Good and Bad Leaders
We look to our leaders for inspiration.
I’m sure you can think of a good leader you’ve had.
And no doubt a few bad ones too.
Well as we continue to unfold the story of the bible, today we see that for God’s people to live under God’s rule, this means the appointment of a king to rule them.
And sadly, it’s mostly a story of failure and bad leadership, which is meant to point us to Jesus, the perfect king!
God’s people in God’s place under God’s rule and blessing.
Gen 1 -2 - The pattern of the Kingdom is established.
Gen 3 - The Kingdom perished.
Adam and Eve
Gen 12 - The Kingdom Promised
Gen 12 - Leviticus - The Partial Kingdom… How God fulfils his promises to Abraham.
The making of a nation (from Isaac through to the Israelites leaving Egypt)
As a nation they are going to live under God’s rule.
The giving on the law at Mt Sinai
And they are going to experience God’s blessing.
God is going to live with his people again.
Partial fulfilment - hints all the way along that what we’re reading about can’t really be the total fulfilment of what God is promising.
God’s people (the Israelites) fail to live as they should.
Eg golden calf (Ex 32).
And there are many barriers to God.
The people’s sin still cuts them off from God.
He has to live in a box in a holy place and many ongoing sacrifices are required.
Well today we continue with how the bible shows the partial fulfilment of God’s promises.
How we see the partial fulfilment of the kingdom of God in the OT.
Last week we did Gen 12 - Leviticus.
This week we do Numbers - Kings/Chronicles.
You’ll remember that one of the key parts of God’s promise to Abraham is that his offspring will inherit land.
Well once God’s people have escaped slavery in Egypt, and received God’s law and are enjoying his presence with them they need a land.
To enjoy God’s kingdom they need to be in God’s place.
And this is what the next part of the Bible focuses on.
The entrance of God’s people into God’s place.
Into the promised land.
This ought to be relatively straight forward, but it actually takes the people of God, 40 years from the time they leave Egypt to the time they enter the land.
Because we read in Numbers God’s people fail to trust him.
In Numbers 13 we read about what happened when the people who’d been sent to have a look at the land God had promised them come back to the main body and tell everyone what they saw.
It’s a good land, but there are scary people.
And instead of trusting God, they are afraid and decided entering the land would be a bad idea.
They ignore God.
This is despite the pleading by Joshua and Caleb that they should trust God and not fear.
Because of this rebellion against God, a relatively quick trip through the wilderness from Egypt to the promised land takes 40 years.
Because as punishment for not trusting God that generation will have to die out before they enter the land.
Their refusal to trust God leads to death in the wilderness and the missing out of enjoying God’s place.
A Warning for Us
In 1 Cor 10:6 Paul reflects on the actions of the people of God.
He tells us that part of the reason why this happened was to warn us:
Paul says, it’s the same God then and now.
And just as we are freed from slavery by faith in Jesus.
We too are on a journey to our final destination, eternity with Jesus in the new heaven and new earth.
We need to remember the keep trusting Jesus and not letting sin take hold of us.
We must keep trusting God unlike what the Israelites did in the wilderness.
Trust God and be Blessed
Following Numbers which chronicles the failure of God’s people to trust God, we have Deuteronomy.
Here we see Moses recounting the story of God’s people to the next generation as they are about to enter the promised land.
Don’t blow it like we did.
Keep trusting God.
And throughout the book Moses reminds the people of God that if they do trust God, they will enjoy God’s blessing.
But if they fail to trust him they will be cursed.
Just as Adam and Eve were in the garden.
In fact, ultimately we read that a failure to trust God will lead to eviction from God’s place.
Being exiled from the promised land, just as Adam and Eve were from the garden.
Then in the book of Joshua we have the story of God’s people entering the land and taking possession of it.
At the end of Joshua we read
God’s people are in God’s place under God’s rule and blessing and are enjoying his rest.
Josh 23:12-13 ( a warning).
In God’s land they need to continue to trust and obey God.
God’s rule - under God’s king.
In our reading from Deuteronomy today we heard about how once in the land God’s people will be ruled by a king.
The purpose of the king?
Not an authority separate from God, but one who would rule under God, submitting to him and his law and leading the people of God to do likewise.
God rules his kingdom by means of a king.
Once the people have entered the land under Joshua we read in the book of Judges the rather depressing story of how the people of God keep failing to trust God and keep rebelling.
Each time they rebel they find themselves defeated by their enemies and this in turn causes them to ask God for help.
And even though they keep rebelling and failing to trust, God is gracious.
Each time he sends a leader, a judge, to come and lead the people back to God and to victory over their enemies.
Of course these judges are hardly perfect themselves.
One of them, Jephthah kills his own daughter.
Samson is strong, but also a womansing thug.
As we read this story, we are meant to marvel at God’s amazing grace that extends to the people despite their sin.
But also we’re meant to start thinking, wow these people really need a king.
Someone in a permanent leadership position who can rule over God’s people and keep them under God’s rule so they can enjoy his blessing and his land.
And so we have the story that starts in 1 Samuel and is traced through to the end of Kings (and recounted from a different perspective in Chronicles).
It is the story of the God’s people living under Kings.
And of course it isn’t a great story.
It has some high points.
David is a king who we read in 1 Sam 13:14
“A man after God’s own heart”.
David rules well.
He established Jerusalem as the capital.
Israel enjoys peace and prosperity.