By Willard Teague
Devotional Scripture: Deuteronomy 17:15
Central Thought: A leader must serve in humility and dependence upon God.
If you have been called to lead the people of God in any capacity, the latter part of chapter 17 of Deuteronomy gives special insight for you. It indicates that God will guide the path of those who are called to lead, if they pay close attention to the Word of God. Verse 19 says that the leader 'shall read in it all the days of his life, that he may learn to fear the Lord his God by keeping all the words of this law and these statutes, and doing them.”
Four special rules for leaders are given in this passage. Only someone from 'among your brothers” could direct the covenant community, meaning that spiritual leaders must be true believers. The ruler was not 'to acquire many horses” but had to depend on God rather than military might. The leader was not to 'acquire many wives” that would turn him away from God, and the ruler was not to 'acquire for himself excessive silver and gold” or seek personal gain. These rules indicate servant leadership. We do not serve in the model established by the world, just as the king of Israel was not to follow the pattern of the heathen kings of Canaan!
The model of leadership in the Old Testament set limits on military power, prestige, and private gain. The leader is commanded not to consider himself better than his brothers. His authority must be exercised in a context of covenant equality. This same principle is given and applied to leaders in the New Testament (1 Peter 5:1-4).
What lesson can we learn? Christian leaders are also vulnerable to the temptation of power, prestige, and wealth just like the kings of Israel. Certainly, the disciple, even in leadership, is not above his master (John 13:12-17).
Devotional Prayer: Lord, help those of us who lead Your people to carry out our ministries in humility and dependence upon Your Spirit and Your Word.
Today's Bible Reading: Deuteronomy 16:1-17:20; Luke 9:7-27; Psalm 71:1-20; Proverbs 12:8-9