Hezekiah had the same foibles and failings as the rest of us, and that is why his example is worth studying.
After the golden age of Israel, during the reigns of David and his son Solomon, Israel split apart. The tribes of Judah and Benjamin kept Rehoboam, grandson of David as their king, but the northern ten tribes chose Jeroboam, an Ephraimite. The subsequent history of Israel is a sad tale of uniformly evil rulers, people unfaithful to the Lord, and near extermination by the Assyrians two hundred years later (721 BC). The history of Judah is little better, with a few good kings, including Asa, Jehoshaphat, Joash, Uzziah and Jotham interspersed with many evil ones. Judah lasted 135 years longer than Israel but became progressively more wicked and was finally overwhelmed by the Babylonians under Nebuchadnezzar in 586 BC.
Continue reading “Hezekiah – an Example of Crisis Leadership”
Moses, the man of God, freed the slaves and built a nation. He has much to teach.
Moses is the single most famous leader in the Old Testament and is respected by Jews, Christians and Muslims alike. He was born a Hebrew slave, adopted by an Egyptian princess, raised as a prince of Egypt, exiled at age 40 after killing an Egyptian who beat a Hebrew slave. Fleeing to the tribe of Midian in the Sinai desert, Moses married, started a family, and became a shepherd, an occupation loathsome to the Egyptians, especially a prince. He was as low as a former prince of Egypt could go.
At age 80, when Moses probably felt that his life was nearly over, God met Moses on the slope of Mt. Sinai. God told Moses to return to Egypt and lead the Israelites, God’s chosen people, out of slavery to the Egyptians. The rest of Moses life was a tremendous example of faithfulness to the commands of God and skill in building a nation as he led His people into their Promised Land.
Continue reading “Moses, an Example of Administrative Leadership and People Management”
The Patriarchs of Israel believed God when others did not. Christians today can follow many of their examples.
In many ways, Abraham was an entrepreneurial leader. Born in Ur in southeast Mesopotamia in the second millennium BC, Abraham had a wide variety of skills and a strong work ethic. He could have been very successful in Ur. God, however, had other plans. Terah, Abram’s father, took his entire family, including Abram and his wife, hundreds of miles northwest to Haran in upper Mesopotamia (Genesis 11:31). After Terah’s death, God called the 75 year old Abram to take his entire household, scores of people and many possessions, to Canaan, 700 miles to the southwest. Genesis 12-24 recounts the rest of Abraham’s life, and in these chapters we see a wealthy rancher, a diplomat, a military leader, and a faithful servant of God.
Jehovah’s plan was to bring a great people out of Abraham that would bless the whole world. He intended to put these people in Canaan, the most fruitful part of the great land bridge between Europe, Asia, and Africa, and build them into a “kingdom of priests” to shine God’s light to all of His creation.
Continue reading “Leadership Examples of Abraham, Jacob and Joseph”
The Pharisee Saul, better known as Paul, laid the foundation for the Church. What can we learn from him?
Paul, possibly the most famous of the apostles of Jesus Christ, was a scion of Jews of the Diaspora. Until the Babylonian exile beginning in 605-586 BC, Israelites of the tribe of Judah were concentrated in Southern Palestine. Afterwards, they were scattered all over the ancient Near East, with large communities thriving in Alexandria and Rome. A sizeable community arose in Tarsus of Cilicia, a province in what is now southeastern Turkey close to the border of Syria. Tarsus was a major Roman city of trade and learning, and Cilicia was famous for its cloth products. Both influences can be clearly seen in Paul’s later life as an educated traveler and scholar who made tents to support himself.
Jews of the Diaspora formed communities wherever they lived and so were able to maintain much of their religion and culture, including attending synagogues and observing dietary laws. Paul, the son of observant Jewish parents, was raised as a “Hebrews of Hebrews” in this environment. Paul’s parents were also Roman citizens, a rare honor, and so Paul inherited citizenship, which greatly helped his ministry. At some point in his childhood he traveled to Jerusalem and learned Judaism at the feet of Gamaliel, the famous 1st century Jewish teacher. Passionate for his Hebrew faith, Paul became a Pharisee, and excelled among his peers in every way.
Continue reading “Paul’s Life – Background and Chronology”