When Leaders Lead

I have often watched frustrated leaders bemoan why people won’t follow them. While the reasons may vary, oftentimes, people don’t follow because they are unsure of the direction.

If the leaders are unsure of the destination, it is unlikely that the followers will just arrive there on their own.

In Judges 4, there is an interesting leadership lesson. Barak is the military leader. Apparently, he has already been told by God on what his next move should be. And yet, he hasn’t obeyed yet. He has failed to follow through with what God has told him to do.

The prophetess Deborah asks him why he hasn’t led the troops out yet. He said he would if she promised to go with him. The military’s leader has already heard from God but seems too timid to do what he should unless the spiritual leaders come along on the journey. While some may see that as wise, I see it as potentially weak. While I am all for having prayer support in your corner, God had already commanded him – what more assurance could he have?

She agreed but correctly prophesied that he wouldn’t get the credit for the victory but a woman would. After the surprising end to the battle, these two leaders gathered the people together to worship the LORD.

The opening lines of the worship song speak volumes:

“That the leaders took the lead in Israel,
    that the people offered themselves willingly,
    bless the Lord!” – Judges 5:2

Can you imagine starting a worship song out like that Sunday? We praise you, God, because our leaders did what you told them to do! We worship you because the leaders took the lead! We bless you because our leader’s leadership caused the followers to offer themselves willingly to the task at hand!

What can we learn from this example?

It’s a reason to worship when God’s leaders lead and the followers have something worth following.

I think they are related too. Think about this in your context, but I see it so vividly.

  • When leaders lead – It is so important for leaders to get God’s direction and communicate that clear and compelling agenda.
  • When followers follow – I think many “leaders” are frustrated due to a lack of follow-ship but it is due because the people are unsure of where the leader is leading. When leaders actually lead, I find that people offer themselves willingly instead of begrudgingly.
  • When worshipers worship – When God’s people are committed to God’s tasks, it is a reason to worship. Just think – your obedient dedication to fulfilling God’s plans with your life could cause others to worship the God who sent the direction.

Align yourself with what God’s Word teaches. Communicate that clear and compelling vision. Don’t be stifled by fear. The right people will follow the right course. And you will actually cause others to give God glory along the way.

Praise the LORD for when the leaders actually lead and the followers actually follow.