Wise leaders recognize wisdom, knowledge and passion in individuals and promote those individuals to positions of authority. Read Ezra 7.
Artaxerxes was the fourth king of Persia to interact with the Jewish people who had been exiled to Babylon by the Babylonians prior to the Persian conquest of Babylon. The Persians were a fairly superstitious people which led to one of the Persian’s national defense policies – allowing a portion of the exiled population of each people group under Babylonian captivity to return to their homeland and establish a national presence and re-establish worship of their god in their homeland. This policy gave the Persians the good will of those returning to their homeland and those from that people group staying in Persian territory, and it gave them physical allies on the perimeter of their nation and the favor of the gods of the people living in these regions.
Leadership takes on many forms as an organization grows or downsizes, as its climate and environment change. What remains constant is the moral base required of the leadership. Read 1 Kings 1:1-9.
Maybe you have experienced what Solomon experienced stepping into his leadership role. He was about to assume leadership after the greatest leader in Israel’s history. The expectation of the people concerning performance of their leaders was high. David had set the standard for their expectations over the last 40 years so an entire generation knew Israel as a great nation with leaders revered by all the nations around them. The inner circle of leaders that had received orders from the great King David would now be receiving orders from an 18-year-old and those first decisions would become a first impression that had the potential to form an opinion of Solomon’s abilities that would last throughout his reign. The neighboring nations were sure that no nation could find another leader with David’s skill so they were hoping for a lesser man. Sounds like a no win situation for Solomon.
There are several actions a leader can take to pass leadership to a successor they have chosen to take their place. Read 1 Kings 1:28-40.
Transitions in leadership often cause significant problems for groups and organizations. David planned for his son Solomon’s succession but failed to adequately communicate this to others. As a result, his son, Adonijah, attempted to take the throne when he saw that his father could no longer rule. It is one thing to plan ahead but another to communicate these plans to others who will be affected by them.
A leader’s reputation is what people think of them here and now; a leader’s legacy is what people think of them after they are gone. Read Judges 10:1-6.
Israel slipped back to idol worship after each judge over a couple of centuries so it may be unfair to “pick on” Tola and Jair concerning a legacy but their example serves as well as any. Tola and Jair did a good job of leading the Hebrews but immediately upon their deaths, the people began serving the gods of Baal.