Are your projects and pressures more real to you than Jesus? (96-5)
“They are a feared and dreaded people; they are a law to themselves and promote their own honor…They sweep past like the wind and go on – guilty men, whose own strength is their god (Habakkuk 1:6, 11).
These members of the Babylonian army were a “law to themselves” (they do whatever they want), “promote their own honor” (they look out for number one), and their “own strength is their god” (they rely on themselves). Sounds like today. This is the fundamental struggle of every leader. Every moment of every day we choose either to live out of our own strength and be independent from God, or to depend on God alone and walk by faith. When we try to be independent, we sin. When we walk by faith, Christ’s righteousness is lived out in obedience. Read 2 Samuel 24.
In King David’s day in ancient Israel, they had a form of military service similar to America’s National Guard. There was a small, well trained, professional standing army that protected the nation’s capitol with some troops also stationed in remote areas of the nation to keep order. All other able bodied men between certain ages were expected to live in a state of ready, doing their civilian job, and assemble for war if the king determined there was a threat to the nation and put out the call for an army.
King David wanted to know how many men he could muster should he decide he needed a military force so he ordered a census of the entire nation of men that were fighting age. Unfortunately this was against a previous instruction God had given the leaders of His nation. Through Moses, one of Israel’s early God-appointed leaders, God had given instructions for all future leaders to trust Him, not military might, and had forbidden a leader to take a census of available fighting men.
David knew what he was doing violated God’s law but decided to do it anyway. How many times have each of us ignored what we knew was “right” in our leadership role to do what we wanted to do? This kind of leadership action is for our benefit, seems like it costs us nothing, and is not a worthy offering to God.
The Bible says that when the census was complete “David was conscience stricken” and said, “I have sinned greatly in what I have done” (24:10). God sent a plague and punished the entire nation for David’s sin. Isn’t it interesting that so many people in Israel died that David’s census information was now useless.
The system of this world is almost perfectly designed to encourage leaders to rely on their own strength. It is easy for our projects and pressures to become more real to us than Jesus. Instead of walking by faith, leaders can let their own strength become their god. Effective Christian leaders keep their priorities those of God rather than their own even though the system around us is designed to lure us to self-dependence and self-reliance.
Proverbs 3:5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.
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