to build the walls, opposition also arose. Sanballat, Tobiah and Geshem laughed the people to scorn and Nehemiah spoke up and answered them. Opposition will always arise against the fulfilment of a vision and when it does the leader must be ready to face it; this is his responsibility.
Lesson number seven; a leader must refuse distraction. The purpose of opposition is to distract a person or a people from the pursuit of a vision. Opposition usually targets the leader because he bears the vision that drives the work and the easiest way to stop the vision is to stop the leader through distraction. Once, Sanballat and company called for a meeting with Nehemiah but he responded thus, “I am doing a great work, so that I cannot come down; why should the work cease, whilst I leave it, and come down to you?” Nehemiah refused to allow the opposition distract him and stop the work. A good leader must stay focused until the vision is fulfilled.
Eturuvie Erebor
Taking-the-Lead Seminars.

Lessons in Family Leadership from Lot

Lot was Abraham’s nephew and apparently Abraham was very fond of him because when he left his father’s house, he took Lot with him. Both men travelled together until they became so wealthy the land in which they sojourned could no longer contain them and Lot relocated to Sodom.
The men of Sodom were wicked and so God decided to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah; however, angels were sent to bring Lot and his family safely out of the land. Lot was unable to leave the land with his entire family; he had married daughters who could not make the trip because their husbands, his sons-in-laws, disbelieved and mocked him when he spoke of the impending doom. He left the land with his wife and two unmarried daughters but he may as well have left alone because from the actions of his wife and daughters it was clear Lot really had no one following him; the wife and daughters although with him physically, never really left Sodom. His wife looked back in the direction of Sodom disobeying clear orders that had been given them and she became a pillar of salt. Then the daughters who obviously possessed the spirit of Sodom took turns having sexual intercourse with their father.
The question is what went wrong with this family? The answer is Lot failed his family; he failed to rise up to his God-given position of leader in his family. He failed to take charge. He did not communicate a family vision to his wife and because she had nothing to look forward to she thought what was behind was better and turned back. He did not have a plan for his family after the death of his wife and other daughters and so his surviving daughters took the reins of leadership and created an incestuous plan. If a man will not lead his family, someone else will.
A man is a spiritual leader and it is his responsibility to lead his family to God. Lot failed in this task. His wife turned back from following him; his daughters were married to men who did not know God, his unmarried daughters had obviously picked up the evil character of the people in Sodom. These all point to the fact that Lot was an ineffective leader.
Like Lot, many men around the world have failed in their role as leaders of their family; some have no family vision to begin with and those who do, either fail to communicate it or make it clear to the followers (the wife and children) thus, there is no buy-in and like Lot’s family there is no congruence and everyone goes off doing their own thing.
As father’s day is celebrated today, I pray that men everywhere will honestly evaluate themselves and admit where they have made mistakes and put things right. Your family is counting on you and so is the entire world. Remember that the family is the smallest unit of society and if fathers get it right by leading their families effectively, societal vices as we know them will be curbed.
Happy Fathers Day.
Eturuvie Erebor.

Jephthah: The Leader Who Suffered Rejection

Jephthah was a leader who suffered rejection because of circumstances surrounding his birth. He was one of the judges of Israel and the Bible described him thus, “Now Jephthah the Gileadite was a mighty man of valour, but he was the son of a harlot.” He had great potential to lead because he was a mighty man of valour but that potential was overlooked because of his background as the son of a harlot.
Jephthah was an illegitimate child born to his father by a harlot and although he was his father’s first son, when the sons born by his father’s wife grew up, they drove him away because as an illegitimate child he was not entitled to an inheritance. As a first son Jephthah should have been a leader in his father’s house by reason of his birth position but he lost that leadership position because he was born by a harlot. He ran away from his half-brothers and went to live in the land of Tob. It wasn’t long before worthless men gathered themselves to him and he became the leader of a small army that went out raiding with him.
Then the time came when the children of Israel were in distress because the people of Ammon made war with them and the elders of Gilead went to get Jephthah from the land of Tob so he would be their commander and lead them into battle against the people of Ammon. Although Jephthah wasted no time reminding them of their earlier rejection of him he eventually agreed to go back with them and fight against the people of Ammon, on the condition that they would make him their head. The elders agreed so Jephthah went with them and the Bible records, “and the people made him head and commander over them.”
Nothing had changed about Jephthah, he was still the son of a harlot, his birth circumstances had not improved, and the issue that disqualified him from being a leader even in his father’s house was still present in his life. Why then did the people make him their head and commander? The reason is simple; when the chips are down, people want a leader who knows the way. The children of Israel were faced with the people of Ammon and they had no clue how to handle the situation; the very reason they were distressed to begin with. They had no knowledge of war and war strategies and as such they were no match for the enemy; at that point they required a leader who had sufficient knowledge about war strategies and could go out against the enemy and win the battle. Remember that the primary reason the elders approached Jephthah was because they wanted him to lead them into battle. It was obvious they had to go to battle and even more obvious that since they knew nothing about war matters they would need a leader who knew. Jephthah was that leader; he was a mighty man of valour, he was skilled in the art of battle and knowledgeable in war matters. Jephthah’s knowledge qualified him to lead them and bring them out of their distress; because of this it became irrelevant that his mother was a harlot and that he was an illegitimate child of his father.
A leader’s ability to lead is really what matters to the people; when the chips are down, the people will overlook the leader’s background if he possesses the qualities required to lead them forward.
Eturuvie Erebor
Taking-the-Lead Seminars.

