Leaders in Israel

Based on information from the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, the following definitions are being used for a working knowledge of the subject matter being discussed in this forum:

Leader: the person who leads or commands a group, organization, or country.

Leadership — A simple definition is that leadership is the art of motivating a group of people to act towards achieving a common goal. He or she is the person in the group that possesses the combination of personality and leadership skills that makes others want to follow his or her direction.

Top eight qualities of a good leader:

* Honesty and Integrity

* Ability to Inspire Others

* Commitment and Passion

* Good Communicator

* Decision-Making Capabilities

* Accountability

* Delegation and Empowerment

* Creativity and Innovation

Nehemiah 8:12 says, “And all the people went their way to eat, and to drink, and to send portions, and to make great mirth, because they had understood the words that were declared unto them.”

Prior to this verse, Nehemiah, Ezra, and the Levites had been speaking to the people about the Law (as described in verses 1-8); whereupon, they realized the need to rejoice and praise the Lord for the blessings that were being gained by the knowledge that was being imparted. The people were compelled to bow down and worship God. In this instance, an occasion of an understanding of the Law was cause for celebration. A holy day should be a day of joy, but the rejoicing should not be limited to those who have had a chance to prepare; all should be included. If one’s neighbor did not have an opportunity to plan for a celebration, those who have, should include those who have not in their plans and preparations. Leaders should encourage a positive perspective in the gaining of a familiarity with what God has intended for each one.

1 Kings 12:1-16:

And Rehoboam went to Shechem: for all Israel were come to Shechem to make him king. And it came to pass, when Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who was yet in Egypt, heard of it, (for he was fled from the presence of king Solomon, and Jeroboam dwelt in Egypt;) That they sent and called him. And Jeroboam and all the congregation of Israel came, and spake unto Rehoboam, saying, Thy father made our yoke grievous: now therefore make thou the grievous service of thy father, and his heavy yoke which he put upon us, lighter, and we will serve thee. And he said unto them, Depart yet for three days, then come again to me. And the people departed.

And king Rehoboam consulted with the old men, that stood before Solomon his father while he yet lived, and said, How do ye advise that I may answer this people? And they spake unto him, saying, If thou wilt be a servant unto this people this day, and wilt serve them, and answer them, and speak good words to them, then they will be thy servants for ever.

But he forsook the counsel of the old men, which they had given him, and consulted with the young men that were grown up with him, and which stood before him: And he said unto them, What counsel give ye that we may answer this people, who have spoken to me, saying, Make the yoke which thy father did put upon us lighter? And the young men that were grown up with him spake unto him, saying, Thus shalt thou speak unto this people that spake unto thee, saying, Thy father made our yoke heavy, but make thou it lighter unto us; thus shalt thou say unto them, My little finger shall be thicker than my father's loins. And now whereas my father did lade you with a heavy yoke, I will add to your yoke: my father hath chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scorpions.

So Jeroboam and all the people came to Rehoboam the third day, as the king had appointed, saying, Come to me again the third day. And the king answered the people roughly, and forsook the old men's counsel that they gave him; And spake to them after the counsel of the young men, saying, My father made your yoke heavy, and I will add to your yoke: my father also chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scorpions. Wherefore the king hearkened not unto the people; for the cause was from the Lord, that he might perform his saying, which the Lord spake by Ahijah the Shilonite unto Jeroboam the son of Nebat. So when all Israel saw that the king hearkened not unto them, the people answered the king, saying, What portion have we in David? neither have we inheritance in the son of Jesse: to your tents, O Israel: now see to thine own house, David. So Israel departed unto their tents.

This Scripture speaks to the fact that leadership can have a significant impact upon the individuals who they are responsible for leading. The direction chosen by those who are supposed to be in charge can change the course of events completely, through the approach that is embarked upon.

The narrative delineates in verses 4 and 5 that the people of Israel came to the new king and complained to him about the fact that his father had been oppressive, thus desiring liberation from the conditions under which they had been obligated to live during the reign of Solomon. Upon receiving this request, Rehoboam requested three days to decide as to his course of action pertinent to the requested reforms (5).

In this instance one must note that those with experience were advising the king in a very distinct manner from those of lesser experience. There is a stark difference between the wisdom provided by those of the older generation and those of the younger generation. Verse 6 explains that Rehoboam started by asking those of the older generation for their advice, who advised him to lighten the load and gain good favor with the people. Then, in verses 8-10, the Scripture informs that Rehoboam went to those of his own generation, who advised him to make the burden even heavier than it had been under his father, Solomon. They advised the new king to rule with an iron fist, which is the position that he chose to adopt, rejecting that of the older generation (13, 14).

Because of Rehoboam’s decision, the people pointed that they had lost their inheritance from the house of David and sought out other paths (16). The fact that Rehoboam sought to follow his own path, rather than that of God’s lead Israel to turn from the will of God, thus fulfilling the information that had been indicated by Abijah, as indicated in verse 15.

One must be willing to listen to and heed those who have had greater experience; because, they have gained understanding by simply having lived life. Also, when one is in leadership, if that individual is going to enjoy success, one must be willing to seek out wise counsel. One must seek out the good of a people, not the demise. James 1:5 imparts the following words of advice: “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.” God’s wisdom is always the most advisable, God knows what is best for His children.

As a good leader, one must be a person that inspires others to the good, be accountable to those whom one serves, and seek to be a decision-maker of integrity.

Additional Reading for This Week’s Lesson

Acts 15:7-11;

John 11:46-53

Nehemiah 4:7-23;

Ezra 8:21-23, 31-32

Prophets and Kings, by Ellen G. White, Chapter 6—The Rending of the Kingdom

Adrienne Royo is Chair of the Modern Languages department at Southern Adventist University.

