Old Testament Leadership Examples


Leadership is essential to the expansion of the kingdom of God on earth. It should be discussed more in Christian churches than it is. I’m glad I’m part of a church that has leadership as one of it’s three core values and is committed to training Christians to become leaders and world-changers.

One of the cool things about leadership is that it takes many forms. One doesn’t have to be the top guy or gal in an organization to lead. Leadership is not just authority; in it’s broadest sense it’s influence, of which authority is merely one form.

The Old Testament highlights examples of leadership by those with seemingly no power under the authority of repressive regimes yet who influenced those in authority to change the world.

Joseph was elevated from a prisoner to the chief administrator over Egypt and was responsible for influencing Pharaoh to save the empire from famine. As a result, Joseph helped preserve the royal Jewish line through which Jesus would come.

Daniel rose from near-slave status to the third most powerful man in Babylon, influencing Nebuchadnezzar and Belshazzar and helping preserve his people during the transition from the Babylonian to the Persian empires.

Mordecai went from being an ordinary foreigner in Susa to a favored man in the Court of the Persian ruler, Xerxes. He influenced Xerxes to save the Jewish people under Persian rule from genocide. And, of course, Esther went from being an ordinary Jewish girl in a foreign nation to queen to the most powerful man in the world and, like Mordecai, helped influence him to save her people from genocide.

It surprises me then when I hear Christians say the world is so anti-Christian the kingdom of God cannot succeed on earth unless Jesus comes back and imposes His rule on people.

I believe these three prominent Old Testament examples were given to show us, who would receive the Kingdom, that perfect conditions are not necessary for Kingdom growth or influence to prevail. The Kingdom doesn’t require Christian hegemony such as existed during the Byzantine Empire to flourish. It did pretty well, for example, under the oppressive Roman Empire.

One thing is clear though, if Christians believe they are powerless to change the world they will act accordingly and their belief will become a self-fulfilling prophecy. GS

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