Archive | March 2015

Leadership Lessons from the Life of Rahab

Rahab was a prostitute who lived in the city of Jericho. As a matter of fact, her house was on the city’s wall. We know she was a prostitute because the Bible says that she was. What we do not know however, because the Bible does not mention it, is that Rahab was a leader and possibly a better leader than the reigning king of Jericho. This article clearly highlights her leadership qualities and the lessons we can learn from the life of this great woman.
The Bible first mentions Rahab in the second chapter of the book of Joshua. At this time, Joshua had become the leader of the nation of Israel, following the death of Moses. He sent two spies to the city of Jericho to search out the entire land as the children of Israel got set to invade the land and conquer it. These men upon their arrival in Jericho entered into the house of Rahab and lodged there. While they were with her, information reached the king of Jericho and he sent a message to Rahab asking her to bring forth the men as they were spies who had come to search out the land. Rahab realised that this action would be detrimental to her and so she hid both men and sent back to the king saying that the men had long departed and advised that he send people after them. Men were sent to pursue after them but Rahab went to her roof top where she hid these men and said unto them, “I know that the Lord hath given you the land, and that your terror is fallen upon us, and that all the inhabitants of the land faint because of you. For we have heard how the Lord dried up the water of the Red sea for you, when ye came out of Egypt; and what ye did unto the two kings of the Amorites, that were on the other side Jordan, Sihon and Og, whom ye utterly destroyed. And as soon as we had heard these things, our hearts did melt, neither did there remain any more courage in any man, because of you: for the Lord your God, he is God in heaven above, and in earth beneath. Now therefore, I pray you, swear unto me by the Lord, since I have shewed you kindness, that ye will also shew kindness unto my father’s house, and give me a true token: And that ye will save alive my father, and my mother, and my brethren, and my sisters, and all that they have, and deliver our lives from death.”
Both men entered into an agreement with Rahab that it would be as she had requested on two conditions; one, she was to tie a scarlet thread on her window and ensure that when the children of Israel invaded the city of Jericho all her family were inside the house and two, she was not to utter any of their business. Rahab kept to her part of the deal and when Israel eventually invaded the city of Jericho, the Bible says concerning Rahab; “And Joshua saved Rahab the harlot alive, and her father’s household, and all that she had; and she dwelleth in Israel even unto this day; because she hid the messengers, which Joshua sent to spy out Jericho.”
Leadership Lessons from the Life of Rahab are as follows;
1. You do not need to fight in every battle. If the king of Jericho had half the wisdom Rahab possessed, he would have preserved his life and those of his people. He failed to protect his own and let them perish because his strategy was wrong. Rahab however, was able to save her own life and those of her family members because her strategy was right. She knew she could not fight the children of Israel. She knew she could not keep them out of Jericho or stop them from taking over the city. Based on all she had heard about this unique set of people she knew it was an exercise in futility trying to come against them. The only way out was to collaborate with them. Wise leaders pick their battles carefully. They understand that not every battle must be fought as some battles are won without a fight.
2. She did not procrastinate. As the spies departed, they said to her, “thou shalt bind this line of scarlet thread in the window which thou didst let us down by.” With this scarlet in her window, the men would be able to identify her house and ensure it was not destroyed when they attacked Jericho. Rahab wasted no time carrying out this life-saving instruction. The Bible says, “And she sent them away, and they departed and she bound the scarlet line in the window.” She did it as soon as they left. She did not procrastinate or put it off. She did it immediately. Leaders are disciplined and do not put off until tomorrow what can be done today.
3. Be clear about what you want. Someone has said that fuzzy ideas lead to fuzzy actions. Clarity of goals and expectations is key to the achievement of same. Rahab knew exactly what she wanted and expressed this without much ado. Leaders who succeed are those who know precisely what they want and go after it.
4. Take the initiative. Rahab took the initiative; the initiative to lodge the spies in her home, the initiative to hide them, the initiative to give the king a contrary report, the initiative to cut a deal that would save her and her family. Leaders take the initiative, they are always one step ahead, and that is what makes them leaders.
5. Learn to negotiate. Rahab negotiated with the spies. She let them know what she wanted in return for showing them kindness. They in turn let her know what they expected of her in order to help her. Both parties reached an agreement and Rahab got what she wanted. Leaders are negotiators.
6. Look for and see opportunities in every situation. When the spies came to Rahab’s home, she immediately saw an opportunity to form ties with them which would ultimately save her life and the lives of her family members from a destruction that was imminent. Leaders see opportunities in every situation.
7. Nothing of value is ever free. Rahab understood this and every great leader knows this. You will never get anything of value without giving up something of value to get it. In other words, there is no such reality as a free lunch. Followers look for freebies but leaders know there is a price for everything valuable. Rahab wanted to save her life and that of her entire family but she had to pay a price for what she wanted. She hid men who had come to spy her land with the intention of invading it. She mislead her king and she took a risk of being killed if discovered. She paid a price because she knew it was the only way to escape the destruction that was to come. Leaders pay a price for what they want.
8. Discernment is key to making right decisions. Rahab made a decision to join forces with Israel against her people. This was the right decision as it would afford her and her family a chance to live. This decision was not just based on what her physical ears heard or physical eyes saw. It went beyond that. This decision was based on discernment. She discerned that joining Israel and hiding the spies was the right thing to do. She made her decision based on that and she was not wrong. Leaders know the importance of discernment. They understand that sometimes facts and figures are not enough to make the right decision; discernment is needed.
9. Relationships are built on trust, therefore integrity is key. Rahab, like many other leaders before and after her, knew the importance of trust. The spies promised to save her and her family on the condition that she did not utter their business. She honoured her side of the agreement. She did not utter their business. She had integrity. Leaders who break trust have no integrity and sooner than later lose their influence. And a leader is not a leader without influence.
10. Sometimes, you have to work alone. Rahab acted alone. Those close to her were not aware of what she was doing. This woman single-handedly saved her entire family. She did not require anyone to stand with her; she stood alone. She did not require anyone to advise her; she counselled herself. She did not require anyone to motivate her; she was self-motivated. She did not require anyone to assure her she was doing the right thing; she knew she was. She was able to manage herself and her affairs. This is a major requirement for great leadership as no one can lead others until they are able to lead themselves. Leaders, lead themselves first.
Finally, Rahab was a woman but she did not allow this stop her from taking actions to preserve her life and the lives of her family members. Her story is a powerful message to all women; one that says, “You can do it too.”