Good Leaders Don’t Defraud The People.

Leadership is about service; service to the people and not service to self. When a leader serves self instead of the people, he has missed the mark. Anytime a leader defrauds the people he leads it is because he has ceased to serve them and begun to serve self. A person who truly understands that leadership is a call to serve the people and not himself will not defraud them.
Moses was one of the greatest leaders in the Bible; he understood what it meant to lead and did not defraud the children of Israel. When Korah and company rebelled against his authority, Moses said to God “Do not regard their offering! I have not taken a single donkey from them, nor have I done harm to any of them.” Truly he was a man serving the people and not serving self.
Samuel was the last judge in the land of Israel; like Moses he also understood that leadership is a call to serve the people and not oneself. Samuel did not defraud the people, as a matter of fact, during Saul’s coronation, Samuel said to the people of Israel, “Now, here is the king walking before you, but I am old and gray, and behold my sons are with you. And I have walked before you from my youth even to this day. Here I am; bear witness against me before the LORD and His anointed. Whose ox have I taken, or whose donkey have I taken, or whom have I defrauded? Whom have I oppressed, or from whose hand have I taken a bribe to blind my eyes with it? I will restore it to you.” They said, “You have not defrauded us or oppressed us or taken anything from any man’s hand.” That is a powerful testimony of integrity.
Nehemiah was a slave in a foreign land but when he learned that the walls of Jerusalem had been burnt down, he returned to rebuild them; because he was successful in leading the people to rebuild the walls he was made their governor. As governor there were certain privileges that Nehemiah was entitled to but he refused these privileges because he did not want to put an additional burden on the people. These are the words of Nehemiah, “Moreover, from the time that I was appointed to be their governor, neither I nor my brothers ate the governor’s provisions; but the former governors who were before me, laid burdens on the people and took from them bread and wine, besides forty shekels of silver. Yes, even their servants bore rule over the people, but I did not do so because of the fear of God. Indeed, I also continued the work on this wall and we did not buy any land.” Nehemiah was truly a servant leader, he could have taken the governor’s provision, he could have bought land but those things were not his priority, serving the people and ultimately God was priority.
Apostle Paul, unarguably the greatest apostle, in speaking to the elders of the church at Ephesus said, “Yea, ye yourselves know, that these hands have ministered unto my necessities, and to them that were with me.” He took nothing from them; he worked with his hands to sustain himself and the people who preached the gospel with him.
Moses, Samuel, Nehemiah and Paul did not defraud the people they led. A leader is called to serve the people and a good leader knows this; therefore, he does not seek to serve himself rather he seeks to serve the people and enrich their lives.
When a leader defrauds the people he loses their respect and so is unable to correct their errors. After David stepped out of line in the issue of Bathsheba and served self by defrauding Uriah the Hittite of his wife and ultimately his life, he lost the respect of the people and so when his son Amnon raped his own daughter Tamar, he was silent. Although the Bible records that he was angry yet there is no record that Amnon was disciplined by David for his evil deed. His passivity concerning the issue drove Absalom to murder Amnon. Had David responded accordingly by disciplining Amnon perhaps Absalom’s anger would have been appeased and the murder of Amnon avoided. However, David could not discipline Amnon because of his own failure as a leader.
When leaders stop serving the people and begin to serve self, there are always grave consequences.
Eturuvie Erebor
Taking-the-Lead Seminars.