Archive for leadership

Isaiah 9:13-16 Character in Leadership, Part 3 False Prophets

Posted in Isaiah with tags , , , , , , , , on August 17, 2013 by paulthepoke

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.

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

False prophets and teachers have existed throughout the course of time. Jesus Himself explains how to identify a false teacher in Matthew 7:15-16 “Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they?”

God has a very simple message for false prophets, death. There are many examples of this in the Old Testament. One of them is Jeremiah 14:15 “Therefore thus says the LORD concerning the prophets who are prophesying in My name, although it was not I who sent them—yet they keep saying, ‘There will be no sword or famine in this land’—by sword and famine those prophets shall meet their end!” The message for false prophets is the same in the New Testament, death. 2 Peter 2:1 But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves.

False prophets and teachers are motivated by greed and money. This concept is noted throughout the Bible.  2 Peter 2:3 and in their greed they will exploit you with false words; their judgment from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep. Micah 3:11 Her leaders pronounce judgment for a bribe, her priests instruct for a price and her prophets divine for money. Yet they lean on the LORD saying, “Is not the LORD in our midst? Calamity will not come upon us.”

James 3:1-2 Let not many of you become teachers, my brethren, knowing that as such we will incur a stricter judgment. For we all stumble in many ways. If anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to bridle the whole body as well.

No man who is a pastor-teacher is going to be pure and 100% accurate in his teaching. It is not humanly possible and it does not exist. Any man who projects infallibility and purity in his interpretation of Scripture needs to be closely examined, period. To think perfection in interpretation of Biblical doctrine exists in humanity outside of Christ is unrealistic.

If a local body or an individual projects that a pastor-teacher is infallible in interpretation and teaching of Scripture, this should result in reflection and examination as well. In either case, Romans 3:10 “There is none righteous not even one”. We are all flawed human beings.

It is the responsibility of individuals to read the Bible and discern. For that matter, don’t take my word for it either. Search and seek, verify.

Isaiah 9:13-16 Character in Leadership Part2 Pastor-Teacher

Posted in Isaiah with tags , , , , , , , , , on August 11, 2013 by paulthepoke

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.

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

Today in the body of Christ, who is the authority in a local church? Granted, the ultimate authority is Jesus. The person in charge of a local body of believers is the pastor-teacher. Ephesians 4:11 And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers… This responsibility is extended to elders and those in church leadership as well. But ultimately, does the pastor-teacher follow in the steps of Jesus’ authority and example?

Jesus demonstrated Himself as a teacher. He taught in synagogues. Luke 4:43-44 But He (Jesus) said to them, “I must preach the kingdom of God to the other cities also, for I was sent for this purpose.” So He kept on preaching in the synagogues of Judea. The people respected His authority as a teacher. Mark 1:22 They were amazed at His teaching; for He was teaching them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.

There are at least 16 examples in the New Testament where Jesus is called “Rabbi”. The apostles and citizens addressed Him as “Rabbi”. Rabbi is Hebrew for Teacher. John 1:38 And Jesus turned and saw them following, and said to them, “What do you seek?” They said to Him, “Rabbi (which translated means Teacher), where are You staying?”

Jesus demonstrated the characteristic of a servant while performing as a leader. An example of service would be when He washed His disciple’s feet. John 13:4-5 got up from supper, and laid aside His garments; and taking a towel, He girded Himself. Then He poured water into the basin, and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded. The creator of the universe was willing to strip off His clothes and wash the nasty and dirty feet of those who followed Him. He was willing to care and act towards those under Him with humility.

It is the responsibility of individuals to read the Bible and discern. Be a Berean. Acts 17:10-11 But the brothers at once sent both Paul and Silas to Berea during the night; who having arrived went into the synagogue of the Jews. And these were more noble than those in Thessalonica, for they received the Word with all readiness, daily examining the Scriptures if these things are so.

For that matter, don’t take my word for it either. Search and seek, verify.

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

Posted in Isaiah, Prophecy with tags , , , , , , , on August 3, 2013 by paulthepoke

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?

Isaiah 3:6-7 Leadership Vacuum

Posted in Isaiah with tags , , , , , , on March 9, 2012 by paulthepoke

Isaiah 3:6-7 When a man lays hold of his brother in his father’s house, saying, “You have a cloak, you shall be our ruler, and these ruins will be under your charge,” He will protest on that day, saying, “I will not be your healer, for in my house there is neither bread nor cloak; you should not appoint me ruler of the people.”

