Leadership is something we are all supposed to do in this world but in today’s passage we will see what happens to a nation when people fail to lead. To lead just means to guide on a way especially by going in advance. People are looking for leaders and sometimes people follow the wrong people simply because they believe any direction, even if wrong, is better than no direction. Isaiah is going to tell them that God is going to remove their leaders from them which will create a leadership void and then chaos in their country.
Isaiah 3:1-4 For behold, the Lord God of hosts is taking away from Jerusalem and from Judah
support and supply,[a] all support of bread, and all support of water;2 the mighty man and the soldier, the judge and the prophet, the diviner and the elder,3 the captain of fifty and the man of rank, the counselor and the skillful magician and the expert in charms. 4 And I will make boys their princes,
and infants[b] shall rule over them.
1) Good Leaders were taken away
The people relied and had confidence in their leadership to the point they no longer turned to God for their needs. We have to be careful whether as a nation or as a church when we put more hope in our leaders than we do in our God. God is going to take away their leaders no matter if they are good or bad so that they are directionless and that will leave them longing for water and the food which they have depended on the government to supply for them. God is in control of this and the leaders will be killed or taken away in war which is what invading nations would do to thwart any attempt at a rebellion.
God is going to replace these leaders with children meaning people who will act foolishly in their leadership. The Leaders that will take their place will be immature, unwise, strong willed, irresponsible and only thinking of themselves. Gods Point in doing this is to show them how their trust in governing officials is futile when they should have had their hope in Him.
In America we tend to place our hope and trust on who is in office rather than placing our hope and trust in Him alone. We should never fear who is in office because our ultimate hope is in God but I listen to many Christians who get upset by the elections because they have placed their trust in an elected official instead of God.
Isaiah 3:5 And the people will oppress one another, everyone his fellow and everyone his neighbor;
the youth will be insolent to the elder, and the despised to the honorable.
2) Good Leaders were mocked
Not only will there be a leadership void but those who are leaders will not be respected by the younger generation and will the younger generation will ridicule them. Anarchy will take place and people will turn on each other because with lack of leadership and structure chaos always follows.
We are beginning to see this in our country where there is no more respect for those in authority and no respect for the elderly. Our leaders are being bashed on television shows, the radio and social media and people have lost all respect for those who are in positions of authority.
As Christians we have to be careful that we do not act like the world and demean and belittle those who are in positions of authority. We can disagree with a leaders stance on an issue but we should never disrespect the person and demean them.
1 Peter 2:13-17 Be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution,[b] whether it be to the emperor[c] as supreme, 14 or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good. 15 For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people. 16 Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants[d] of God. 17 Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor.
Our trust should be in God but our respect should be given to those in authority. We give honor of the position not of the actions they may have been a part of or the way they believe. We can disagree with them politically but we should talk about them as fellow human beings made in the image of God.
Christians should not follow the pattern of the world with how we talk about politicians, teachers, coaches and bosses.
1 Peter 1:14-16 As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, 15 but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, 16 since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”
Isaiah 3:6-7 For a man will take hold of his brother in the house of his father, saying: “You have a cloak; you shall be our leader, and this heap of ruins shall be under your rule”; 7 in that day he will speak out, saying: “I will not be a healer;[c] in my house there is neither bread nor cloak; you shall not make me leader of the people.”
3) Good Leaders would not lead
Because of the leadership void people will be looking for someone to bring about structure to help them cope with the mess that their nation has become. Isaiah says that leadership will be determined by whoever has a coat meaning that anyone that seems to have any leadership will be sought after to do something. Some will be asked to be leaders simply by their appearance because they have a coat. But even those who could lead will not because they do not think they can fix all the destruction that has taken place. Isaiah calls it a heap of ruins because it will be so bad that it will look like a garbage dump. Not only will it be difficult to fix the mess but they did not want to lead because they will be criticized and ignored. But when leaders do not lead innocent people get hurt because “People oppress one another”
“This can even happen today, for when godly people fail to step into positions of leadership, then people with poor leadership or questionable moral qualifications get appointed or elected to positions of responsibility.” (The New American Commentary, Gary V. Smith, Pg 147)
We are not called as Christians to shrink back from making an impact on our world no matter how bad our world becomes. There will be a cost to leading but the world cannot afford for us not to lead with the values and truth that we have in Jesus Christ. If we do not lead then innocent people will suffer and God has left us on the earth to be there when people’s worlds get turned upside down. Nehemiah has had books written about him, other than the one in the Bible, because of his leadership when the walls were torn down. Leading when it is a mess is not easy and you will have people who come against you but the reality is we are called to lead.
4) Good Leaders Bring Healing
“I will not be a healer” “I cannot bind wounds” “I have no remedy” are the terms that are used by those who did not want to lead. The reason they said that is because leaders bring healing. We live in a broken world that is looking for answers. Because of the treatment of leaders many people refuse to step into a role that will bring criticism and suffering but because they avoid criticism they also keep from bringing solutions to people’s problems. As Christians we are called to step out of our comfort zone and sacrifice for the sake of others. We are called to lead and to bring healing to a world that is a mess and the only way we can do that is to get involved. In politics we need leaders who will bring remedies. In Business we need leaders who will bring Healing. In Churches we need leaders who will bind up wounds. In our Homes we need leaders who will bring healing and train our children to be leaders.
Unfortunately like in Isaiah’s day people will see the mess and think that there is nothing they can do about it and therefore sit back and do nothing. God has us here for a reason and we can complain about the mess or we can lead and do something about it.
“Leadership is about people who choose to make a difference. It often is not flamboyant, and it usually doesn’t involve spellbinding speeches or dramatic actions. If you make the place where you live, work, study, and worship better, then you are a leader. (Spiritual Leadership, Henry and Richard Blackaby)
Don’t make being a leader more difficult than it needs to because the main thing in being a spiritual leader is being obedient to the call of God on your life by submitting your heart soul and mind to Him. (Matthew 22:37)
“Why did God place me in this city? Why did I choose a house in this neighborhood? What did God know this area needed when He led me here? Wherever you live, you can better your community and glorify God in doing so. “(God in the Market Place, Henry and Richard Blackaby, Pg. 226)
If we want to impact the world we just need to live our lives for Him. God in His sovereignty placed you where you are for a reason. It may look like a mistake to you but God orchestrated your life to make an impact on those you are around. The advice God gave His children when they were in captivity still applies to us today.
Jeremiah 29:5-7 Build houses and live in them; plant gardens and eat their produce. 6 Take wives and have sons and daughters; take wives for your sons, and give your daughters in marriage, that they may bear sons and daughters; multiply there, and do not decrease. 7 But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare.
We have to maintain an outward focus as a church and as Christians because we do not exist for ourselves. Live your life to Glorify God and pray for your neighborhood, your city and your country. How much change would happen if Christians prayed for their rulers as much as they complained about them?
1 Timothy 2:1-4 First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, 2 for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. 3 This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, 4 who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.
What is one thing you can change this week to be a better leader where God has placed you?
If people are following you where would they end up?