Isaiah 9:13-16 Character in Leadership, Part 1

Isaiah 9:13-16 Yet the people do not turn back to Him who struck them, nor do they seek the LORD of hosts. So the LORD cuts off head and tail from Israel, both palm branch and bulrush in a single day. The head is the elder and honorable man, and the prophet who teaches falsehood is the tail. For those who guide this people are leading them astray; and those who are guided by them are brought to confusion.

God explains who and what the head and tail are. In the subsequent verses He explains that the head is the elder and the honorable man. The tail is a false prophet. Many times the Bible will define the terms, idiomatic and/or the metaphorical language and examples it is using. One may have to search other books of the Bible to identify the meaning, but they are there. Take the four horsemen of the Apocalypse and their colored horses in Revelation 6. There are references to these four colored horse images in the Book of Zechariah 1:8, 6:2-3. Further explanation and detail are noted in Zechariah. More information can be gleaned with a little effort.

Palm trees were associated with leadership and judgment in the Old Testament.  Leviticus 23:40 states the palm tree is a beautiful and majestic tree. Deborah lead Israel from under a palm tree in Judges 4:5 She used to sit under the palm tree of Deborah between Ramah and Bethel in the hill country of Ephraim; and the sons of Israel came up to her for judgment. Palm trees are frequently positioned with angels in the temple in 1 Kings 6 and Ezekiel Chapters 40, 41.

A bulrush is a reed type plant that was used to make baskets. It is the material used in the basket for the baby Moses in Exodus 2:3. It is also the plant used to make paper.

Poor leadership and discernment, a lack of morality, and light buoyancy are removed quickly. Israel sinks immediately. The Lord Himself eliminates these from the nation. Israel does not change their attitude or their actions. They do not return to God and continue in their arrogance.

Biblical Principle: Deceitful leadership will result in the destruction of the people they represent.

Notice those in charge are deliberately misleading.  The deception is intentional and purposeful. The misguided leadership causes the people to wander physically, mentally, and morally. It is as if the people are wandering around drunk and intoxicated.  The Hebrew Grammar indicates the people will be “swallowed up” because of their poor leadership. It can also mean the people will be confused. Confused and swallowed up are the results of an organization or country when poor leadership deliberately misleads. In this case, it was Israel.

Who is ultimately in charge of an organization or a government?  Take our government of the United States for instance. The President, Congress, and Supreme Court represent three equal branches of government with checks and balances. What kind of leadership is being exhibited in Washington D.C. in August 2013? Is there any deception in D.C.? Is the government looking after the citizen’s best interest and protecting our personal freedoms? Look at the culture from a mental and moral standpoint. How is the culture trending in early 21st Century America? Are we better as a culture and nation? Unlike most places on the planet, we freely elect our leaders. We really get what we ask for in the United States. Are we contributing to our own demise with the leaders we elect?

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