The brother who is a medical professional is captured against his will. The aggressive brother “lays hold” of his brother. The concept is a simple action verb: to catch, handle, lay hold, take hold of, seize, wield, arrest, or catch. Notice the medical brother is under “protest”. He did not want to be there.

There were two kinds of cloaks during Isaiah’s day. Practically, one was a matter of warmth. The cloak was worn on the outside of garments. It was made of thick wool around the body, seaming it at the shoulders, and providing slits for the arms to go through. For many people the cloak was their only form of protection. If a cloak was taken in pledge for a loan, it had to be returned to the owner before nightfall for sleeping purposes (Exodus 22:26-27). For this reason a Jewish court of law would never award a cloak (New Manners and Customs of Bible Times).

The brother who has a medical background is assumed to be rich as indicated by the cloak. The fact that he has clothing is an indication of comparative wealth (Wycliffe Bible Commentary). The second form of cloak was like a loose dressing-gown with wide sleeves. Luxury cloaks were made of silk. A wealthy person would never think of going out of doors without one (New Manners and Customs of Bible Times).

The word “ruins” implies a mess. It is the Hebrew word makshelah. As defined by Strong’s, it means an overthrown mass, stumbling-block, something overthrown, decay, or ruin thing overthrown (figurative of kingdom). This word indicates the admission of a possible government coup. The youth have revolted against the establishment government.

Human nature is on display. The youth are in charge and it is not working the way they anticipated. Their solution, appoint the rich and blame them. Nice attitude! They are not interested in solving problems. They wanted a change and they got it. Blame the rich…

There is a clear vacuum of leadership. The previously wealthy medical professional wants no part of leadership. “…you should not appoint me ruler of the people.”  There is no wealth or food as indicated by the absence of cloak or bread. No one is willing to take responsibility for the national situation.

Isaiah 3:5 Generation and Class Warfare

Posted in Isaiah with tags , , , , , , , on March 4, 2012 by paulthepoke

Isaiah 3:5 And the people will be oppressed, each one by another, and each one by his neighbor; the youth will storm against the elder and the inferior against the honorable.

The verb oppressed, nagas in the Hebrew, is defined in Strong’s Concordance as: to press, drive, oppress, exact, or exert demanding pressure. This is how the people were treating each other. Can you imagine living in a neighborhood where every one treated each other this way? You can forget about borrowing a cup of sugar…

The youth of the day were on the offensive towards older people of society. The word “storm” does not capture the essence of these youngsters. The Hebrew word is rahab. It is used as a simple action verb. It means to behave proudly, act stormily or boisterously or arrogantly, to act insolently, beset, importune. One can imagine the attitude. Their man, their generation is the king. It is their time.

The last comparison is the inferior against the honorable. Those who are disgraced, dishonorable, lightly esteemed, or despised will oppose themselves against those who are heavy, weighty, rich, honorable, and glorious. Simply put, class warfare is the result of youthful and inexperienced leadership.

A contemporary of Isaiah’s was Micah. Micah had these observations and implications on the family. Micah 7:6 For son treats father contemptuously, daughter rises up against her mother, daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; a man’s enemies are the men of his own household. The children are on the rampage. The father and mother are not honored. It is a breakdown of the family unit and structure.

Prophetically, these things came to pass approximately 100 years later from the time of Isaiah and Micah. These events were fulfilled approximately 600 before the birth of Christ. Moving forward 600 plus years to the ministry of Jesus, He quotes Micah 7:6 in Matthew 10:21 and Luke 12:53.  These words have passed the test of time. Jesus Himself has validated them by quoting.   

Fast-forward to early 21st Century in the Middle East. Are we seeing the seeds of the re-emergence of youth and their desire to take a leadership position? The Arab Spring of 2011 was lead by the students who desire Democracy (so we are told). Does Isaiah 3:5 resemble the current state of affairs in the Middle East? The Bible tells us where this leads when young people are in charge. God Himself says that youthful and inexperienced leadership is a judgment on the people. This is something to monitor and something to think about.