Leadership Lessons Daily: Day 90

Scripture Passage: Numbers 20:1-12
To Whom Much is Given Much is Expected
Moses was the man God chose to bring Israel out of Egypt and lead them into the land of Canaan. God also invested a lot in Moses to ensure that he was able to carry out this task. However, Moses missed it when he struck the rock instead of speaking to it as God had instructed. God said to him, “because ye believed me not, to sanctify me in the eyes of the children of Israel, therefore ye shall not bring this congregation into the land which I have given them.”
The lesson here is this; to whom much is given, much is also expected. The leader must never forget this. A lot was invested in Moses and so a lot was expected from him. He failed to meet those expectations and he lost the final phase of the vision.
Prayer: Father, help me to live up to your expectations of me.

Leadership Lessons Daily: Day 89

Scripture Passage: Numbers 20:1-12
The Leader Must Stay Focused At All Cost
When Israel entered into the desert of Zin, the entire congregation murmured against Moses and Aaron saying, “And wherefore have ye made us to come up out of Egypt, to bring us into this evil place? It is no place of seed, or figs, or of vines, or of pomegranates; neither is there any water to drink.” At this point Moses lost focus momentarily. Instead of speaking to the rock as he had been instructed, he struck it. It was one mistake but it cost him a crucial part of his vision; leading Israel into Canaan.
The lesson here is this; the leader must maintain focus at all times. One mistake may destroy all he has worked hard to build. He cannot afford to get carried away because the consequences are usually grave. The people may but the leader may not.
Prayer: Father, give me the grace stay focused.

Leadership Lessons Daily: Day 88

Scripture Passage: Numbers 20:1-5
The People Will Be Ungrateful
When Israel entered into the desert of Zin, one more time, the entire congregation murmured against Moses and Aaron. They said, “And wherefore have ye made us to come up out of Egypt, to bring us into this evil place? It is no place of seed, or figs, or of vines, or of pomegranates; neither is there any water to drink.” Notice that from the time they left Egypt, up until this point, no one acknowledged Moses’ personal sacrifice in bringing them out of bondage. No one expressed any gratitude to him. They only murmured, complained and criticised.
The lesson here is this; in spite of everything the leader does, the people will remain ungrateful. They will choose to see what the leader has not done or what he has done wrong and will remain blind, by choice, to all that the leader has done right and all that he has sacrificed for their good.
Prayer: Father, give me wisdom to handle ingratitude in those I lead.

Leadership Lessons Daily: Day 87

Scripture Passage: Numbers 16:41-48
Good Leaders Never Abandon Their People
When the congregation accused Moses and Aaron of killing Korah, Dathan and Abiram with their families, God came down to destroy the people. He said to Moses, “Get you up from among this congregation, that I may consume them as in a moment.” The Bible also records the reaction of Moses and Aaron. “And they fell upon their faces. And Moses said unto Aaron, Take a censer, and put fire therein from off the altar, and put on incense, and go quickly unto the congregation, and make an atonement for them: for there is wrath gone out from the Lord; the plague is begun.” Moses did not do as the Lord said. He did not leave the people but instructed Aaron to make atonement on their behalf.
The lesson here is this; good leaders do not abandon their people and especially in a crisis. Instead, they seek out a solution to the crisis. Those they lead can rely on them.
Prayer: Father, help me to be reliable.

Leadership Lessons Daily: Day 86

Scripture Passage: Numbers 16:41-48
You Can Count on the Leader to Save the Day
After the death of Korah and company, the children of Israel murmured against Moses and Aaron. They accused them of killing the people of God and one more time, God came down to destroy the people with a plague. Moses instantly instructed Aaron to make atonement for the people and the Bible says, “And he stood between the dead and the living; and the plague was stayed.” Moses positioned himself as a barrier between the living and dead to stop the plague of death from reaching the living. He couldn’t save what was lost but he salvaged what was left.
The lesson here is this; leaders are saviours. Leaders are shields. Leaders are barriers that stop the spread of evil. Leaders look for ways to rescue their people from destruction. You can always count on a good leader to save the day.
Prayer: Father, make me a solution provider.

Leadership Lessons Daily: Day 85

Scripture Passage: Numbers 16:1-34
Integrity Makes a Leader Bold
In the rebellion of Korah, Dathan and Abiram, Moses said to God, “Respect not thou their offering: I have not taken one ass from them, neither have I hurt one of them.” Interestingly, neither God nor Korah and company could refute this statement of Moses. And God granted his request. He was clearly a leader who had integrity.
The lesson here is this; good leaders are men and women with integrity. They do not seek to defraud the people or do them harm because their main interest is always the people’s welfare. Integrity makes a leader bold and saves him from losing face in the day of trouble.
Prayer: Father, help me to live a life of integrity.