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10 Things to Learn about Leaders from the Old Testament

Updated on July 23, 2017

I am one of the those individuals who just love to read and study the Old Testament and gain secret nuggets through my study. The Old Testament has many deep truths. Here are some things I have learned about leaders in the Old Testament.

1. Leaders can face enormous challenges and difficulties. – Leaders are not exempt from trials, they are human beings that go through things just like any other individual.

  • Abraham had to wait for many many years for Sarah, his wife, to conceive and bear him a son.
  • King Jehosophat had the Ammonites and Moabites, a great multitude against him beyond the sea on Syria coming against him.
  • Jeremiah the Prophet had to forever speaking the Word of the Lord to the king and his people, but they did not obey.
  • Nehemiah experienced opposition from Sanballat, Tobiah and the Arabians and Ammonites who conspired against him for building the Wall.

2. God chooses the most unlikeliest individual to be leaders.- He does not choose based on appearance, degrees, education

  • Moses could not speak, not eloquent in speech
  • Gideon called to lead an army
  • David, a shepherd boy, youngest brother of eight, isolated from the rest of the family,chosen to be King of Israel

3. God's chosen leaders had godly encounters with Him.

  • Abraham - after Terah his father died, Abraham specific instructions from God for the first time to get out of his country and his father's house to a land where he will be greatly blessed.
  • Moses and the Burning Bush
  • Jacob wrestling with a man and seeing God face to face (Gen. 32:30)

4. Leaders go through intense training before promoting as a leader even if they are unaware of it and continue to grow as a leader.

  • Joseph sold as a slave, accused by Potiphar’s wife, went to prison, interpreted dreams, and then promoted to the palace.
  • Moses to face the Pharaoh of God's will for the people of Israel, the murmings and complainings of the people of Israel
  • David had to endure being pursued and hunted by Saul, a man whom he was loyal and faithfully served

5. Leaders are not gods. They are not perfect and make mistakes.

  • Abraham lied to King Abimelech about Sarah being his wife. Abraham stated she is my sister.
  • Although Samson had a strength of a lion, his heart went after Philistine women, got deceived by Deliah’s snares.
  • Joshua made a peace treaty with the Gibeonites, because he believed they were from a distant country and he was deceived. He failed to seek God before making this treaty.
  • Although David had a heart after God, yet he fell into lust for married woman.
  • Solomon went after foreign woman who became his wives and then turn his heart away from God. He also went after foreign gods, Ashtoreth the goddess of the Zidonians. Solomon build a high place for Chemosh .

6. Leaders were chastened by the prophet when they participated in sin. We can see this:

  • When Samuel the Prophet chastened Saul for sparing King Agag and not destroying everyone and everything associating with the Amalekites.
  • Prophet Nathan confronted David about his sin with Bathsheba
  • Elijah the prophet chastened Ahab for murdering Naboth because he refused to give Ahab his vineyard and then selling himself to do evil in God’s sight. (I Kings 21:17-26)
  • God gave a word to Elijah the prophet to King Jehoram, Jehoshaphat’s son for killing his brothers and still instilling whoredoms of Ahab.

7. Who Leaders choose to listen to and receive counsel from, determines if they draw toward God or forsake God.

Moses for the most part always sought God on matters and took Jethro's advice for choosing God fearing men to rule over thousands of people, instead

King Rehoboam choosed to listen to the young men as his advisers instead of the older men.

King Asa chose to listen to the words of Azariah (II Chron. 18:2) as a result took action and put away the idols and renewed the altar of the LORD and entered a covenant to seek the LORD with all their heart and soul, BUT He chose not to listen to Hanani, the seer for his association and reliance on a foreign King, King Syria and put Hanani in prison. This led to him being diseased in his feet.

Although Joash or Jehoash listened to his uncle Jehoida in his days as King, after Jehoida's death, he chosed to take counsel from the princes of Judah and this led to him serving other gods and forsaking the Lord. He developed a hard heart and mind because he refused to hear the counsel of other prophets of the Lord.

8. God allows wicked leaders to rule over Israel- King Ahab and Jezebel, King Jehoram, son of Jehosoophat, King Ahaz, King Manasseh etc.

9. Leaders suffered the consequences of their sin if they do not repent. Jeroboam, King Ahab, etc.

10 Even though Leaders start well, if they do not continue obeying God’s law and Word, they often do not end well.

King Saul started out well, but then did not obey the Lord as Samuel the prophet instructed, spared the King Agag, king of Amalekites.

Jeroboam, a mighty man of valor, whom God took the kingdom out of the hand of Solomon and gave him ten tribes, caused Israel to sin.

King Uzziah, son of Amaziah died a leper. He had great success in the beginning, but then his heart was lifted up.


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    • Efficient Admin profile image

      Efficient Admin 5 years ago from Charlotte, NC

      This was awesome. There are many "gems" in the Old Testament. I love reading the Old Testament as well. Voted up and across (but not funny).