Photo by Shayna Take on Unsplash

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This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/10115

Adrienne,
You wrote that Rehoboam followed his own path rather than God’s, the result being Israel turned from the will of God.
Ellen White agrees with your perception:
‘Their [Rehoboam and his young counsellors] expressed determination to perpetuate and add to the oppression introduced during Solomon’s reign was in direct conflict with God’s plan for Israel,’ and,
‘Hence, a division occurred among God’s people that never should have been there and that was never God’s plan for His people.’

Is what you and she believe what the Bible says?
Here is 1Ki 12:15 from a couple of Bible translations:
‘Thus the king did not listen to the people, for the cause was from the Lord, that He might fulfill His saying, which the Lord spoke by Ahijah the Shilonite to Jeroboam the son of Nebat.’ (MEV)
‘So the king did not listen to the people; for it was a turn of events from the Lord, that He might establish His word, which the Lord spoke through Ahijah the Shilonite to Jeroboam the son of Nebat.’ (NASB)

What message from the Lord did Ahijah the prophet relate to Jeroboam?
You can read it in 1Ki 11. The Bible tells us that ‘Solomon did what was evil in the sight of the Lord…’ and so the Lord had Ahijah remove his cloak, tear it into twelve pieces and had Jeroboam take ten. God said ‘I will take the kingdom from his [Solomon’s] son’s hand and give it to you, even ten tribes.’

So, the Bible tells us that Rehoboam did not establish his own path, he merely unknowingly followed what the Lord had previously decided. What transpired was not in conflict with God’s plan for Israel but the split of the kingdom was exactly God’s will and plan for Israel as He had previously stated to Ahijah and Jeroboam.

What can we learn?
-It may appear that a thought and resulting decision and policy originated in the mind of a leader but in fact came from God to carry out His will.
-God may visit trouble on a leader because a previous leader (who may even have been the current leader’s father) departed from the path God had chosen.
-God’s will and plan will be carried out (even if a messy split is involved) and ultimately will be for our good even if it appears to us on the human level that it is a terrible thing and must be avoided.

I believe one of the amazing things about the Bible is that there are endless patterns to be discerned hidden within its pages. I wonder if the Solomon/Rehoboam story is being repeated today in the leadership of the SDA church.

this story of rehoboam has been cited so many times heading into and out of san antonio, one wonders if we’re in the process of seeing some level of prophetic fulfillment…as i recall it, president jan paulsen pleaded for the yes vote in san antonio, and then for greater flexibility at AC2016 in the wake of the no vote…but of course paulsen was hissed at by africa in san antonio, and totally ignored by TW at every annual council since…

at this point i see no evidence for any effort of compliance with san antonio by NAD, much less PUC or CUC…in fact i’m seeing loosening ties with the GC through last year’s YEM vote to diminish the percentage of tithe it forwards to the GC…and this follows NAD’s decision to move out of GC headquarters into its own headquarters even before san antonio, which a lot of people thought was significant at the time…oakwood’s alignment with NAD, instead of the GC, was also thought to be significant…

in view of the fact that in the rehoboam story we see that god worked with both parts of israel after their split, i think a case can be made for the view that there really isn’t any down side for NAD to strike out on its own…in some ways, a smaller, more homogenous organization may be more efficient in achieving its stated goals…but more importantly, what point is there in staying where you aren’t valued, or even listened to…

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C[quote=“vandieman, post:3, topic:19543”]
at this point i see no evidence for any effort of compliance with san antonio by NAD, much less PUC or CUC…
[/quote]

…although, sadly, there hasn’t been any discernible evidence of progress in, and toward, non compliance.

There will be no compliance because GC is not allowed to control the choosing of ministers in Unions. The GC is attempting to violate policy

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…although the fear of or respect for the GC (or is it respect for the headship doctrine or distaste for rocking the boat) has prevented other North American unions from erasing their discriminatory practices against female pastors.

i don’t think our church is into rocking the boat…no compliance is probably as close to non-compliance as we’re likely to see, and on that level, what we’re seeing is probably significant…

Some of us would consider it a blessing to be “chastised” with scorpions. They’re fascinating creatures. I have colleagues who study them and I’ve read that their venom has some remarkable medicinal qualities.

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I wonder what will be the strategy being developed for the GC/2020.
The one they used in 2015 failed since the delegates voted NO to the GC’s attempt to hijack the Unions’ exclusive authority on ordination procedures.

TOSC was a fiasco and didn’t work. The in-famous question voted on did not deliver the GC’s expectation. The Kompliance Kommandos were a huge failure. What’s next now?
Just wonderin’ … :thinking: :thinking:

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And Rehoboam exactly did listen to “those who have had greater experience.” And in his case, he listened to his father. Early childhood experience help sculpt brain circuitry. Reading, singing, showing colorful pictures to a child and even playing Mozart music help shape the child’s development. Neural circuits form complex networks allowing the child to flourish. Unfortunately, the same process plays out when the child’s early experiences are not happy ones. In Rehoboam’s case, he was one of many children exposed to his father’s behaviors. It was only natural for him to revert back to what he had learned as a child giving credence to William Wordsworth’s “The child is father of the man.”

As if we never learn from our mistakes, the very same pattern in unfolding before us in the example of our highly esteemed GC president and his father’s example. Rehoboam’s father “laid on you a heavy yoke; I will make it even heavier. My father scourged you with whips; I will scourge you with scorpions.” How has our GC president TW deviated from this pattern given what we know about his father’s managerial style?

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