Don't Look to a Surrogate Leader
“Whenever the Lord raised up a judge for them, he was with the judge and saved them out of the hands of their enemies as long as the judge lived…” (Judges 2:18 NIV)
We read in the Old Testament that Moses was called by God to lead his people out of slavery in Egypt and to lead them through the wilderness; and that his successor, Joshua, led them into the Promised Land of Canaan. When Joshua died and that whole generation passed on, however, it ushered in a troublesome time in the history of Israel. The people began to follow the ways of the pagan people around them, and the Bible says that everyone ended up doing what was right in their own eyes (Judges 21:25). God chastened the people for their idol worship by giving them over to be ruled by the people around them; then they would cry out to God and God would raise up a judge to lead them out of their situation. While the judge lived, the people would walk the strait and narrow, but once the judge passed on, they would revert to their sin and rebellion.
Though we’re talking about the Old Testament, the same thing can happen today. Just as there were people in Israel who served God only when they could see a leader from God, so there are people today who say, “I am looking to my pastor or my priest.” When it comes to a personal relationship with God and trust in him, however, they are weak. They have to have a surrogate leader, and when that leader is no longer around, neither are they. Sooner or later, however, everything that can be shaken will be shaken, the Bible says, and each person will have to stand on their own faith in God.
The Bible tells us to acknowledge and highly esteem those who are over us in the Lord (1 Thessalonians 5:13), and to submit to their authority (Hebrews 13:17), but your pastor didn’t die for you. Neither did your worship leader or that gospel artist whose music you love. It was Jesus who died for you! Further, it is he who has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” If you don’t have a personal relationship with him today, why don’t you ask him to wash your sins away with the precious blood he shed on Calvary and come and make his abode in your heart through his precious Holy Spirit? He will give you eternal life and the peace and joy that he has promised every believer. And for those of us who do know the Lord, let’s ask the Holy Spirit to help us to fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, so that no matter what is happening around us, our walk with God will be dependent on him alone!
Read Judges 2:10-19.