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GOD - THE LEADER: Freedom and Liberty
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever. Ps 23:1-6
The 23rd Psalms was written from the heart of a humble shepherd boy who cared for his sheep in obedience to his father and with the guidance of a God, who loved him. David was a shepherd boy that loved his sheep so much that he fearlessly slew a lion and a bear to protect them and his heroism was recognized by God who promoted David to be leader over His beloved sheep, the people of Israel. As king, David never forgot who it was that led him to success in the valley among the sheep or on the mountain top as king over the Nation of Israel. David would rely on God to tell him when to go to battle and he unashamedly danced before the Lord because he realized that he was the sheep being led by his God, his Shepherd.
Biblical analysts have brought out the fact that sheep are rather dumb animals that must have a leader or shepherd to survive. Sheep are generally defenseless, not so smart or conscience of dangers and will walk right off a cliff or drown in deep water; but good shepherds will go ahead of their sheep to lead them around the dangers. That is why God lovingly gave his sheep, the children of Israel, a leader with the heart of a shepherd. Today’s sheep, both animal and human, are still generally unconscious of danger and good hearted shepherds are desperately needed. One good thing we can say about sheep is that at least they know they need a leader and will follow. That cannot always be said about leaders who will not follow the leadership of God, their Shepherd.
The example left by great leaders of the past is that they were men who realized, like David, that God is the Great Shepherd over the lives of all men. These men, with wisdom and devotion to their tasks and the people they represented, were ones who realized that wisdom comes from God, who leads men by His Sovereign knowledge of their future and oncoming dangers. Their wisdom was in that they followed God. Observe how David itemized this care of God as he writes: “He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.” David is showing us that God leads His sheep in the fertility of green pastures and in the safety of still waters. He assures the readers that God will provide for His children and restore them if lost. This Psalmist wants to assure us that God, as a Great Shepherd, cares about His children with a great love. Listen to the prayer and humility of Moses as he sought God to guide the nation of Israel into the promised land.
Now therefore, I pray thee, if I have found grace in thy sight, shew me now thy way, that I may know thee, that I may find grace in thy sight: and consider that this nation is thy people. Ex 33:13
Moses had a unique job that was never before accomplished by any man and he was reliant upon God for minutest instruction for conquering enemies and gaining the blessings promised for the people of Israel. Moses had to show strength to the people he led but before God he had to submit to being led. God was neither an absentee father nor an unconcerned leader. He responded to His sheep and leaders when called upon and gave them the answers they needed for their dilemmas.
And the Lord said unto Moses, Depart, and go up hence, thou and the people which thou hast brought up out of the land of Egypt, unto the land which I sware unto Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, saying, Unto thy seed will I give it: And I will send an angel before thee; and I will drive out the Canaanite, the Amorite, and the Hittite, and the Perizzite, the Hivite, and the Jebusite: Ex 33:1-2
Moses was a great leader with the admiration of a multitude of people and yet he knew that he was nothing without God helping him: He was known to the people as a humble, meek and godly man with an integrity that they could follow.
And he said unto him, If thy presence go not with me, carry us not up hence. For wherein shall it be known here that I and thy people have found grace in thy sight? is it not in that thou goest with us? so shall we be separated, I and thy people, from all the people that are upon the face of the earth. Ex 33:15-16
Moses was not a self-made man; he was a man made by God. The old mold, that was the fleshly Moses, had to be broken and a new mold made that more resembled God. It was a job that only God should do and it was performed by God and allowed by a willing vessel.
- Adam in the Garden of Eden before he disobeyed
- Enoch walked closely with God and was translated bodily to heaven
- Abraham, Father of Israel and the Jewish nation
- Moses, the Law Giver, led Israel from bondage to freedom
- Historic Israelite prophets, kings and the Jewish nation: King David, Joshua and Caleb, Elijah, Elisha, Samuel
- Christians, followers of Jesus: Peter, John, Paul
- Americans, founders of a Christian nation
We have knowledge of the great works and power of God because there were obedient servants who followed and obeyed God and then left us their records and examples to imitate. Though we may take these things lightly, there were great prices paid and sacrifice of lives for our benefits. The greatest sacrifice was the Lord Jesus, who died so that every man could be free; and those that dare follow are set free.
Americans Leaders Who Invited God's Leadership
George Washington, war general and first president of America
Founding Fathers in establishing binding statements and rules for the new nation
Many explorers, inventors, entrepreneurs, scientists, doctors, civil activists, missionaries, church planters, etc.