Isaiah 3:4 Boy Kings

Posted in Isaiah with tags , , , , on February 26, 2012 by paulthepoke

Isaiah 3:4 And I will make mere lads their princes, and capricious children will rule over them…

After legitimate leadership is removed, they are replaced with kids. The Hebrew language is clear. These are boys, plural. As Strong’s describes, these are wantonness, vexing, and malicious youngsters. Youth does not have the knowledge base or experience let alone the ability to process, integrate, and apply information to lead a nation. The events of Isaiah Chapter 3 play out in Israel’s history of youthful kings.

Wycliffe Bible Commentary notes four young kings. All were evil in the eyes of God. King Manasseh was only 12 when he began to reign. Jehoiakim was 25. Jehoiachin was 18. And Zedekiah was 21. Look at the language God uses to describe these kings, capricious children. Yes they may have adult bodies, but they have the minds of detestable children.

One example is the 18 year old evil king Jehoiachin. Details of his reign are noted in 2 Kings 24:8-16. His reign was only three months in Jerusalem. In short, the youthful leader played Let’s Make a Deal with Nebuchadnezzar and exchanged his house and the luxurious contents of Solomon’s Temple for the lives of himself, his family, and the rich and privileged in Israel. This group was exiled to Babylon. Only the poor were left in the land Israel.

Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon completed a series of invasions. Isaiah had written his prophecy in the era of roughly 720 to 700 B.C. Nebuchadnezzar’s invasion was roughly 100 to 120 years later in 597B.C. Other details of this period are also noted by Jeremiah in Chapter 24.

Ecclesiastes 10:16 Woe to you, O land, whose king is a lad and whose princes feast in the morning.   In English, “woe” does not sound like that big of a deal. Woe is an interjection that means pity in Hebrew. It is a yell that is intended to get your attention. The word lad is the same word used in Isaiah 3:4. It is na`ar. They are just boys.





Isaiah 3:1-3 Societal Collapse

Posted in Isaiah with tags , , , , , , , , , on February 19, 2012 by paulthepoke

Isaiah 3:1 For behold, the Lord GOD of hosts is going to remove from Jerusalem and Judah both supply and support, the whole supply of bread and the whole supply of water…

Isaiah 3 is a judgment against Jerusalem and Judah (the southern kingdom of Israel). As an overview of the chapter, God initially takes away food and water from the city and nation. Next, God removes older and experienced leadership and replaces them with young, inexperienced leadership. Judgment against the women of Israel is pronounced due to their attitude of materialism. Lastly, the men of the society are killed by the sword of war.

The idea expressed in the Hebrew grammar of verse 1 is the entirety of supplies and provisions, a complete removal of bread and a complete removal of water. Wycliffe’s Bible Commentary has inferred this is possibly caused by drought. Utter famine and dehydration have fallen on Jerusalem and the southern kingdom.

Isaiah 3:2-3 The mighty man and the warrior, the judge and the prophet, the diviner and the elder, the captain of fifty and the honorable man, the counselor and the expert artisan, and the skillful enchanter.

Leadership is being removed from Israel. A lack of leadership is a judgment from God. That is a frightening thought when we look at the state of our country today in 2012. Do we really have leadership or are we run by polling, focus groups, or what’s trending on the internet?

The removal is regarding all aspects of society. The mighty man speaks to bravery. The warrior is military strength. The legal system is impacted with the removal of judges. Judicial fairness was not being executed and favoritism and bribes were the flavor of the day. Does this sound familiar? Essentially there was a complete breakdown of government. This is the ultimate outcome of society with a lack of leadership.

There is a removal of the moral and religious fabric of society. Granted some of these folks are false prophets, sorcerers, and diviners but they too are removed along with legitimate leaders. There was not Godly leadership in society. How does our culture view Judeo-Christian values in leadership in general?

Legitimate secular and corporate leadership were removed from the culture. Those who possessed wise counsel and advice were deleted. Technical expertise and a skilled labor force were no more. There were no people to build things. Manufacturing had dried up. Removal of work is judgment from God. What is our 21st Century society crying out at this time? Jobs, jobs, jobs. Does any of this sound familiar?

Arts and education were removed as well. In our case, this may not be such a bad thing. We have hundreds of channels to watch on TV: movies, music, shows, news, sports. Entertain me! The thing I hear more often than not, “There is nothing worth watching.” Our education system is crumbling and we continue to fall further behind the rest of the world in reading and math skills. Business leaders complain today’s graduates are not prepared intellectually.

Collectively, Jewish society of the past collapsed. Will we learn from history? Current trends are not favorable.

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