TO CHEW ON: "So he shepherded them according to the integrity of his heart and guided them by the skillfulness of his hands" - Psalm 78:72.
All in all, this is a pretty depressing psalm until we come to the last three verses. There we see that God didn't give up on these people despite their long history of unfaithfulness. Instead, he gave them what they needed, though they didn't deserve it: a chosen leader in David, whose leadership was characterized by integrity and skill.
The people God chose for leadership and prominence are characterized in many ways in the Bible.
- God called the tribe of Levi—the Israelites separated to serve Him in the worship service of the tabernacle and temple—as "Mine" and a "gift" (Numbers 3:12; 8:19; 18:6).
- The prophet Haggai named Zerubbabel as God's "servant" who was "like a signet ring," i.e. His very stamp of authority (Haggai 2:23).
- God called Paul a "chosen vessel" (Acts 9:15).
- But God's leader choices are not always the obvious ones. Paul, in Colossians tells us how upside-down they sometimes look: "But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world ... and the base things and the things which are despised ... and the things which are not to bring to nothing the things that are" - Colossians 1:27-29.
Actually David was an example of that. He had no royal upbringing but apprenticed for the job as king in the fields as a shepherd. Yet it was the perfect preparation for his role as Israel's shepherd.
Two things come to mind:
1. Do I, do we, value and support our leaders, viewing them as God's gift, His hand of authority, His choice vessels for us?
2. Maybe some of us are leaders in training but don't even realize it. The Colossians verses remind us that sometimes God's choices are not the obvious ones. We may not feel like leadership material, but that doesn't mean we aren't. Are we ready to lead should God put His hand on our shoulder for the job?
PRAYER: Dear God, thank You for the leaders—the pastors, deacons, board members, small group leaders etc.— You provide. Help me to respect and listen to them, regarding them as Your gifts to me. Amen.
MORE: Leadership journey
Eleanor Clitheroe's leadership journey was not smooth. A profile article about her begins:
"She was one of the most powerful women in Ontario, controlling not only every light switch in every home, but also the huge industrial machines and every computer in the financial district on Bay Street. Today she is simply an Anglican curate."
Her firing from Ontario's Hydro One in 2002 plunged her into turmoil and stress, but also put her on the path to a different kind of leadership. Read Christianity.ca's story of this remarkable Canadian leader: "The Winding Road of Faith"
10-minute 100 Huntley Street video profile of Eleanor Clitheroe
Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.