George Washington (General, President) Known to Pray
The last time I ever saw Anthony Sherman was on July 4, 1859, in Independence Square. He was then 99 years old, and becoming very feeble. But though so old, his dimming eyes rekindled as he gazed upon Independence Hall, which he came to visit once more. "Let us go into the hall," he said. "I want to tell you an incident of Washington's life -- one which no one alive knows of except myself; and if you live, you will before long, see it verified." "From the opening of the Revolution we experienced all phases of fortune, now good and now ill; one time victorious and another conquered. The darkest period we had, I think, was when Washington, after several reverses, retreated to Valley Forge, where he resolved to spend the winter of 1777. Ah! I have often seen our dear commander's care-worn cheeks, as he would be conversing with a confidential officer about the condition of his poor soldiers. You have doubtless heard the story of Washington's going to the thicket to pray. Well, it was not only true, but he used often to pray in secret for aid and comfort from God, the interposition of whose Divine Providence brought us safely through the darkest days of tribulation. "One day, I remember well, the chilly winds whistled through the leafless trees, though the sky was cloudless and the sun shone brightly, he remained in his quarters nearly all the afternoon alone. When he came out, I noticed that his face was a shade paler than usual, and there seemed to be something on his mind of more than ordinary importance. Returning just after dusk, he dispatched an orderly to the quarters of the officer I mention who was presently in attendance. After a preliminary conversation of about half an hour, Washington, gazing upon his companion with that strange look of dignity which he alone could command said to the latter: "I do not know whether it is owing to anxiety of my mind, or what, but this afternoon, as I was sitting at this table engaged in preparing a dispatch, something seemed to disturb me. Looking up, I beheld standing opposite me a singularly beautiful female. So astonished was I, for I had given strict orders not to be disturbed, that it was some moments before I found language to inquire the cause of her presence. A second, a third, and even a fourth time did I repeat my question, but received no answer from my mysterious visitor except a slight raising of her eyes. "Presently I heard a voice saying, 'Son of the Republic, look and learn,' while at the same time my visitor extended her arm eastwardly…” (NOTE: The following was originally published by Wesley Bradshaw in the National Review, Vol. 4, No. 12, December 1880. To finish reading, go to: http://futurerevealed.com/christian/modern/washington.html)
The Amazing Path
God → Adam → Abraham → Israel → Moses /Law of God → Jerusalem →
Christ →Christianity/Church →Christian European Nations → America → ?
There is a path that God has laid out by example and lesson for us to follow. This path is apparent in our history and over the generations of mankind. When we follow the path of our successful predecessors, we can expect to see similar results. These are the footsteps in the sand that God has left for us to follow even as He has given us the Words of the Bible to read about the thoughts and trials of many heroes of the faith. Where the path and examples are very plain, we should not expect to hear God speak out of a fiery bush, mountain or cloud. Today He speaks by those witnesses who have gone before us and His whisper in our heart.
When God Is With Us
When God is with a people, they have direction, purpose, success and happiness. These are all promised blessings that God gives to those that will allow Him to lead their lives. In the presence of God is fullness of joy (Ps 16:11) and darkness and defeat cannot live where God's presence dwells.
The Lord thy God, he will go over before thee, and he will destroy these nations from before thee, and thou shalt possess them: and Joshua, he shall go over before thee, as the Lord hath said. Deu 31:3
When God Becomes Our Enemy
The calamity of man attests to the absence of God in man’s heart and life. Where there is an absence of God’s light, there is the darkness of hatred, violence, lack and disease. When people have made an enemy of God through their disobedience to His commands, then He fights against them with any hand that is available whether weak or strong, friend or foe. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. The force behind the hand is God, even using Satan to buffet His children, when God desires to correct and bring His children back to Himself. It is often in such times as this that people get angry with God, believing that He has forsaken them or defiantly concluding that there is no God. These are the times when believers should consider their own behavior and examine whether or not they are in obedience to God. It could be persecution from the devil over the work for God but it may also be a time when people should examine whether or not they are straying from the right path. God does use the rod to chasten His wayward children but it is always in love for correction and to bring about their well being
I will consume man and beast; I will consume the fowls of the heaven, and the fishes of the sea, and the stumblingblocks with the wicked; and I will cut off man from off the land, saith the LORD. I will also stretch out mine hand upon Judah, and upon all the inhabitants of Jerusalem; and I will cut off the remnant of Baal from this place, and the name of the Chemarims with the priests; And them that worship the host of heaven upon the housetops; and them that worship and that swear by the LORD, and that swear by Malcham; And them that are turned back from the LORD; and those that have not sought the LORD, nor enquired for him. Zep 1:3-6
For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. Heb 12:6
Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Jas 4:7
The problem is never God but rather the wall put up by those who leave God’s counsel. God never leaves us but awaits our return back to the place where we left Him. It can always be said of God that He is faithful. Even in our disobedience, He is still watching over us and managing the things that come into our lives.
Turning Back to God For Guidance
People seldom turn back to the right way until they have exhausted their every effort to do it their own way. At the end of that road of self effort and misery, even the atheist is known to acknowledge defeat and seek a solution from God. God does not hold grudges but will immediately respond to obedience with consolation and love.
And Asa did that which was good and right in the eyes of the Lord his God: For he took away the altars of the strange gods, and the high places, and brake down the images, and cut down the groves: And commanded Judah to seek the Lord God of their fathers, and to do the law and the commandment. Also he took away out of all the cities of Judah the high places and the images: and the kingdom was quiet before him. And he built fenced cities in Judah: for the land had rest, and he had no war in those years; because the Lord had given him rest. Therefore he said unto Judah, Let us build these cities, and make about them walls, and towers, gates, and bars, while the land is yet before us; because we have sought the Lord our God, we have sought him, and he hath given us rest on every side. So they built and prospered. 2Ch 14:2-7
As God walked and talked with Adam and his wife and with Abraham as well as Enoch, so God wants to walk and talk with us today that will allow Him into our lives. He is the same God today as He was yesterday and will do marvelous works even today for those that will allow Him. We are a nation in America that is looking for good leaders to guide us often without realizing that the Leader we need is God, Himself. Our appointed leaders have disappointed us over and over again because they are but flesh. And yet we keep looking to them as if they were the mouth of God. While we continue to look to men, God sits and waits for us to return to His counsel so that He can deliver us from the mouth of the lions around us. In every generation and in every nation, people and family, God woos us back to Himself. God is in this generation as well calling for all people, families, and nations to return to Him for true peace, true joy and true liberty with Him.
Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD; and the people whom he hath chosen for his own inheritance. Ps 33:12